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Our Souls Turned Into Weapons

“During basic training, we are weaponized: our souls turned into weapons.” Jacob George’s suicide last month — a few days after President Obama announced that the US was launching its war against ISIS — opens a deep, terrible hole in the national identity. George: singer, banjo player, poet, peace warrior, vet. He served three tours in Afghanistan. He brought the war home. He tried to repair the damage. Fin ...

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The Lieutenant of Inishmore: Playing With Violence

If you’ve ever seen a Martin McDonagh play, you know that he finds humor in the most unlikely places and his macabre dark comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore is no exception. Now being staged by the Chicago theater gem, AstonRep, audiences find themselves roaring with laughter at the very unfunny problem of the plague of Irish terrorism known as “The Troubles”. Scene after scene weaves together the horrific ...

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The Cancer of Violent Extremism

“As we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail so much progress. And that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world.” The cancer of violent extremism . . . I listen to the president’s words and stare into the void. All I can think about is white phosphorous and burn pits and the horrific, DNA-wrecking genotoxins of war. All I can ...

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Traces of Evil

Barack Obama’s central dilemma last week, when he tried to sell a new war to the American public on the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, was to speak convincingly about the wisdom and effectiveness of U.S. foreign policy over the last decade-plus while at the same time, alas, dropping the bad news that it didn’t work. Thus: “Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is saf ...

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Lessons Learned in the Bucca Camp

Editor's Note: Kathy Kelly , friend and contributor to The Raven Foundation, is a peacemaker working tirelessly to promote effective, compassionate solutions to the devastation and brutality of war. In addition to taking part in antiwar demonstrations throughout the nation, she has lived alongside the people of various countries in times of war, including Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon, Bosnia and Nicaragua bui ...

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Fast-Draw Morality

“So you want to disarm cops LOL yeah that’s an intelligent thing to do the gang bangers would love that surely they will unilaterally disarm too.” I’m used to semi-anonymous sarcasm by now, like this Huffington Post comment beneath a recent column I wrote on the militarization of the police and the possibility of disarmament, and I have no interest in “fighting it out” with the guy. But there it is, perfect ...

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How Should Christians Respond to President Obama: On Fear, Violence, and Safety

Do you feel safe? President Obama made his case for war against ISIS during his address to the nation last night. He juxtaposed two statements that sum up the contradictory message that American presidents have been telling us with a straight face since at least the Vietnam War: America is safer. Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. I don’t feel safe. We’ve been fighting the “War on Terror” for 13 ...

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A Future That Values Everyone

“I think if we had a gun we would have been shot immediately.” This is as good a place to start as any, at the logical limits of violent self-defense. The speaker is Andres Gutierrez of Nonviolent Peaceforce, a nonprofit organization that has engaged in peacekeeping work in troubled regions of the world for the last decade. Gutierrez, the organization’s team leader in South Sudan, along with colleague Derek ...

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The Courage To Disarm

The Ferguson tragedy, like all those that preceded it and all that will follow — involving the trivial and panicky use of lethal force, by the police or anyone else — stirs up questions the social status quo doesn’t dare face.   My sister, Sue Melcher, put it this way: “I find myself also nauseated that another issue never seems to enter the discussion: the issue that a highly trained officer could mak ...

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Deep Justice In Ferguson

Black ’hood, white cops. “Get the fuck on the sidewalk.” And so it begins, and begins, and begins. An African-American boy dies for walking in the street — for yet one more insanely small transgression. Protesters cry for justice. The legal bureaucracy hunkers down, defends itself, does what it can to paint the deceased 18-year-old, Michael Brown, as a bad guy. Sides harden in the media. Once more it’s us v ...

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