James Carroll

James Carroll

James Carroll, a TomDispatch regular and former Boston Globe columnist, is the author of 20 books, including the new novel The Cloister (Doubleday). Among other works are: House of War: The Pentagon and the Disastrous Rise of American Power and Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age. His memoir, An American Requiem, won the National Book Award. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He lives in Boston with his wife, the writer Alexandra Marshall.

 

Articles by this author

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Monday, May 31, 2010
Memorial Day: Remembering is Not Enough
ON MEMORIAL DAY, a grateful nation remembers its war dead, but that somehow gets it backward. Those who have died in America's wars are, more than any other distinct group, the creators of the nation. When citizens go willingly to their deaths for a civic cause, the cause is vindicated - if by nothing else. Public feelings of grief and loss become a source of living cohesion, which is the ground of patriotism.
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Monday, May 03, 2010
How Not to Tell a True War Story
‘HOW TO Tell a True War Story'' is the title of one of Tim O'Brien's master works of fiction. Telling war stories that are true has been one of the great challenges to the human imagination, from Homer to Hemingway. False war stories not only dehumanize victims and perpetrators alike, but, with glib valorization, can grease the rails of future wars. Last week, a new way to tell a false war story surfaced, and commanders themselves were the ones to decry it.
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Monday, February 08, 2010
Political Prayer Breakfasts Are Bad Religion
There are only three things wrong with the National Prayer Breakfast: the past, the present, and the future. Last week, President Obama presided at the annual Washington event before what the New York Times called “a bipartisan array’’ of national and international figures. “I assure you,’’ he told them, “I’m praying a lot these days.’’ The president went with the flow of public piety, singing prayer’s praises as a source of calm, strength, and civility. It “can touch our hearts with humility,’’ he said.
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Monday, January 25, 2010
Can the Human Race Outgrow War?
We scoured the woods for the perfect Y-shaped stick - each of its finger-branches similarly stout, the main shaft able to fit snuggly into a closed fist. Attach to the Y-ends a set of rubber bands braided around a leather patch and you had a sling shot. Then we discovered the lethal virtue of black rubber strips cut from discarded inner tubes. Our projectile supply escalated from pebbles to marbles to ball bearings. A squad of three or four, we were best friends, roaming the woods for rabbits - and, in our minds, for Chi-com soldiers our uncles were fighting in Korea.
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Monday, November 02, 2009
Our Sense of Troubled Normalcy Returns
A year ago, the panic was at full bore. October 2008 was the month in which the economic collapse seized the nation by the throat. After weeks in which Congress could not get a grip on the emergency (remember the frantic John McCain suspending his presidential campaign to ride to the rescue in Washington?), the $700 billion bailout bill was passed. Even so, the stock markets went into their steepest declines in decades, the gross domestic product registered its first drop in almost 20 years, and jobs fell off a cliff.
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Monday, September 14, 2009
The Cloud of War
President Obama's speech to Congress last week concluded on a moving and uplifting note, an evocation of the late Senator Kennedy’s appeal to the nation’s character and moral purpose as the ground of change. All at once, with his forceful display of leadership, the president had made the transformation of American society, beginning with health care reform, seem possible. But, like a dark storm cloud edging in from the horizon, memory intruded on the high-minded moment.
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Monday, August 10, 2009
Aquino’s Ripple Effect
Today the formal mourning ends for Corazon Aquino, the former president of the Philippines who died at the beginning of this month, but her significance as a figure of hope will live on. Robert Kennedy once spoke of each act of courage as a ripple sent forth to cross with other ripples, ultimately "to build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." That defines the exact legacy of this woman whom The New York Times described as "a soft-spoken homemaker who became a global icon of democracy."
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Monday, July 20, 2009
The End Is Near
It used to be that apocalyptic warnings about the approaching end of time came from sign-holding religious nutcases. Now they come from hard scientists. Most discussion of the threat of global warming is conducted in measured tones, with even dire projections offered with the necessary proviso that the future is uncertain. But as governments fail to act strenuously enough against the villainous carbon emissions, and as the broad public continues in a state of environmental quietude, if not indifference, scientific voices are sharpening the alarm.
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Monday, October 20, 2008
Courage, Wisdom in an Age of Fear
When friends have confided their fears for Barack Obama's physical safety, I have winced and wanted to shush them. It may be a neurosis peculiar to me, but I have felt that even to speak of the possibility of such a thing - you see, I cannot say it - invites the heinous act to happen. If the prospect of Obama's being attacked has been a shadow on his run for president, last week's debate between the candidates brought light into the shadow, offering yet another revelation of why Obama is special.
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Monday, October 13, 2008
Preventing the Other Meltdown
The word "meltdown" came naturally to the lips last week, referring to the collapse of financial markets. But what about a real meltdown? The word came into popular usage to describe the melting of fuel rods in a nuclear reactor, a result of out-of-control overheating, leading to a dangerous release of radiation. But before that, meltdown defined not the accident of a power plant but the purpose of a nuclear bomb - the liquefaction through intense heat of metal, glass, and everything else caught in an atomic blast. Meltdown is the point.
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