Robert C. Koehler

Robert C. Koehler

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His new book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound is now available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

Articles by this author

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Thursday, November 12, 2015
Yellow Ribbons and Endless War
“By God,” Bush said in triumph, “we’ve kicked the Vietnam syndrome once and for all.” This was Bush 41, a quarter of a century ago, celebrating the terrific poll numbers his kwik-win war on Iraq was generating. Remember yellow ribbons? I think he had a point. “Vietnam syndrome” — the public...
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Thursday, November 05, 2015
Spiritually Rudderless
Another deep cry, followed by a shrug. The world is at war, at war, at war. But it only hurts them, the helpless ones, the anonymous poor, who absorb the bombs and bullets, who bury their children, who flee their broken countries. Sixty million people have been displaced by the current wars, the...
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Friday, October 30, 2015
Disturbing Schools
So South Carolina has a special crime category called “disturbing schools,” which seems to be creating just that: disturbing schools. Very disturbing schools. Not that I need to single out South Carolina. In my brief stint teaching writing as an outside consultant in several Chicago high schools,...
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Thursday, October 22, 2015
Challenging the Washington Consensus
Political wisdom always has a sharp, cynical edge. You can’t utter it without feeling the throb of ancient wounds. For instance: “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.” Emma Goldman’s observation nestled into my subconscious decades ago, and each presidential go-around aggravates it...
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Thursday, October 15, 2015
An International Conscience
“The Pentagon said on Saturday that it would make ‘condolence payments’ to the survivors of the American airstrike earlier this month on a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz, Afghanistan, as well as to the next of kin of those who died in the attack.” Such a small piece of news,...
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Thursday, October 08, 2015
Why Bombing a Hospital Is a War Crime
“We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. I cannot describe what was inside. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the Intensive Care Unit six patients were burning in their beds.” So said Lajos Zoltan Jecs , a nurse at the hospital the U.S. bombed in Kunduz, Afghanistan...
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Thursday, October 01, 2015
The Moral Rabbit Hole
And down the moral rabbit hole we go. The New York Times reported last week that U.S. soldiers still fighting the war in Afghanistan — 14 years on — are under orders to be “culturally sensitive” regarding different attitudes among our Afghan allies about, uh . . . the sexual abuse of children. One...
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Thursday, September 24, 2015
Learning How to Dance
“Native Americans have to concede that rain dances don’t work.” Yeah, snort. How funny can you get? It’s the New Rules segment of “Real Time with Bill Maher” and the host has just tossed his gag tomahawk at the First People. A picture fills the screen: Indians in full regalia, dancing. The caption...
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Thursday, September 17, 2015
The Squirming Buddha
The world hemorrhages. Refugees flow from its wounds. Is there a way to be innocent of this? People are washed ashore. They die of suffocation in humanity-stuffed trucks. They flee war and politics; they flee starvation. And finally, we don’t even have sufficient air for them to breathe. For words...
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Thursday, September 10, 2015
Humanity Washed Ashore
Who are all these people? Here’s another global problem — this flow of refugees — that national governments are apparently incapable of dealing with in a long-term, cooperative, globally responsible way. As with climate change, as with war and disarmament, they retreat into insularity in the face...
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