James Carroll

James Carroll is a Boston Globe columnist and Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Suffolk University. He is the author, among other works, of House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power and, most recently, Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age.

 

Articles by this author

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Monday, April 28, 2008 - 3:09pm
Hunger Affects Us All
Of all the marks of difference that separate humans, none is so drastic as hunger. Not only does the physical sensation of being famished set a person off from those who are sated, but the well-fed are hard put even to imagine the desperation that goes with an empty stomach. Among the relatively well-off, hunger is like a vague rumor, having little more substance than the report of bad weather in a distant part of the globe.
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Monday, April 7, 2008 - 2:28pm
Paranoia Backed by Just Cause
When the United States pushes a missile defense system on Europe, locating critical elements in Poland and the Czech Republic, Moscow refuses to believe that Iran is the target. Russian complaints are dismissed as unfounded. When NATO expansion continues not only to Russia's border, but - if the Bush administration gets its way - into integral states of the former Soviet Union, Moscow's warnings of a new Cold War are taken to be slightly crazy.
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Monday, March 31, 2008 - 2:55pm
Forty Years After Vietnam, a Reckoning
Anthropologists speak of "foundational" violence, acts that establish a broad milieu of destruction and discord. Forty years ago, America was in the grip of the foundational violence of its war against Vietnam, which, while killing thousands in Southeast Asia, was causing massive divisions in the United States, divisions that were increasingly violent. There was no separating that distant war from the broad social, political, and racial discord that made 1968 America's annus terribilis.
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Monday, March 3, 2008 - 3:50pm
Torture Shocks
A piece of legislation sits on the desk of President Bush today, awaiting his signature. Every expectation is that he will veto it. Another mistake.
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Monday, February 4, 2008 - 4:37pm
JFK's Torch for Obama
When Senator Edward M. Kennedy and members of his family endorsed Barack Obama in Washington last week, the real meaning of that torch-passing was defined by where it occurred.
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Monday, January 28, 2008 - 3:30pm
Our One-Way Trip to Disaster
You and everyone you love are riding on a large bus. The bus driver, unskilled and careless, drives too fast, ignores traffic signals, and barrels off the road occasionally. Because the bus is huge, other vehicles swerve to get out of its way, with cars crashing repeatedly. But your driver just keeps going, leaving carnage in his wake. Naturally, you are terrified - but your reactions are irrelevant.
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Monday, January 7, 2008 - 3:17pm
Obama and the Ghosts of Racism
"They said this day would never come," Barack Obama declared in Iowa last week, and the ghosts of this nation nodded. With an African-American competing seriously for the presidency of the United States, the last act of a centuries-old drama begins. Obama's blood tie to the story of American slavery, ironically, comes through his white mother's ancestry, which apparently includes both slave owners and those who fought for the Union to end slavery.
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Monday, December 17, 2007 - 4:22pm
The Politics of Religion in America
What in the name of God is going on in American politics? Mitt Romney's "Faith in America" speech, riddled with mistaken assertions about religion, was itself a warning. But other presidential candidates, debate moderators, pundits, and religious leaders all share a dangerous confusion about questions of faith and citizenship. Here are only a few: Is America's goodness grounded in God? When Romney and others assert that American virtues, generally summed up in the idea of "freedom," are based on faith, a cruel fact of history is being ignored.
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Monday, December 10, 2007 - 4:01pm
The US: All Power, No Influence
A man bit a dog last week. Not just any man, and not just any dog. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates decried the vast disproportion between America's annual investment in the Pentagon - something like $700 billion - and what is spent on the State Department - about $35 billion. That's less, Gates said in a speech in Kansas, than the Defense Department spends on healthcare. The total number of foreign service officers is about 6,600 - which is less, Gates said, than the number of military personnel serving on one aircraft carrier strike group.
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Monday, November 12, 2007 - 4:00pm
Primitive Impulses of War
The interplay of religion and violence is considered by some a mark only of primitive culture. When the jihadist cries "God is Great" before detonating his explosive vest, or when, conversely, the Crusades are invoked to justify assault on radical Islam, secular critics can indulge a satisfying sense of superiority over believers, clinging to holy war.
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