As the Russian invasion in Ukraine enters its 50th day, we look at the war’s impact around the world with Vijay Prashad, author and director of the Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. “When food prices go up, the political crisis is almost immediate,” says Prashad, who calls the U.S. pressure on Global South countries to cut off essential imports from Russia after a 30-year globalization campaign a double standard. He says if the U.S. encourages greater global division in order to isolate Russia and China, they will implicitly plunge developing countries “into even greater catastrophe.” He also says the West — led by the Biden administration — is pursuing a “casual weaponization of human rights and the word genocide.”
David Haskell Hackworth (November 11, 1930 – May 4, 2005) also known as Hack, was a prominent military journalist and a former United States Army colonel who was decorated in both the Korean War and Vietnam War. Hackworth is known for his role in the creation and command of Tiger Force, a military unit which was formed in South Vietnam to apply guerrilla warfare tactics against Viet Cong guerrilla fighters.
Hackworth is also known for his accusation in 1996 that Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Boorda was wearing two unauthorized service ribbon devices on two of his uniform’s awards denoting valor in combat. Although Admiral Boorda had served off the coast of Vietnam in the 1960s and believed he was authorized to wear the two wartime decorations for meritorious service, he did not meet the Navy’s requirements. Boorda committed suicide during Hackworth’s investigation. It came out in 1997 that Hackworth claimed he had earned two Distinguished Flying Cross medals when in fact he had only earned one and that he was entitled to a Ranger tab, an insignia worn on the shoulder of the uniform, when in fact he was not.
When President John F. Kennedy announced that a large advisory team was being sent to South Vietnam, Hackworth immediately volunteered for service. His request was denied, on the grounds that he had too much frontline experience, and that others who had seen less fighting (or none) should have an opportunity to acquire experience in combat.
In 1965, he deployed to Vietnam as a major. He served as an operations officer and battalion commander in the 101st Airborne Division. In November 1965, he founded the platoon-sized unit Tiger Force to “outguerrilla the guerrillas”. Initially, Tiger Force was a highly decorated small unit in Vietnam which suffered heavy casualties and was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. However, after Hackworth was promoted out of Vietnam, the unit began a string of atrocities and war crimes, with U.S. Army investigative records and interviews by The Toledo Blade estimating the unit eventually killed hundreds of noncombatants. Hackworth stated he did not know about the atrocities and did not know what caused the unit to spiral out of control.
Hackworth quickly developed a reputation as an eccentric but effective soldier, becoming a public figure in several books authored by General S. L. A. “Slam” Marshall. Following a stateside tour at the Pentagon and promotion to lieutenant colonel, Hackworth co-wrote The Vietnam Primer with Marshall after returning to Vietnam in the winter of 1966–67 on an Army-sponsored tour with the famous historian and commentator. The book advised counter-insurgency fighters to adopt some of the guerrilla tactics used by Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, and Ho Chi Minh. Hackworth described the strategy as “out-G-ing the G.” His personal and professional relationship with Marshall soured as Hackworth became suspicious of his methods and motivation.
However, both his assignment with “Slam” Marshall and his time on staff duty at the Pentagon soured Hackworth on the Vietnam War. One aspect of the latter required him to publicly defend the U.S. position on the war in a speaking tour. Even with his reservations concerning the conflict, he refused to resign, feeling it was his duty as a field grade officer to wage the campaign as best he could.
Hackworth was assigned to a training battalion at Fort Lewis, Washington, and then returned to Vietnam to lead elements of the 9th Infantry Division, turning his theories about guerrilla warfare and how to counter it into practice with the 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment (4-39 Infantry) in the Mekong Delta, an underperforming unit made up largely of conscripts which Hackworth transformed into the counter-insurgent “Hardcore” Battalion (Recondo) from January to late May 1969.
Hackworth next served as a senior military adviser to the South Vietnamese. His view that the U.S. Army was not learning from its mistakes, and that South Vietnamese ARVN officers were essentially corrupt and ineffective, created friction with Army leadership.
In early 1971, Hackworth was promoted to the rank of colonel, and received orders to attend the Army War College, an indication that he was being groomed for the general officer ranks. He had declined a previous opportunity to go to the War College, and turned down this one, as well, indicating his lack of interest in becoming a general and demonstrating his discontent with the war and the Army’s leaders.
Hackworth’s dissatisfaction ultimately culminated in a television interview with ABC. On June 27, 1971, he appeared on the program Issues and Answers and strongly criticized U.S. commanders in Vietnam, said the war could not be won, and called for U.S. withdrawal. The interview enraged senior U.S. Army officers at the Pentagon.
Commonwealth Club of California
Join us for an online talk with environmental journalist Eugene Linden.
In his new book, Fire and Flood, Linden examines the role of business interests in muddying messages from scientists and derailing attempts to galvanize the public. He tells a story of big monied interests doing what they do to protect short-term profits against longer-term threats. One of the through-lines of the book is the insurance industry’s response to climate change, which for a long time was painfully slow, but recently has pivoted quite dramatically. Florida and California are seeing the housing insurance sector retreat from entire regions because of the unmanageable risks of fire and flood—some believe that the housing markets in parts of those two states are another bad season or two away from collapse. In a larger sense, big business, which for so long has been a woeful headwind to needed change, is waking up to the need to act very quickly now, as the long term has become the near term with terrifying speed.
Eugene Linden is an award-winning journalist and author on science, nature and the environment. He is the author of nine books of non-fiction and one novel. His previous book on climate change, Winds of Change, explored the connection between climate change and the rise and fall of civilizations and was awarded the Grantham Prize Special Award of Merit. For many years, Linden wrote about nature and global environmental issues for Time, where he garnered several awards, including the American Geophysical Union’s Walter Sullivan Award.
MLF: People & Nature
Eugene Linden photo by Beowulf Sheehan.
Journalist; Author, Fire and Flood
In Conversation with Andrew Dudley
President and CEO, Earth; Co-Host and Producer, “Earth Live”; Chair, People & Nature Member-Led Forum
The Lowell mill girls were young female workers who came to work in industrial corporations in Lowell, Massachusetts, during the Industrial Revolution in the United States. The workers initially recruited by the corporations were daughters of New England farmers, typically between the ages of 15 and 35. By 1840, at the height of the Textile Revolution, the Lowell textile mills had recruited over 8,000 workers, with women making up nearly three-quarters of the mill workforce.
The joining of the Union Pacific line with the Central Pacific line in May 1869 at Promontory Summit, Utah, was one of the major inspirations for
French writer Jules Verne’s book entitled Around the World in Eighty Days, published in 1873.While not exactly accurate, John Ford’s 1924 silent movie The Iron Horse captures the fervent nationalism that drove public support for the project. Among the cooks serving the film’s cast and crew between shots were some of the Chinese laborers who worked on the Central Pacific section of the railroad.The feat is depicted in various movies, including the 1939 film Union Pacific, starring Joel McCrea and Barbara Stanwyck and directed by Cecil B. DeMille, which depicts the fictional Central Pacific investor Asa Barrows obstructing attempts of the Union Pacific to reach Ogden, Utah.The 1939 movie is said to have inspired the Union Pacific Western television series starring Jeff Morrow, Judson Pratt and Susan Cummings which aired in syndication from 1958 until 1959.The 1962 film How the West Was Won has a whole segment devoted to the construction; one of the movie’s most famous scenes, filmed in Cinerama, is of a buffalo stampede over the railroad.The construction of what presumably is – or is suggested to be – the transcontinental railroad provides the backdrop of the 1968 epic Spaghetti Western Once Upon a Time in the West, directed by Italian director Sergio Leone.Graham Masterton’s 1981 novel A Man of Destiny is a fictionalized account of the line’s construction. The 1993 children’s book Ten Mile Day by Mary Ann Fraser tells the story of the record setting push by the Central Pacific in which they set a record by laying 10 miles of track in a single day on April 28, 1869, to settle a $10,000 bet.
Helen Keller was a prolific author, writing 14 books and hundreds of speeches and essays on topics ranging from animals to Mahatma Gandhi. Keller campaigned for those with disabilities, for women’s suffrage, labor rights, and world peace. She joined the Socialist Party of America in 1909. She was a supporter of the NAACP and an original member of the American Civil Liberties Union. In 1933, when her book How I Became a Socialist was burned by Nazi youth, she wrote an open letter to the Student Body of Germany condemning censorship and prejudice.
Andrew Jackson’s initiatives to deal with the conflicts between Native American people and European-American settlers has been a source of controversy. Starting around 1970, Jackson came under attack from some historians on this issue. Howard Zinn called him “the most aggressive enemy of the Indians in early American history” and “exterminator of Indians.”
The Gulf of Tonkin incident, was an international confrontation that led to the United States engaging more directly in the Vietnam War. It involved both a proven confrontation on August 2, 1964, carried out by North Vietnamese forces in response to covert operations in the coastal region of the gulf, and a second, claimed confrontation on August 4, 1964, between ships of North Vietnam and the United States in the waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. While doubts regarding the perceived second attack have been expressed since 1964, it was not until years later that it was shown conclusively never to have happened. In the 2003 documentary The Fog of War, the former United States Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara admitted that an attack on the USS Maddox happened on August 2, but the August 4 attack, for which Washington authorized retaliation, never happened. In 1995, McNamara met with former People’s Army of Vietnam General Võ Nguyên Giáp to ask what happened on August 4, 1964. “Absolutely nothing”, Giáp replied. Giáp claimed that the attack had been imaginary. In 2005, an internal National Security Agency historical study was declassified; it concluded that Maddox had engaged the North Vietnamese Navy on August 2, but that the incident of August 4 was based on bad Naval intelligence and misrepresentations of North Vietnamese communications.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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