George Orwell’s words in this cartoon still ring true as we contemplate state-sponsored torture and robotic drone attacks, and the so-called War on Terror that never ends (“War is Peace”). There is a lot of literature on the politics and culture of war and anti-war and this can be a place for this dialogue. My perspective was formed in the 60’s when I read Tolstoy’s War and Peace while sitting in my backyard, and in school meditated on the vision of the great scientist/theologian Teilhard de Chardin who described the Noosphere, as arguably the greatest force for peace one could imagine. A prescient future for the Internet perhaps, for the hopeless optimists among us!
There was a good piece recently, noting extremism in every epoch of Islam, citing the scholars at the Hartford Seminary. A possible book Deploying Ourselves: Islamist Violence, Globalization and the Responsible Projection of U.S. Force, by David A. Westbrook, Paradigm Publishers, 2011.
Another piece I read recently is a powerful story by Lucius Shepard, entitled Salvador, and written in 1984. It is arguably an even stronger comment on our huge drug abuse problems. Get this book and suggest a story for comment! Found in Modern Classics of Science Fiction, Gardner Dozois, Ed.
A war story from Harvard Magazine that includes a reading list: “What I Read at War” by Chris Hedges. He wrote: “I found in these works, if not always solace, then at least an understanding of the dark forces within all of us—the Hobbesian universe that is born out of violence and chaos—and steady reminders that, among mutable and inconstant human beings, there remain glimpses of redemption, understanding, and compassion—even though these virtues rarely triumph.”