Reflections on Memorial Day, 2006

Originally posted Memorial Day 2006

Various commentators on the network political shows on Sunday, May 28 reminded us to take some time to remember, on Memorial Day, those who had died in our current and past wars. Some even suggested that we do so at a particular time: editor Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal, for example, suggested 3:00 p.m. I didn’t set aside a particular time, but throughout the day I did think about those who lost their lives. Indeed, I started on Sunday evening when I watched Andy Rooney. Now, I’m not a fan of Andy Rooney, who is silly much too often for my taste, but this was different. It was a replay of a 2005 segment that was not only devoid of silliness, but also quite powerful. I recommend reading the whole thing.

Rooney made two main points. First, it makes no sense to say, as so many commentators do, that those who were killed in our wars “gave their lives.” As Rooney pointed out, they didn’t give their lives; their lives were taken from them. Second, Rooney suggested that our goal should be not to glorify war, but to figure out how to have less of it in the future.

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Benjamin Abelow Interview on the Ukraine War in the Italian Newspaper La Verità

La Verità is a Catholic, center-right publication with a circulation of 30,000

Because of the popularity of the Italian translation of my book on the Ukraine war, I have been interviewed several times by the mainstream Italian press and television networks. I’ll copy below the English-language text of a very recent interview with me in the Catholic, center-right newspaper La Verità. It gives a good overview of some of my current thinking. For those unfamiliar with my book, you can read it here on Medium, free of charge, in essay format, where it has had 76,000 views and 28,000 reads. If you prefer a print copy, you can obtain one here on Amazon, or at independent bookstores or B&N. You also can read about the book and see related material at the book’s website. To date, it has been translated into seven languages: German, Italian, French, Polish, Dutch, Danish, and Slovenian.

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A Glimpse of Light in Times of Darkness

An unusual gathering took place in Washington on May 21, 2024. At a time when US-Russia relations hit the lowest historical level, when Washington keeps pumping tens of billions of dollars plus huge volumes of all kinds of weapons in its proxy war with Russia in Ukraine and rejects the calls for using diplomacy to end this conflict, a large group of American and Russians, some via Zoom, assembled in the Washington Times headquarters, not too far from the Capitol Hill. The subject was the construction of the global New York-London highway, a breathtaking idea with great vision that also comes with significant geopolitical challenges. Indeed, if one looks at the map, the highway’s construction would require a tunnel or bridge over the Bering Strait to connect the American state of Alaska with the Russian Peninsula of Chukotka.

Those who are ready to immediately dismiss this project as a pipe dream at best or Putin’s sinister effort to undermine American and British democracies at worst should take note that this was a bipartisan group that believes that this highway “offers a credible proposition for helping calm turbulent international waters, as it would potentially benefit every nation on earth.”  As organizers stated correctly, despite the current problems between the US and Russia, “the two countries have demonstrated the ability to work together in the International Space Station.” In historical terms, not so long ago, they were allies in the war with Nazi Germany. Given the upcoming June 6, 80th anniversary of D-Day, a celebration of its success should be combined with gratitude for the contribution of the Red Army on the Eastern fronts.

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US House Committee Proposes ‘Automatic’ Sign-Up for Military Draft

On Wednesday, during markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2025, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the NDAA that would automatically register all draft-aged male U.S. residents with the Selective Service System for a possible military draft, based on information from other Federal databases.

This system of automatic draft registration would replace the system in effect since 1980 in which young men can decide for themselves whether or not to sign up for the draft – and so many choose not to register that the Selective Service database would be useless for an actual draft.

The automatic draft registration proposal was instigated by the Selective Service System as part of its annual budget request to Congress, introduced in the HASC by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), “wholeheartedly” endorsed by HASC Chair Mike Rogers (R-AL), and approved by voice vote of the full committee without audible opposition.

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