Monthly Archives: March 2016

Boston CAM hosts Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich speaks at the Naval War College (from Wikipedia)

Andrew Bacevich speaks at the Naval War College (from Wikipedia)

For our readers in the Boston area, here is a chance to get involved:

Please join us on June 1 to hear a talk by Andrew Bacevich on the dangers of American militarism.

Andrew Bacevich is a Catholic historian and Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University where he taught for many years. He is also a Vietnam veteran who retired with the rank of Colonel after over 20 years in the US Army. He has written many books on American foreign policy including The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War, and Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War. His newest work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History was released on April 5, 2016.

Professor Bacevich is also a regular contributor to the Catholic magazine/website Commonweal and many other publications and websites. He has appeared on TV shows such as the Bill Moyers Journal and even the comedy show of fellow Catholic Stephen Colbert.

This event will be the first in a series intended to help American Catholics and others to confront the problems of militarism and perpetual war which exist in our country today. After the talk, we will have a “social hour” with a cash bar available. Relax, have a pint and make new friends. Discuss politics and religion. Even this year’s humdrum Presidential campaign! All the things you can’t talk about at work!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016
7:00 PM at:

The Hibernian Hall
151 Watertown Street
Watertown, MA

Free and open to the public. Ample parking. Doors open at 6:30.

Sponsored by Boston Catholics Against Militarism
Join our meetup. Oppose militarism and build Catholic solidarity!

The Real St. Patrick for Children

Here is a March 17, AD 2016, St. Patrick’s Day gift for you and your children and grandchildren, whether Irish or not. There is much historically accurate information here for children and adults on St. Patrick and Irish history. Maire Ferguson, the book’s author, is extremely well-versed in Irish history, language and literature. Since attending a week’s retreat on Gospel Nonviolence at Our Lady of Knock Shrine in Mayo in the mid-1990s with Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, and she has been working very diligently in Ireland on behave of the truth of Gospel Nonviolence. The book, ST PATRICK CHILDREN’S BOOK- Two parts, will present to any child who reads it or has it read to him or both historical truth and Gospel truth. There is also a part for teenagers and adults.

The SEALs and the Harness of Necessity

Thanks to Stephen, a reader, for sending me this article.

He writes:

“I won’t judge the quality of this man’s faith, but I can’t help but be discouraged by the adulation from Catholics, especially given the kinds of things SEALS are called upon to do. I remember reading part of a book by a SEAL who wrote that he didn’t think a certain candidate would cut it in the program because he was a Christian. He didn’t think the man could set his morals aside and do what was necessary when the rubber met the road. Apparently, he needn’t have worried. I’m not a pacifist per se, but can’t we be even a tiny bit circumspect when it comes to our warrior culture?”

Shaun McAfee at the National Catholic Register, which also ran the charming article “Catholic and Killing for a Living,” (which we wrote about here), writes:

“It is truly amazing to walk in the mere vicinity of the boots of these remarkable men…After he was awarded the medal and the Commander in Chief had given his speech, the Senior Chief was provided an opportunity to give his remarks. After crossing himself in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Byers gave his speech. What he said was thoroughly Catholic!”

Uh. Was it? You be the judge: Navy SEAL Receives Medal of Honor: “May St. Michael Protect Our Warriors”

Everybody Knows

I try to keep things as positive as possible here at Catholics Against Militarism but sometimes, on some days, you just look around at what is happening in this country, what appears to be a slow and steady march into the warm and willing arms of “safety”/tyranny, the collective denial, the moral confusion, the patriotic pride, the pervasive propaganda, the “divide and conquer” strategy of our rulers, the bread, the circuses, the false promise of the Presidential election — you look at all of this and you just want to say: “Everybody knows.” Because no matter what the lip-glossed news anchors of the corporate media want you to believe and no matter what those calm and rational press secretaries say, deep down, I have to believe that: everybody knows! I believe that the sooner we stop putting our hope in systems that are ruled by Mammon — like the American political system, and the sooner we stop worshiping sacred cows — like the American military — the better.

This one goes out to President Bush, President Obama, and all of the Presidential candidates: Everybody knows, including you.


Leonard Cohen’s bitterly pessimistic song is about the state of the world in the late 1980s. When he first introduced the song, he said, “Here’s a terrible new song. Yes, it embodies all my darkest thoughts. Here it comes.” Cohen said in an interview, “The plague in the most physical sense is AIDS. But there’s another kind of plague going on too, of which AIDS is one of the symptoms. If indeed disease does have ultimately a psychic origin, then there’s a plague of alienation and separation and lassitude and panic; a sense of not being in control.

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
Ah, give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it’s now or never
Everybody knows that it’s me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah, when you’ve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
Everybody knows what you’ve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it’s coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows

–Leonard Cohen


And then, and then….this:


Nobody Knows

Nobody Knows the Identities of the 150 People Killed by U.S. in Somalia, but Most Are Certain They Deserved It, by Glenn Greenwald, March 8, 2016

“Consider how circular this entire rationale is: The U.S., like all countries, obviously has a legitimate interest in protecting its troops from attack. But why does it have troops there at all in need of protection? The answer: The troops are there to operate drone bases and attack people they regard as a threat to them. But if they weren’t there in the first place, these groups could not pose a threat to them

If you’re an American who has lived under the war on terror, it’s easy to forget how extreme this behavior is. Most countries on the planet don’t routinely run around dropping bombs and killing dozens of people in multiple other countries at once, let alone do so in countries where they’re not at war…

But for Americans, this is now all perfectly normalized. We just view our president as vested with the intrinsic, divine right, grounded in American exceptionalism, to deem whomever he wants ‘Bad Guys’ and then — with no trial, no process, no accountability — order them killed. He’s the roving, Global Judge, Jury, and Executioner. And we see nothing disturbing or dangerous or even odd about that. We’ve been inculcated to view the world the way a 6-year-old watches cartoons: Bad Guys should be killed, and that’s the end of the story.

So yesterday the president killed roughly 150 people in a country where the U.S. is not at war. The Pentagon issued a five-sentence boilerplate statement declaring them all “terrorists.” And that’s pretty much the end of that. Within literally hours, virtually everyone was ready to forget about the whole thing and move on, content in the knowledge — even without a shred of evidence or information about the people killed — that their government and president did the right thing. Now that is a pacified public and malleable media.”

Autumn War

This video was posted by Shelley Douglass on Facebook. She writes:

“This video is made of actions taken at Notre Dame University during the Viet Nam war – the Notre Dame resistance, which sponsored marches and a Resistance Mass at the foot of touchdown Jesus. Members of the resistance turned in their torn-up draft cards at the offertory procession. The celebrant was Archbishop Thomas Roberts of England, with Fr Dave Burrell CSC and others. The background music is the Missa Luba, which was a constant accompaniment to our lives those days. We were so full of hope! We’re a bit battered, but many of us (those who are still alive) keep up the struggle. (Tim McCarry, Presente)!”

I wasn’t alive back then but I am very interested in keeping these memories alive. So many Catholics my age (37) have no idea that any of this ever happened, that there was such as thing as resistance to war grounded in Catholic teaching. What happened? You won’t see much of this on Catholic campuses these days! Now the most “Catholic” campuses are probably the most pro-war. Seems to me this was a sort of golden age before the Catholic consciousness about issues of war and peace became completely warped by the American civic religion, before the question of war and peace was reduced to mere “politics” and “policy,” when these questions were wrestled with religiously and earnestly and philosophically and humanely, before the public debate about war and peace had to be filtered through a strict “neocon” or “theocon” lens. But my perception is probably off. Of course the mainstream public back then probably saw the war much the same as the mainstream public sees “The War” (“on terror”) now — “Communism” and “terrorism” can be used interchangeably and you can play all the same cards in the game of justification.

I really like this video because it shows the protesters as being calm, peaceful, faithful and loving. There is hope and strength. So often these days the protesters from that time are portrayed, in Hollywood films and “60s documentaries” —  as drugged out party people who just wanted to drop acid, get high and have a good time. These people are clearly acting out of something more than just teenage rebellion and a desire to subvert.

I’m wondering what Paul and Doug were up to back then. Would you guys have been in these protests if you had attended Notre Dame or would you have been in a different crowd?

Destruction, and Nothing But

Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Disappointments of War in a World of Unintended Consequence.

“Looking back on almost 15 years in which the United States has been engaged in something like permanent war in the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa, one thing couldn’t be clearer: the planet’s sole superpower with a military funded and armed like none other and a “defense” budget larger than the next seven countries combined (three times as large as number two spender, China) has managed to accomplish — again, quite literally — absolutely nothing, or perhaps (if a slight rewrite of that classic song were allowed) less than nothing.

Unless, of course, you consider an expanding series of failed states, spreading terror movements, wrecked cities, countries hemorrhaging refugees, and the like as accomplishments.  In these years, no goal of Washington — not a single one — has been accomplished by war.”