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#1053 – Dick Bernard: Aunt Edithe’s Recipes

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

The harvest season has had a strong beginning out in North Dakota, and will continue on into the fall. Depending on the crop, now is a time of vibrant yellows (wheat and similar grains), or rich greens (corn, soybeans, et al). (Indications are that this will be a pretty good crop year – though such is never certain for farmers until the crops are actually in…and then comes bad or good news about prices, etc….)

As for me, I continue the never-ending discovery process of going through the history left behind at the ND farm when Uncle Vince died on February 2 (his sister, Edithe, who was a lifelong resident of the same farm, died a year earlier).

Once in awhile there are remarkable discoveries, among which was this photo from harvest time 1907, which I didn’t know existed.

(click to enlarge all photos)

Ferd and Rosa Busch farm (upper left) in summer 1907, viewed from the north.  From left, Wilhelm Busch; his sons Ferdinand and Frank.  At the time, Ferdinand was 26 years of age.

Ferd and Rosa Busch farm (upper left) in summer 1907, viewed from the north. From left, Wilhelm Busch; his sons Ferdinand and Frank. At the time, Ferdinand was 26 years of age.

You can see the 1907 harvest proceeding. The shocks of grains dominate, and to the left in the background are a couple of horse drawn wagons to move those shocks to some kind of early threshing machine, not visible in the picture*.

But this is not about those men pictured out in the field. It is about the lady in the house, Rosa, and later her daughter Edithe, and other daughters, and other women, who had the immense task of feeding the workers in the fields, milking the cows, collecting eggs, and on and on and on. The phrase, “a woman’s work is never done” could have originated in these farmyards. As could the phrase, “hungry as a horse” have originated out in those fields.

Last week I was going through yet another stack of old papers, deciding which needed to be kept, and which could be thrown. In the box of the day was a bag full of Aunt Edithe’s old recipes which we’d rescued from the long vacant farm house last summer. As with the other stuff, I went through the recipe cards, one by one, and at the end, took a picture of part of the collection (below).

Some of Edithe's recipes, August, 2015

Some of Edithe’s recipes, August, 2015

My particular specialty has always been eating the results of the recipe cards, but these cards held a fascination of their own. Just looking through these old cards, which women, primarily, have exchanged forever, brought forth memories. Someone saying, “that was delicious. Can I have the recipe?” Someone else flattered and happy to oblige.

Perhaps the best tribute to Edithe came to me from cousin Glenn Busch of Freeport IL on Dec. 24, 2014: “Sandy and I will always remember the wonderful meal [Edithe] prepared for us and our family when we visited ]the] farm back in the early 1980’s. She went far beyond anything we expected. After about 30 years , I still remember that it was some of the best beef roast I’ve ever had. The hospitality that she and Vince showed us was really outstanding….”

Among the recipes were the staples: for pickles of all sorts, doughnuts, assorted desserts, etc. Lefse made a couple of appearances in the German household recipe box. Anyone who has a single recipe card likely knows the variety found in the stack. Among them were some that I found fascinating, which are included below with little comment – none is needed.

They were all reminders to me that in this world where men still, by and large, are “on the marquee” as the important people, it is the women who bear the children and a great deal of the burden of making any family or community work. Ferd was part of a team with Rosa; brother and sister, Vince and Edithe, were a team, too.

So those recipe cards of Edithe’s which we found above the stove in the farm house are far more than simply patterns for delicious foods; rather of a necessary partnership.

A simple “thank you” is not enough, but a little thanks is much better than none at all.

Thanks for the memories.

Aunt Edith August 4, 1989, in the old farm house.  She died February 12, 2014.

Aunt Edith August 4, 1989, in the old farm house. She died February 12, 2014.

Here are a smattering of the recipes….

Uncertain what "Victory", but an educated guess would be the ending of WWII.

Uncertain what “Victory”, but an educated guess would be the ending of WWII.

Recipe for Snowshoe Rabbits which were, perhaps back in the 1940s, very common in the ND country.

Recipe for Snowshoe Rabbits which were, perhaps back in the 1940s, very common in the ND country.

One of two or three recipes for homemade soap, a common product for rural folks in the early days.

One of two or three recipes for homemade soap, a common product for rural folks in the early days.

An apparent political statement recipe likely found in a farm magazine dating from the fall of 1974.

An apparent political statement recipe likely found in a farm magazine dating from the fall of 1974.

Apparently a tasty recipe for Ginger Snaps.

Apparently a tasty recipe for Ginger Snaps.

And, finally, a recipe for Lady Bird Johnson White House Pecan Pie, dating from March 2, 1964: Recipe #6006 (The date was found on the reverse side of the clipping, and the reason why the cooks face doesn’t appear is that another article on the reverse had also been clipped!)

Bon Appetit!!!

A gathering of women, labelled Berlin (ND) picnic September 7, 1952.  Grandma Busch is at left behind the youngster in front row; Aun Edithe is in the back row, at right.

A gathering of women, labelled Berlin (ND) picnic September 7, 1952. Grandma Busch is at left behind the youngster in front row; Aun Edithe is in the back row, at right.

* – larger scale agriculture involving harvesting of small grains (wheat, oats, flax, etc.) required some kinds of mechanized farm implement to do the job. Such increasingly sophisticated equipment led to the rapid growth of such companies as J. I. Case, John Deere, McCormick-Deering and many others. From cultivating to harvest, it was very hard, dusty, sweaty, often dangerous work, very labor intensive.

This time of year, today, is when the threshing festivals crop up, to demonstrate in a very small way how it was.

The Busch farm in its early years was two quarter sections, 320 acres. In North Dakota, this would be a very small farm today; in 1907 it would have been about average for the typical farm of the day.

#1052 – Dick Bernard: A Thank You to President Jimmy Carter

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Pre-note: I was privileged to hear Jimmy Carter speak in Minneapolis March 6, 2015, in Minneapolis, at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. The near one hour talk and q&a several hundred of us heard can be viewed here.

Jimmy Carter, March 6, 2015, Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis MN

Jimmy Carter, March 6, 2015, Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis MN

A few days ago, Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President 1977-81, and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, announced that he has cancer. At age 90, and with a strong family history of cancer, President Carter’s long term prognosis is likely not optimistic.

Jimmy Carter has been much maligned by his enemies over the years. Their criticisms speak more about them, than about President Carter.

I happen to have always been a strong supporter of President Carter, and as his Presidential years turned into now-34 post-Presidential years, President Carter has proven to be one of our nations and worlds most outstanding and respected leaders – unless one’s criteria for success is taking the nation into war, something Jimmy Carter never did, truly a badge of honor.

Jimmy and Rosalind Carter have walked the talk of service.

He has been a prolific author. I have, and have read, most of his many books.

The Carter Center has in its 33 year history been a positive presence in many countries, particularly in the areas of human rights and health.

Jimmy Carter lent early and persuasive support to the Habitat for Humanity program.

He gave a most positive definition to the word “Christian”, for many years leading a public Bible discussion group at his Church in Plains, Georgia.

He is one of a select group, and the only American, of The Elders, an organization founded by Nelson Mandela to share wisdom with the rest of us.

When his term on earth ends, the ledger sheet will show that he more than paid his dues.

Thank you, President Carter.

#1051 – Anne Dunn: Meeting Billy Mills

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

The item which follows from Anne Dunn*, was forwarded to me by my sister, Flo, June 8, 2015. We had been trying to decide on an appropriate Native American recipient of a financial gift in honor of our Aunt Edithe. Edithe had been especially attentive to Native American fundraising appeals.

Anne’s commentary was originally on her Facebook page, and is forwarded with her permission. It helped Flo and I decide that Billy Mills organization “Running Strong“, was a good recipient for a family gift in memory of Aunt Edithe.

Possibly Aunt Edithe's introduction to Running Strong, a Date Book.  This one had no website.  The 2004 edition includes a website.

Possibly Aunt Edithe’s introduction to Running Strong, a Date Book. This one had no website. The 2004 edition includes a website.


Anne Dunn

Billy Mills, Running Strong

Billy Mills is the second Native American to win an Olympic gold medal. Jim Thorpe had won two gold medals in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Mills ran the 10,000 -meter competition at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics to become the only American to ever win the gold in this event. His victory has been considered one of the greatest Olympic upsets.

A former United States Marine, he is a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe. He was born (June 30, 1938) in Pine Ridge, South Dakota He was orphaned at age 12 and raised on the reservation by his grandmother. He took up running while attending the Haskell Institute (Haskell Indian Nations University) in Lawrence Kansas.

After he graduated he joined the USMC. He was a First Lieutenant in the Marine reserves when he competed in the 1964 Olympics.

He later set US records for 10,000 m (28:17.6) and the three-mile run, and had a 5,000 m best of 13:41.4. In 1965 he and Gerry Lindgren both broke the world record for the six-mile run. They finished in a tie at AAU National Championships, running 27:11.6.

On February 15, 2013, Mills met with President Obama at the White House to receive the Presidential Citizens Award for his work with Running Strong for American Indian Youth. His broad based nonprofit humanitarian organization has international ties. The medal is the nation’s second highest civilian award

In 1983 a movie was made of his life. “Running Brave” features Robby Benson in the starring role.

I met Billy Mills many years ago. We were standing over a garbage can at a school picnic on the Red Lake reservation. I was working for the Bemidji school district and had been asked to chaperone a group of Native American students that had been invited to the event.

He was disposing of his paper plate, plastic utensils and milk carton when I asked him for his (already been used) spoon. He was a bit unnerved by the unusual request but he put the spoon into my waiting hand. Then I asked for his milk carton, too. Now he was curious.

“Why do you want these things?”

“I will donate the carton to the school athletic department,” I told him. “I’ll ask that it be displayed in the trophy case. The spoon I will keep for a memento of the day I met Billy Mills.”

I suppose he was mildly flattered for he smiled and asked my name. Then he shook my hand and walked away.

The milk carton was accepted and placed in the trophy case where it stood for several years. Then, one day it disappeared! I suppose it looked like old garbage and someone had tossed it into the trash.

At first, I showed the spoon to everyone. But almost no one believed my story. The problem was that it looked like a hundred billion other plastic spoons. So one day I put it in my jewelry box and didn’t take it out for several years.

Then Florence Hedeen called to tell me that Billy Mills was going to speak at the school in Park Rapids. I decided to attend and to take the spoon with me. My friend LeRoy Chief, also from Pine Ridge, said he would ask Mills to autograph the unremarkable spoon.

The next problem was… would Billy Mills remember? Would he think I was just some old groupie trying to get his attention?

I arrived at the high school to find several friends waiting. They had saved a front row seat for me. Afterwards I approached the world-renowned speaker and asked if he would sign my spoon? He smiled and greeted me like an old friend! I took the spoon from my pocket. He whipped out his sharpie and wrote: “Billy Mills Olympic 10 K Gold.”

The event made front page news! There we were above the fold! A blurry black and white image of me with Billy Mills and the remarkable plastic spoon!
Years later he would visit the Bugonaygeshig School and run with students and staff. My daughter Annie was working there at that time. They were both former marines and ran together. After a few minutes she asked if he remembered her mother and the plastic spoon. He stopped in his tracks and gasped, “That woman is your mother?”

Mills, also known as Makata Taka Hela, lives in Fair Oaks, California, but still travels for his non-profit agency as an inspirational speaker.

I met him again when I attended a wellness conference for seniors at the Black Bear Casino Hotel (June 2010). Marlene Stately and I were sharing room 339. When I saw Billy Mills eating alone in the dining room, I dragged Marlene to his booth and introduced us.

He was so gracious! He pretended to remember me but was actually quite baffled until I mentioned my Marine daughter and the plastic spoon. Then he offered us a hearty smile and invited us to sit with him.

We sat with him for about 30 minutes and we spoke of many things. It was exciting to hear this famous man speaking with passion about helping his fellow Native Americans.

He likes to quote his father: “Follow your dreams. Every dream has a passion. Every passion has its destiny.”

His father also told him, “Know yourself and find your desire.” With desire comes self-motivation. Then comes work. With work comes success.

He ran a 5k fun run on New Year’s Eve about three years ago. Not only his daughters but his wife beat him! He saw them waiting for him to come in. I’m sure he thought about his glory days.

When had he become an old man with bad knees?

Let me leave you with more encouraging words from my hero, Billy Mills:

“God has given me the ability. The rest is up to me. Believe. Believe. Believe.”

“My life is a gift from my Creator. What I do with my life is my gift back to Creator.”

“What I took from the Olympic Games was not winning an Olympic gold medal but an understanding of global unity through dignity of character and pride of global diversity. And global unity through global diversity is also the future of mankind.”

“The ultimate is not to win, but to reach within the depths of your capabilities and to compete against yourself to the greatest extent possible. When you do that, you have dignity. You have the pride. You can walk about with character and pride no matter in what place you happen to finish.”

* – Anne M. Dunn is a long-time and wonderful friend, an Anishinabe-Ojibwe grandmother storyteller and published author. She makes her home in rural Deer River, MN, on the Leech Lake Reservation. She can be reached at twigfigsATyahooDOTcom. She has several previous posts at Outside the Walls. You can read them all here.

A personal story about Red Lake, experienced in August, 1988, can also be found here.

#1049 – Dick Bernard: August 6, 2015: The Atomic Bomb at 70. Reflecting on Peace.

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

PRE-NOTE: The U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation will award its 2015 Peace Prize in Los Alamos NM on Sunday August 9. The event will be live-streamed. You can access information here.

Numerous observances have been and are being held on this deadly anniversary of the first use in war of a nuclear bomb: Twin Cities of St. Paul/Minneapolis; St. Paul; other events in many places. Consider joining something, somewhere.

Some quotations from Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer and Charlie Chaplin on the Atomic Bomb.

Related post: here.

(click to enlarge all photos)

Peace Plaza Fountain, Rochester MN Aug 4, 2015

Peace Plaza Fountain, Rochester MN Aug 4, 2015

Today is the 70th anniversary of the first use of the Atomic Bomb over Hiroshima, Japan, the first of only two uses of the deadly bomb as a weapon of War (Nagasaki was August 9, 1945).

The United States is the only country to have ever actually used the bomb in warfare.

The United States and Russia have over 90% of the total arsenal of nuclear weapons worldwide. The U.S. alone has over 7,000 nuclear weapons, hardly a good example of disarmament. Only 9 of over 190 world countries have nuclear weapons.

My personal reflections about August 6, 1945 was written ten years ago. That column was published in the August 6, 2005 Minneapolis Tribune: Atomic Bomb 1945001

Of course, there were differences of opinion about The Bomb in 1945, in 2005, and now. I won’t solve those arguments here.

My intention is simply to open space for dialogue and reflection.

The most recent American Legion magazine (I’m a military veteran and long-time Legion member) has a long article defending the assertion that being armed to the teeth with thousands of nuclear warheads is good, essential even, for U.S. national security. I think such a notion is insane, but here’s the article from my copy of the magazine: Amer Legion A-Bomb001

Both articles represent a reality, then and now, of how a world divided inevitably fails: the downside of powerful people cultivating enmity and division among peoples to achieve and maintain dominion, power and control anywhere. In war, ultimately, everyone loses. Each war is progressively more dangerous. In many ways we now live on a planet without borders. We are at the point where we risk destroying everyone and everything.

But division for the purpose of asserting dominion is, unfortunately, a tactic that is still useful, though never long term. Study any in a long line of those who lusted after long-term victory, power and control, including in our own country.


Emphasis on peace is a hard, but much better, road to travel. Peace is a process of inches, never simple. But we see evidence of it every day, everywhere.

I saw it on display Tuesday at the “Peace Plaza” in Rochester MN, just down the street from the famed Mayo Clinic, through whose doors enter people in medical crisis, from many cultures.

Tuesday is best conveyed in pictures (click to enlarge them):

1. The older man, likely Arab, sitting quietly next bench over, feeding the birds with bread crumbs kept in his pocket.

Rochester MN Aug 4, 2015

Rochester MN Aug 4, 2015

2. The man and woman, likely father and daughter, who spoke quietly, conversing in Spanish.

Rochester MN Aug 4, 2015

Rochester MN Aug 4, 2015

At one point the younger woman, obviously a very gifted dancer or gymnast, posed for her Dad in front of the Peace Fountain, and he took her photo with his iPhone.

3. And finally, the crowd that began to swell nearby, for some unknown reason. But it was obvious that they were proud to be together:

Rochester MN Aug 4, 2015

Rochester MN Aug 4, 2015

Turned out, they were together to celebrate successful completion of a summer project to set up mini-libraries in Rochester, for the purpose of quietly improving literacy. There was a ribbon cutting, and the Mayor read from a childrens book.

After they left, I looked at the fruit of their labor – the mini-library which will remain on Peace Plaza, cousin to (apparently) many others around Rochester, and in other places.

War was not welcome in Rochester, on Tuesday…a typical scene everwhere.

Rochester MN Mini-Library at Peace Plaza Aug 4, 2015

Rochester MN Mini-Library at Peace Plaza Aug 4, 2015

So, which reality will dominate us forward from today? Peace, or permanent and unending war or threat of war? Neither can be successfully imposed unilaterally. Both require negotiation of differences towards and compromise, such as the recent and difficult negotiations with Iran.

Watch the emphasis of the questions and responses of the first presidential debate tonight. This is the face of America that the rest of the world will see.


Our planet cannot survive war.

Any two people in relationship must negotiate differences, constantly. Why should it be any different among nations?

Neither choice is easy. There are downsides, as my relatives conveyed in their letters (above commentary) back in the summer of 1945. Though it is never perfect (it is, after all, negotiation) reaching an imperfect agreement is far better than the alternative.

Peace takes work, lots of work; and it takes an ability to understand, appreciate and negotiate differences, including amongst “birds of a feather” who seem to have the same basic beliefs, but are hampered by the same competitive power struggles that hobble societies at large.

Peace will continue to happen neighbor-to-neighbor; town-to-town; but it also must happen all the way up the line through the leaders we select by our action or inaction at the local, state and national level.

My opinion: a huge stockpile of nuclear weapons in our arsenal is not a deterrent; it is an expression of national insanity.

There is a better way. Let’s work towards it.


POST NOTE: This week was also National Night Out in the United States. This is a week to highlight neighborliness in our communities.

Doubtless the event I witnessed at Rochester’s Peace Plaza on Tuesday was related in some way to National Night Out; and was the culmination of an activity that began in March.

People prefer peace. We ordinary citizens are the one who must lead the conversation about peace everywhere, including in our world.

Let’s rid ourselves of the illusion, as the Aircraft Carrier below, that massive weapons of war reflect any solution to anything.

A United States Aircraft Carrier, Summer 2015, too often the kind of symbol that represents our image to the rest of the world.

A United States Aircraft Carrier, Summer 2015, too often the kind of symbol that represents our image to the rest of the world.

from Joyce D Aug 6:
from Juan Cole, Informed Comment (Includes President Obama’s speech, August 5, 2015.)

from Norm H: Thanks, Dick.

Some good food for thought and the basis for some serious thinking and reflection.

I am one who does think that dropping the A-Bomb twice on Japan was absolutely necessary and really the only way to eliminate the need for an invasion of Japan that would have resulted in thousands and thousands of US casualties. In spite of their significant losses of land, men and material as the Allied forces marched up the Pacific towards Tokyo, the Japanese military was till not convinced that waving the white flag was a better alternative than preparing to defending the homeland from the pending Allied invasion.

And, dropping the two bombs did bring Japan to the table and the end of the war even though there were still members of the military who wanted to fight on till the death literally and figuratively.

The problem with all of the above is, of course, that it opened the proverbial Pandora’s Box of the potential for nuclear warfare….and lead to many years of détente and the Cold War…with the operating theory being that at least in terms of Russia and the United States, if each nation could theoretically destroy the other given their respective nuclear arsenals, that “peace” would exist.

As an Air Force intelligence officer during that time, I was particularly aware of the reality of that situation.

Of course, once the Box had been opened, other countries began to develop nuclear weapon capacities which began to challenge…perhaps only in a minor way…the integrity, if you will. of détente.

The Cold War ended and historical researchers will no doubt spend time trying to sort out whether Russia was actually ever as strong as the US claimed as justification or its arsenal and defensive capability build-up in terms of nuclear weapon capacity let alone the ability to deliver those weapons during that period of time.

So, while I have no doubt what-so-ever given the situation in 1945 that the dropping of the two bombs was necessary, the result was the opening of Pandora’s Box which could never again be closed on the matter.

On the other hand, many countries were developing the nuclear weapon technology so it was just a matter of time before some country either used it or used the threat of its use as leverage for some strategic position or policy.

#1048 – Dr. Joseph Schwartzberg: Remembering India’s Early Support for ‘One World’

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

PRE-NOTE: Too rarely, in this age of sound-bites, Twitter feeds, Text messaging, analysis by headline and screen crawlers, and similar shorthand, and other often blatantly false “forwards”, comes a breath of fresh air, an actual ‘back-and-forth’: an e-mail between two friends with acknowledged expertise about their topic of conversation.

What follows is such an e-mail exchange, shared with permission of the authors, Dr. Joseph Schwartzberg, Distinguished International Professor Emeritus at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Manu Bhagavan, about Dr. Bhagavan’s book “The Peacemakers”.

This e-mail was received July 23, 2015.
Dick Bernard


[Dr. Joseph Schwartzberg]:
Several friends have suggested that the following exchange between me and Manu Bhagavan, who has written an excellent book on early Indian support for world citizenship and world government might be of interest to a wider audience. Manu has encouraged its being put out in the form of a blog, which is now happening. I have edited out a few sentences that would be of interest to nobody but Manu and me and inserted, in square brackets, a few short notes for those whose knowledge of India might be a bit fuzzy. The exchange has, I believe, interest from both a historical and a human interest perspective and contains some lessons for those who see themselves as World Citizens. Manu, a historian of modern India at Hunter College of the City University of New York, is a guy you would like to know. Among his five published books is one entitled Speaking Truth to Power. His interview with Garry Davis, World Citizen No. 1, was broadcast on World Citizen Radio. He maintains a close connection with the World Federalist Movement and will likely be making a presentation to World Federalists in connection with their annual Council meeting this November in New York.

Joe Schwartzberg
Director, The Workable World Trust


Dear Manu,

Several days ago, I finished reading The Peacemakers. I thoroughly enjoyed it, It is written in a very readable, jargon-free style, tells an interesting story, and is exceedingly well documented. I learned much from reading it. . . . . .

While there is no reason why you should know this, you may be interested to learn that, on my first trip to India in 1955-56 I made a point of meeting the then head of the Indian World Federalist Movement, C.L. (Chiranjilal) Paliwal. We became and remained good friends until his death (I believe it was in the late 1970s). On that and subsequent trips I was often his house guest and had many discussions with him about world federalism, and, more generally, about world and Indian politics; and he shared with me many of his reminiscences of the freedom movement in which he played an active role as a student leader and close associate of Gandhi. (He was jailed twice for his activities.) . . . .

Another relevant outcome of my first and subsequent trips to India was that they reinforced my conviction about the potential efficacy of World Federalism, not as a global panacea, but as the most suitable system (among other possibilities) within which to address global problems, I viewed the diverse nation of India as a microcosm of the world and reasoned that, If India, despite its enormous problems and limited resources, could maintain a viable system of federal democratic governance, so too, could the world as a whole, with its comparable problems, but vastly greater resource endowment. . . . . .

I offer below what I regard as my only significant criticism of your work, namely its excessively hagiographic portrayal of Nehru and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit [Nehru’s sister and a leading Indian diplomat]. (Your recognition of the genius and moral steadfastness of Gandhi, on the other hand, was warranted.) Of course, you are in good company in lionizing those two leaders and there was a time when I would have subscribed to your views.

As you point out , Nehru and his sister were children of enormous privilege. They moved in elite circles and habitually captivated the intelligentsia (even most of the impoverished intelligentsia), political leaders, diplomats and the media. Their vision was truly global. But, while they struggled mightily on the global stage for an independent India, embedded in “One World” [Nehru was immensely impressed with Wendell Willkie’s 1943 book with that title] with equal rights for all human beings, they never, to the best of my knowledge, engaged themselves wholeheartedly in the struggle to bring equal rights and opportunities to India’s own marginalized groups, in particular, the scheduled castes [the official name for ex-untouchables] and adibasis [tribal peoples]. They could have made a big difference, but failed to do so. They were more concerned, it appeared, with the plight of black and native Americans, than with the counterparts of those groups in India itself. . . . .

It is one thing, when one is out of power to rail against the injustices of a system that denies many groups — especially colonized peoples — their political and social due. And Nehru and Mme. Pandit were superb spokespersons for a moral agenda to which millions of people worldwide could resonate, And they basked in the adulation that came their way. (I think here of Barack Obama’s undeserved Nobel Peace Prize.) But talk is cheap. What really constitutes a test of character is what one does when one actually holds power and has to make tough and binding decisions. Nehru failed the test in Kashmir, in Goa and later, disastrously so, in his handling of the Sino-Indian boundary disputes. [The failure in Kashmir was not following through on his 1947 promise to hold a UN-directed plebiscite to determine the state’s future; in Goa it was the seizure in 1961 of territory by military force; and in the dispute with China it was India’s unwillingness to consider very reasonable compromise proposals put forward by Zhou En-lai in 1960,]

On p. 161 of your book, you quote Nehru as saying, in the wake of the 1962 military debacle in its border encounter with China: “We were living in a world of illusion. … [W]e were getting out of touch with reality in the modern world and were living in an artificial world of our own creation. We have been shocked out of it.” You then go on to argue that, Nehru’s disillusionment notwithstanding, Mme, Pandit kept the faith. I disagree. In 1963 or’64 (as I recall),when the University of Pennsylvania, where I was then teaching, awarded her an honorary doctorate, she made a speech about India’s border disputes with China that I thought was exceedingly bellicose, inappropriate, and often factually inaccurate. It went over well, however, because China was then the bad guy du jour (not to mention her enduring charisma); so I found myself in a small minority of dissenters.

To return to the global stage, it is one thing to proclaim lofty goals, such as those embodied in the two major human rights conventions and pretend that they have the force of international law (which, in theory, they do), but quite another thing to follow through meaningfully on the implicit promise of such conventions by establishing a system of enforcement and of punishment for offenders. The longer the disconnect continues, the greater the loss of respect for the system as a whole. Happily, a beginning has been made in rectifying this problem globally with the creation of the ICC and the adoption of the R2P paradigm. But we have a long, long way to go.

Once, when I was having dinner at the home of Ashish Bose, India’s leading demographer, another guest, his aunt, a member of the Lok Sabha [the lower house of india’s Parliament] from Assam, asked him, “Well, what do you think, Ashish? Should I introduce a bill raising the legal age for marriage from 16 to 18?” I then asked her: “Wouldn’t it be better to enforce the laws you already have than to enact bigger and better laws that few people will take seriously?” To this, Ashish responded: “You don’ understand, Joe, India wants to be judged by the enlightened nature of its laws, not by what it actually does?” This applies, I’m afraid, to much of what Nehru and Mme. Pandit were doing , or arguing for, at the UN. They knew the problems in theory, but they didn’t demonstrate a good grasp of what the real world was like.

This criticism, I would argue,applies to most of my World Federalist friends and renders them fair targets for the accusation of being naive utopians. Obviously, ideals are important; but to achieve lasting changes, one has to find or create a workable mix of idealism with an understanding of real world power relationships. Otherwise, one loses credibility and effectiveness. That is why I’ve scaled down my emphasis on World Government as our common goal (while noting that it remains my preferred goal; cf. 2nd full paragraph of page 2 of my book and 1st full paragraph of p.297). I argue instead for the creation of a workable, though clearly imperfect, world. That is a general goal on which virtually all people of good will can agree. But it will garner little support unless one can demonstrate that there are, in fact, ways of dealing with problems much better than those on which the UN presently relies, mired as it is an anachronistic Westphalian rule system. Hence, the “Designs” in the title of my book.


[Manu Bhagavan]
Dear Joe:

Thank you, so much, for this careful reading of my book. I am grateful for the considered engagement. I’d be very happy if you chose to publish this somewhere, either as a review, or, less formally, as a blog post. It’s a great way to promote debate around the issues. . . . .

I’d love to see the Paliwal interview and to discuss other aspects of your experience. I’d really appreciate your insights.

Of course, I think we may have a few disagreements, but perhaps not as many as you describe. For instance, I concede in the book that Kashmir, Goa, and the Sino-Indian war were tripping points. But mistakes or shortcomings do not negate everything else, and there is much that Nehru and his sister accomplished, and where they were true to their ideals.

On the 3 major faults: I have a paper coming out on human rights, self-determination, and the question of Kashmir. I concede, as I indicate in the book, that this was the one issue on which Nehru ultimately was not able to rise above. Goa and the Sino-Indian conflict I largely chalk up to Krishna Menon, [India’s then Minister of Defence], though of course Nehru went along. I have another paper coming out where I discuss the Sino-Indian issue briefly, . . . . I’ll be bringing out an edited book that will address some of this in more detail shortly. . . . .

I agree that Nehru could have done much more to address the problem of caste, though I think we could have a fruitful discussion on the issue, and on locating Nehru somewhere between Gandhi and Ambedkar [an ex-untouchable who was the chief architect of India’s Constitiution] on the spectrum of moralism and law in change making.

I don’t think that your assessment of Mme Pandit, based on her Penn talk, is particularly fair, as you might have guessed. I don’t know what she said there, of course, but considering the nature of the setback and the humiliation following the war, and her brother’s despair, I think it hardly unexpected that she would give a rousing defense of India’s position in a foreign forum in the immediate aftermath. But she did deal in more internal ways with the critics, as I indicate. And, importantly, she also returned to speak for the old internationalist vision in the years that followed, in public and private settings. Her general position remained Nehruvian internationalist, and the talk you mention seems the exception. Most significantly, she and her daughter broke publicly with Indira Gandhi, and suffered for it, when they thought she was going down a dark path [initiating a period off emergency rule that lasted from 1975 to 1978], and taking the country with her. I’d say that that is indeed indicative of someone who “kept the faith.”

I don’t think it fair, either, to claim that Nehru was about showpiece laws and not about real change. Almost all of the new scholarship reassessing the Nehruvian period, whether economically or socially, reveals substantive progress on many an issue. This isn’t to say that everything was perfect. Nehru was powerful, but he wasn’t a dictator. He held the foreign minister portfolio, and so was much freer to act internationally, and domestically was much more constrained by cacophonous parliamentary democracy.

My position . . . . is that Indira Gandhi systematically undermined and destroyed the Nehruvian state. Nehru’s was an imperfect model, but what it could accomplish was going to take time. . . . .

Both the ICC and R2P [International Criminal Court and the Responsibility to Protect] have come under withering criticism from numerous scholars for being neo-imperial western tools. I don’t think that they are an unmitigated good. But I agree that they are, overall, positive steps, but ones that must take place in concert with other major changes to make the system more effective and fair. (I say this as someone who has heard Kofi Annan explain the reasons for R2P and who has met Ocampo and Bensouda [ICC prosecutors] on occasions, and who deeply admires Bill Pace and the work he has done.)

Anyhow, I say all of this only in the spirit of engagement. Not at all to be defensive. I love the fact that you have such a passionate take on the book, and that you have taken the time to write. Thank you!! . . . .



#1047 – Dick Bernard: Three books at the lake.

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

The Clansman001

We just returned from a week “up north” – for us, at a time share at Breezy Point Resort near Pequot Lakes MN. You’re not far from the “madding crowd” at a place like Breezy – “Elvis” does his thing, pretty expertly, each Saturday in the summer, but nonetheless it was a change of pace, and while we were watching Chris Olsen do Elvis, we saw a pretty nice sunset as well.

(click on all photos to enlarge)

Breezy Point sunset July 24, 2015

Breezy Point sunset July 24, 2015

But my leisure time was with my nose in three books I’d brought along:
1. The Clansman, by Thomas F. Dixon, a “romantic novel” of the horrors (to many) of the emancipation of negroes after the Civil War (1865 forward), and the attendant founding of the Ku Klux Klan. My copy was apparently 100 years old, a reprint of the 1905 original, apparently re-published in 1915 in synch with, and including a few pictures from, the release of the photo play “A Birth of a Nation”, based on the book.

2. A 1920 book, “Leslie’s Photographic Review of the Great War, celebrating the great victory of the allies, particularly the U.S., over Germany’s “Huns” in WWI.

Both of these books were found in the detritus of my grandparents farm in North Dakota.

3. The 2011 book, In the Garden of Beasts” by Erik Larson, a #1 New York Times bestseller, an “enthralling work of novelistic history” (front cover) about the new American ambassador to Germany in the first year of Hitler and the Third Reich, 1933-34.

This book was loaned to us by our friend Annelee Woodstrom, who grew up in Adolf Hitler’s Germany, and turned seven during 1933-34.

It would be a fool’s errand for me to attempt to review these books in a limited space.

Suffice, that I spent my week reading them all, and if one has any interest in tying threads together, of one event spawning another, yet another; and the useful scourge of labeling some collective “them” for the purpose of instilling fear in the collective “us”; or of “superior” and “inferior”; and of the insanity of feeling one can really “win” a “war”: taken together these three books give a huge amount of food for thought. They would be a powerful trilogy for a book club.

For just a single example, most are familiar with the deadly Nazi obsession with the ideal Aryan racial stock.

In The Clansman (United States, 1905), the first use of the word Aryan comes on page two, in a note to the readers from the author: “How the young South…against overwhelming odds…saved the life of a people…one of the most dramatic chapters in the history of the Aryan race.” There is no question, in The Clansman, as to who is superior, and who is hopelessly inferior….

Leslie’s…Great War is an almost rhapsodic account of the power of the United States in WWI with no consideration of the possible future consequences of humiliating Germany. One of many cartoons in the book (below) brings the notion of a world pecking order of nations home.

It is interesting to note the future of the relationships of those six powers after 1918 up to today.

From the book "Leslie's Photographic Review of the Great War" (WWI)

From the book “Leslie’s Photographic Review of the Great War” (WWI)

Finally, In the Garden of Beasts lays the foundation of Nazi Germany and its rapid rise to power. It didn’t occur to me until I read the book that Hitler and the Nazi’s ascension to power in Germany coincided almost exactly with the arrival of Franklin Roosevelt in the White House, both in 1933.

There was a very steep learning curve…and easily exploited fears, about things real or imagined.

What do we learn from war?

We certainly don’t seem to learn that war means anything other than stoking flames leading to another war.

But war – at minimum the constant threat of war – seems to be the default position of our supposedly civilized society.

Leslie's Arc de Triomphe001

Garden of Beasts003

For me the reading of The Clansman caused me to think about Haiti, the nation born of a revolt of slaves against France which gained independence in 1804, 17 years after the United States came into existence.

I was interested, while reading The Clansman, whether Haiti, a place and history which I know reasonably well, would appear in any form. Haiti was, after all, not a benign presence in the early U.S.; it was a state formed of slaves who had successfully revolted, not far from a nation, the U.S., much of whose economy depended on slave labor.

Sure enough, at page 291 of The Clansman, this quote from one of the actors: “In Hayti no white man can own land. Black dukes and marquises drive over them and swear at them for getting under their wheels. Is civilization a patent cloak with which law-tinkers can wrap an animal and make him a king?” Of course, “The issue…is civilization…whether Society is worth saving from barbarism.”

No wonder, The Clansman, to this day, is popular among White Supremacists. And the post Civil War southerners were terrified of slaves now free.

And there is still no freedom for Haiti.

July 28, 2015, marked another 1915 Centennial: when the United States occupied Haiti and took control for many years (some feel we still occupy it). This is another history worth revisiting. Here are a couple of links which can help: Ezilidanto, and Mark Schuller (Parts one and two of three).

#1046 – Dick Bernard: 50 years ago today. A personal memory. Remembering a death.

Friday, July 24th, 2015

(click to enlarge all photos)

At the Busch farm, August 1964.  Barbara at right, Dick next to her.  Grandma and Grandpa Busch at left.

At the Busch farm, August 1964. Barbara at right, Dick next to her. Grandma and Grandpa Busch at left.

Yesterday afternoon, enroute to a meeting, I stopped to take a couple of photos:

3315 University Avenue SE, Minneapolis MN July 23, 2015

3315 University Avenue SE, Minneapolis MN July 23, 2015

University of Minnesota Hospital, Minneapolis, July 23, 2015

University of Minnesota Hospital, Minneapolis, July 23, 2015

Fifty years ago today I lived in a rented upstairs room in this house, just a block from KSTP-TV; and my wife, Barbara, was in the University Hospital less than two miles away, my memory says on 8th floor, in intensive care, .

It had been a very long two months since we arrived in Minneapolis in late May, when Barbara was admitted for a hoped for kidney transplant, her only remaining option to live.

This particular Saturday morning, 50 years ago today, she had fallen into a coma, and at 10:50 p.m. she died. The previous day there had been a brief rally, not uncommon for those critically ill.

Among the whisps of memory was my going to the Western Union office in downtown Minneapolis after she died, sending a telegram to relatives.

Communications was not instant, then. Mine was a very succinct message.

While death is never expected, particularly in one only 22 years old, there really was little hope left: three major operations in two months, no kidney transplant.

July 25, alone, I drove west to Valley City, North Dakota, where the funeral was held on July 29.

In a family history I wrote for our son on his 18th birthday in 1982 I remembered the day of the funeral this way: August 1965001

It was a very lonely time, I have never been able to recall many specifics of particularly the first month after her burial, but life went on for 1 1/2 year old son Tom and I.

It was very early in my life too – I was 25 – and I grew up in a hurry. It has informed my life and my attitudes ever since.

I became very aware of how important and how broad “community” is in society.

There were, out there, among family, friends and many others, people who in diverse ways helped us get through the very hard times. By quirk of fate, the funeral was one day before President Lyndon Johnson signed into federal Law the Medicare Act, societies immense gift to the elderly of this country, one of whom is now me. Here’s Grandpa Busch’s first Medicare card, dated July 1, 1966: Medicare card 1966001

Today in our country we debate whether or not everyone should have a right to medical insurance; whether it is a responsibility of the individual, or of society at large.

Medicare was debated then, too.

It was not on Barbara’s or my radar screen. Debate is a luxury when survival is the only issue.

Our married life was very short, only two years, and almost 100% of the time distracted by the progression of a finally fatal illness. We never really got to know what a “normal” marriage might have looked like.

I think we would have done well together, but that is sheer speculation. The inevitable tensions of a normal marriage were something we were never able to experience.

Three weeks ago I made a visit to Barbara’s grave in Valley City. It is in St. Catherine’s Cemetery, high on a hill just east of town.

June 29, 2015, Valley City ND St Catherine's Cemetery

June 29, 2015, Valley City ND St Catherine’s Cemetery

St. Catherines Cemetery, Valley City ND June 29, 2015

St. Catherines Cemetery, Valley City ND June 29, 2015

Yesterday I went briefly into the University Hospital, including up to the eighth floor, which is now used for other purposes than 50 years ago.

In the lobby area I lingered for a moment by a plaque recognizing the founding of University Hospital in 1916, near 100 years ago.

University of Minnesota Hospital, July 23, 2015

University of Minnesota Hospital, July 23, 2015

Elsewhere, in the medical wing of University Hospital, doubtless were patients for whom yesterday was, or today will be, the last day of their lives.

It is the single immutable fact that we all face: at some point we will exit the stage we call “life”.

Take time to enjoy the trip. The Station001

My public thanks, today, to everyone who helped Tom and I, in any way, back then in 1965, before and after, especially the public welfare system and public and private hospitals.

#1045 – Dick Bernard: On “Warriors” and “American Heroes”. Remembering First Sergeant Strong

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

(click to enlarge)
First Sergeant Strong001

If one follows national politics at all, one staple is obvious: the cult of American superiority as played out by its military “warriors” and “heroes”. It has most recently erupted in the Republican political debate, largely brandished by candidates and members of the political echo chamber who never served in the military, and conveyed to a public who have also, by and large, never served, and have a John Wayne movie (or, for the youngers, Transformers) view of the fantasy of invincibility of American military prowess.

For those who’ve been there, war is hell, something to be avoided…like the religious concept of Hell: Hell is a place you think you know about, but don’t want to go there to visit.

A few days ago, in this space, I published a photo of North Dakota farm boy and Marine Francis Long. Private Long was killed on Saipan on July 2, 1944, 13 days after the battle began; 7 days before it ended.

Late Sunday afternoon, I turned on public television, and it happened they were rebroadcasting part four of Ken Burns powerful series on WWII. This segment featured the horrors of Normandy, and of Saipan….

Francis Long gave me context for Ken Burns re-creation in images of the Saipan campaign, and about the reality of war…for all sides. About 50,000 dead during the battle of Saipan alone. Saipan was hell for U.S. GI’s and the enemy Japanese combatants; no less, it was hell for the Japanese who lived on Saipan, a great many of whom, civilians for whom Saipan was home, committed suicide by jumping off a cliff rather than surrender to the Americans.

War is hell.

But this post is about another soldier I knew: First Sergeant Fred Marcus Strong.

I was 22 when I met him in Company C, 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry, 5th Infantry Division (Mech) at Ft. Carson Colorado in 1962. For more than a year I was his Company Clerk; and he was top enlisted man in Company C. There were perhaps 150 of us in the Company. I got to know Sergeant Strong pretty well, though he seemed really old at the time (he apparently was 39), and he was my superior. Our desks were adjacent to each other, and our office was “Grand Central Station” for the company; as it was when we were on maneuvers, which was often.

He and I related well, in a quiet sort of working way. Sometimes we conversed about home, and he told me about growing up in the Tennessee/Virgina border area.

Our Division was training, it turned out, for Vietnam.

Time passes, but I never forgot Sergeant Strong. He had a powerful and positive impact on me. He was a gentle man. I made some failed attempts to find out if he was still alive. Search technology had not reached today’s sophistication.

This Memorial Day a friend forwarded a powerful tribute to GIs sponsored by a grocery chain out of Bristol Tennessee. You can view it here, the link is in the first line.

Sergeant Strong came back to my life. I knew from long ago conversations that he was from the general vicinity of this place, and I decided, once again, to look him up.

Sure enough, he had a mailing address, near Fort Carson, so I wrote him a long catch-up letter, not knowing if I’d ever hear back.

Presently came an e-mail, from his daughter: “My Mother wanted me to contact you when she got your letter to let you know that my Dad passed on June 9th 2014. Mother was so happy to get your letter and it made her feel very good to know someone cared enough about Dad to write after all these years…She is so lonely without him. We all miss him.”

A little later, about July 10 came an envelope with a brief note, and Sergeant Strongs obituary, which leads this post, and speaks for itself. Look deeply at the picture: that is the Sergeant Strong I remember.

I was struck by this memory card, stark in its simplicity. This was as perfect a summary of service as I’ve ever seen. The customary biographical sketch is not on this card. But it doesn’t need to be.

Anything more would have been a distraction from the essence of a life of service by Sergeant Strong which most likely included World War II and Korea:

Military Honors. “Army”

The memory card and note from his daughter has joined the goblet made by my Uncle Frank on the USS Arizona before he went down with the ship December 7, 1941.

Thank you, First Sergeant Strong.

POSTNOTE: In my followup letter I included a couple of memories of 1962-63, which you can read here: Ft. Carson 1962-63001

Some years ago, I happened to meet the mail clerk for Company C, just a kid like myself, and we were reminiscing. He recalled, back then, that he really wanted to become a helicopter pilot, but Sergeant Strong quietly counseled him out of that idea.

Doubtless, First Sergeant Strong knew war, and not from the abstract.

We were training for Vietnam. He knew that. He knew the coming reality. We didn’t understand what was ahead.

#1044 – Dick Bernard: The Women in the Yard. Looking for Clara.

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

Thursday I published a piece that included a family photo taken 72 years ago, in the summer of 1943, in rural North Dakota.

Everyone was in that picture, except for the Mom, and I observed that “[t]he entire family is in the photo, save their mother, Clara, who was probably taking the picture”.

The family was not kin of mine, so I didn’t know of them except by name, but they were near neighbors and fellow church members with my grandparents Rosa and Fred Busch.

I would have been three years old when that picture was taken at the nearby farm.

Overnight it occurred to me that in the same batch of photos I’ve been reviewing for a long while now, might be a photo which includes Clara Long*.

It is here:

(click to enlarge)

A gathering of women, labelled Berlin (ND) picnic September 7, 1952.

A gathering of women, labelled Berlin (ND) picnic September 7, 1952.

There seem to be 24 women in this picture, plus one youngun’. My Grandma Busch is directly behind the little kid. Aunt Edith, my Aunt and her daughter, is in the back row at far right, it appears. This picture was in the yard of the Busch farmhouse, where pictures were traditionally taken when people came to visit. The photo was unusual size, about 2×2″, so probably taken with someone other than Grandpa’s camera.

Most likely it is the women of St. John’ Catholic Church in Berlin, both social and service, as typical in churches then and still.

Such a photo truly speaks “a thousand words”…indeed many more.

Perhaps Chistina, the sister-in-law of Clara, who e-mailed to comment on the earlier photo, will remember Clara, and see other women of the town she recognizes.

It occurs to me, now many years later, that these women represented the life of that, and every, community in more ways than one.

Grandma, just as a single instance, birthed nine children in the house that you cannot see, just to the photographers left. By September, 1952, she and he husband Fred had been married 47 years, and their youngest child, Vincent, was 27.

Likely all those women are gone now, but what a legacy they no doubt left behind.

Here’s to the ordinary women and men who brought this world to life, one person at a time!

Thank you.

* – I was incorrect. According to a family member, Clara had died when the youngest was two years old. The photographer was likely the second wife.

#1043 – Dick Bernard: Going to Peace. A Reflection on Detente with Iran.

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

POSTNOTE, July 18: see “The Women in the Yard. Looking for Clara”, here.

Going through old papers and photos of a deceased relative can be tedious, but occasionally something pops up, as did this photo a few days ago.

(click to enlarge)

A farm family, the summer of 1943

A farm family, the summer of 1943

While not of my town, or my family tree either, I have some knowledge of this farm family in the summer of 1943. Sr. Victorine, of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet in St. Paul, was a good friend in her last years. She passed on in October, 2010.

I never knew that her brother was Francis, at right in this family photo taken in the summer, 1943, in rural ND. (The entire family is in the photo, save their mother, Clara, who was probably taking the picture. On the back of the picture are written the names of the Charles Long family. From left, as identified by a family member, they are: Leonard, Clem, Marcella, Charles, Sr. Victorine, John and Francis Long.)

The 1976 town history (Berlin ND) says that Francis was “Killed in Saipan, July 2, 1944“. A short article from, likely, the Fargo Forum, says that Francis dropped out of high school to go in the service. In the Berlin history, he is listed as “deceased” in the class of 1943.

A letter from my Grandma Rosa to her son, my uncle Lt. George W. Busch, officer on the USS Woodworth in the Pacific, dated August 20, 1944, sums it all up well: “[W]e had a Memorial Mass for Francis Long killed July 2 on Saipan in action Sister Victorine was here to come to visit us on Fri afternoon is done with school now has one test to take then she has her Masters Degree in Science she did very well looks so good too but all felt so badly….

So goes war, willing heroes, full of all of the brash confidence and invulnerability of youth. Francis was probably 19, just starting life, when he died.

I think of Francis and family this day because this week a major agreement was reached between U.S. and Iran negotiators.

The media is full of commentary about this agreement, and people who stop by this blog can find far more than adequate information in other sources, on all sides about the technical details, and dead-certain positions and opinions about it.

President Obama framed this pretty well, yesterday: “Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation or it’s resolved through force through war.”

Either we figure out how to get along, or there will be more and more people with names who perish, and not only ours.

This won’t stop the drumbeaters for War, for unconditional surrender of the Enemy, whoever that happens to be at the time.

Peace is a very hard sell in this country.

Peace is, I think I can fairly say, considered by the traditional Power People in our country to be an instrument of terrorism…It threatens their prosperity or their authority.

For the media (and the people who watch or read it) Peace is boring as a generator of revenue (just watch your local and national news and see what is prioritized for coverage.)

Peace is costly – a competitor – for the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower so correctly identified as a big and looming problem way back in 1961.

For others, an enemy is absolutely essential to retain power and control. It is useful to keep people in fear, and portray yourself as the only safety buffer between “us and them”.

Eisenhower was as military as they come…he knew, however, a reality to which we’ve paid too little attention.

My friend, Tom White, who spent a great deal of time for many years establishing accurate numbers concerning military and other costs in this country always estimated that over half of the U.S. discretionary budget related to military.

He’s out of the card business now, but the general information on his last one is still pretty accurate.

All that military money goes somewhere, and the vast majority not for the peace and general welfare of our or other citizens.

We live or we die by our priorities.

Francis and millions of others have died defending the premise that war is necessary for peace.


A postnote from the present:

I’ve been a member of the American Legion for years. I’m a vet. The Minnesota American Legion seems to enroll perhaps 1 1/2% of Minnesota’s population. It is a small, and decreasing in membership (old soldiers do die), but still a powerful entity.

In the most recent American Legion newspaper, announcement was made of the 2015 Minnesota American Legion Convention, including the Resolutions it would be considering, among which was this one.

(click to enlarge)
American Legion MN 2015001

Are our (America’s) priorities:
Military Power

as stated in the Resolution?

The drafter of the resolution seems to think so, and I can predict that this resolution will sail through. Look carefully at the four pillars of the resolution.

If we choose survival, we choose peace: that is my opinion.

And I thank the administration of President Obama for forcing us to begin this conversation, since an alternative to his forced choice is a third way, which he did not mention: to stay the course of our dismal reality of fear of anything and everything but war.