Empire has had a long and troubled career in U.S. politics and culture–and the old angst is still very much with us. Over the last decade or so we have heard the familiar refrain adamantly denying the existence of an American empire, even as some have insisted just as adamantly on the reality or at least the possibility of an American empire. We embarked on our study of the four U.S. wars in Asia with no intention of getting mixed up in what seemed a tired, unproductive debate. We had our hands full working out the contours of our wars and tracing the relationship of each to the others. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine: Troubles with Empire
The reality is that the large-scale targeted killing of civilians has been an integral part of America’s military strategy for well over a century. Continue Reading Steven I. Levine & Michael H. Hunt: Civilian Casualties: Tactical Regrets and Strategic Hypocrisy
American leaders still crave international leadership. But the time for sweet dreams of a U.S. era in Asia is over. Continue Reading Michael H. Hunt & Steven I. Levine: Power Pivot or Duffer’s Divot?: Obama’s Asia Policy
Most Americans have been inoculated against the notion that our country can behave like an empire. Therefore, some readers may well find the focus on empire unsettling. After all, we are regularly reminded by our politicians, clergy, teachers, and the media that the U.S. is an exceptional country. We don’t do empire. That’s for the bad guys. We like to believe that whatever America does internationally is for the common good of humanity. As authors, all we ask is that readers consider our general definition of empire on its historical merits and give our treatment of the U.S. case a fair hearing. Continue Reading Interview: Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine on America’s quest for empire
The history of American empire building and warfare in one region speaks to the current imbroglio across the Middle East and Central Asia in a striking variety of ways. U.S. policymakers have ignored or have deliberately forgotten the lessons from the conflicts in eastern Asia. Continue Reading Excerpt: Arc of Empire, by Michael H. Hunt and Steven I. Levine
In this excerpt from “War! What is it Good For?” by Kimberly L. Phillips, the author discusses the antiwar activism of Langston Hughes and Nina Simone. Continue Reading Excerpt: War! What is it Good For?, by Kimberley L. Phillips
The fourth bag, the one for which O’Hair had to pay, contained weapons, essential implements of warfare that speak to the harsh conditions one would expect to find in a war zone. Yet no one has ever asked what is, in my opinion, the most important question: What was in the other three bags? Continue Reading Meredith Lair: What Was in the Other Three Bags?
Historian Meredith Lair explores the role of consumer goods in boosting troop morale in a war zone. Continue Reading Meredith Lair: Life Needs Frosting, Even in a War Zone
Update 4/21/2011:The lamentable news of Tim Hetherington’s death covering the civil conflict in Libya reached us yesterday (20 April 2011). Restrepo is one of this fine and courageous documentarian’s major achievements. His record of what it meant for U.S. soldiers to fight in the Afghan War will stand the test of time.—MHH Ignore all the… Continue Reading Michael Hunt: Restrepo: An Oscar for Afghanistan?
There is good reason to pity the poor historian, who has been tested especially severely during the recent McChrystal-Obama imbroglio as the eruption of historical parallels and lessons have ranged from the wrong-headed to the off-kilter. Continue Reading The McChrystal Affair: Pity the Poor Historian
The U.K. edition of A Vietnam War Reader: A Documentary History from American and Vietnamese Perspectives hits bookstores across the pond today — just as Britons head to the polls to elect a new Prime Minister. In a previous guest post, editor Michael H. Hunt addressed one of the more striking similarities between the Vietnam… Continue Reading Victory in Vietnam: The Myth That Won’t Die But Can’t Stand Up
Today is the 42nd anniversary of the My Lai Massacre, certainly not a happy memory—in fact , the opposite of that—but one well worth stopping to ponder. On this day in 1968, during the Vietnam War, the massacre was carried out by United States troops. Under the direction of Lt. William L. Calley Jr., a… Continue Reading Remembering My Lai in the year of Calley’s apology
We welcome a guest post today from Michael J. Allen, author of Until the Last Man Comes Home: POWs, MIAs, and the Unending Vietnam War. In his book, Allen analyzes the effects that activism by POW and MIA families had on U.S. politics before and after the Vietnam War’s official end. In this post, marking… Continue Reading Bringing the War Home: Operation Homecoming and the Unending Vietnam War