Kill Anything That Moves is the total fulfillment and completion of Ron Ridenhour's belief, which he took to his early grave, that My Lai was not an aKill Anything That Moves is the total fulfillment and completion of Ron Ridenhour's belief, which he took to his early grave, that My Lai was not an aberration but an operation like many another. (Ridenhour was the man who blew the whistle on My Lai -- see ridenhour.org). Turse supports Ron's idea with evidence based on government documents and interviews with veterans and victims. The evidence is as incontrovertible and devastating as it is discomforting. Turse's tone is angry but restrained--just right. These things were done in our name and hidden from us even after the government did the investigations to confirm the allegations. He does not point fingers except up the chain of command, not at the men on the ground who were put in harm's way and asked to do these morally reprehensible things. Shit always flows downhill. Turse makes the case for reversing gravity. No doubt Turse should ready himself for the flame wars. They are coming.
These things matter because how America wages war today is largely based on the lessons -- the wrong lessons -- drawn from Vietnam. The generals learned "no more My Lais" but what that meant was, don't put men on the ground who can be prosecuted and implicate us up the chain of command. Hence our increasing reliance on push-button wars.
One reader he complains that Turse does not listen to the other side, that he should consider "how those same soldiers helped the people in that country." I suggest they read Jonathan Schell's masterpiece The Military Half on the devastation of Quang Ngai province in which he writes: "The Americans in Vietnam liked to speak of the 'military half' of what they were doing, but the 'half' was more like nine-tenths, and the other one-tenth--the contribution to 'nation building'--was often, in the context of the war, pure mockery. For example, it frequently happened that in driving the enemy out of a village the Americans would destroy it. That was the 'military half.' the 'civilian half' then might be to drop thousands of leaflets on teh ruins, explaining the evils of the N.L.F., or perhaps introducing the villagers to some hygenic measures that the Americans thought were a good idea." (quoted in Turse p69)...more
Magisterial treatment of left and right brain hemispheres by a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who read English lit (and apparently philosophy) at OxfMagisterial treatment of left and right brain hemispheres by a psychiatrist and neuroscientist who read English lit (and apparently philosophy) at Oxford. This is where neuroscience comes of age. McGilchrist offers a readable account on the workings of the hemispheres, then a sweeping account of how in history since the Greeks -- reflected in literature and philosophy and science -- they have come to dysfunction, the rationalistic left brain usurping the intuitive gestalt function of the right. It's too complicated to try here, but McGilchrist makes a lot of sense of how rationalistic, positivistic science and technology have come to rule the roost in the last 200 (or 3 or 400) years. The last chapter is a veritable Bach fugue that pulls it all together and makes the whole slog (some 500 pages) all worth it. Great and important book....more
From the former editor of Granta, literary editor of The New Yorker and the author of Heat, the book is full of surprises. Immersion journalism at itsFrom the former editor of Granta, literary editor of The New Yorker and the author of Heat, the book is full of surprises. Immersion journalism at its best. Vivid, incisive, it offers a broad and deep view of what makes football thugs tick. They profess NOT to be hooligans, and surprise, in an important way, they aren't. Their violence is not a political statement of working-class disaffection. It's a quest for joy and a sense of "completion," in Buford's term, one he came up with by experiencing it. Think, Clockwork Orange goes to the World Cup and it's Anthony Burgess (or Kubrick), not Alex, wielding the brickbat. Amazing book. Has stayed with me as few others have....more