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tv   History of U.S. Wars in Five Disabled Veterans  CSPAN  December 17, 2017 6:45pm-8:01pm EST

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and in the leadership, particularly in the senate. that is what he is -- that is what is driving him. announcer: paying with their book by john015 kinder. york academye new of medicine, professor kinder explorers the history of u.s. wars through the eyes of five disabled veterans. includesinute talk graphic images of wounded veterans. >> for this evening, we are topy to welcome john kinder talk about the history of american war here it this is
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part of a series of lectures we have had throughout the year. dr. kinder will look at the way hollywood has shied away from war wounds and how military propaganda is used to downplay the loss of life and limb in wars. in this talk, kinder will look at the history of american war through the eyes of five disabled veterans. we welcome dr. kinder from oklahoma state university where he is a professor of history and
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american studies. he is the author of paying with their bodies which came out two years ago. he is currently completing a zoos inthe history of world war ii. please welcome professor john kinder. professor kinder: thank you. [applause] kinder: thank you for inviting me to speak with you this evening. this is a real pleasure and i look forward to the day i'm able to come back here, hopefully soon as a researcher. i want to point out from the physician.i am not a
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i am a historian and a cultural historian at that. which means when it comes to war, i am less interested in medical advancement, the nuts and bolts of putting people back together, then in how we make sense of wars trauma. the extent to which we grapple as wehat has happened head into battle and then come home. that is what i am about. with that in mind, i thought we might begin today with looking at hollywood, which i consider ground zero. 1949, four years after the theof world war ii and sands of iwo jima has just reached theaters.
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for those who have not seen it, it stars john wayne in his most role, weight -- iconic john stryker. he is a marine. .art father figure he is tasked with leading the young platoon in a series of assaults culminating in an attack on the japanese stronghold in iwo jima. at the time it was released, critics praised it for the realism of the onscreen combat. u.s. marine corps's participated in making the film in hollywood. today, the film is best known for its ending. for those who have not seen it, i apologize because i am about to spoil it. mountain,e top of the
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john stryker pauses to have a cigarette and is shot through the chest. it happens so quickly, you do not know what is happening. at one moment they are all there, celebrating, and then, the unthinkable has happened. john wayne is dead. how can this be? wasite the ending, the film catnip for the generation raised in the afterglow of world war ii. even today it is easy to understand why. why the film was so appealing. seem of iwo jima makes war heroic and honorable. it seems like a fast-track to manhood for those brave enough to follow in john wayne's footsteps. plus, this is what i want to hammer home, the movie makes john wayne's final seconds
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appear pain-free. instantaneous. his corpse is kept at a view of the camera. you really do not see anything. perhaps john stryker's organs were ripped apart as the bullet passed through his chest. perhaps his back exploded in a volcano of blood and bone. perhaps he evacuated his bowels as so many others do the last moments of life. we will never know. prior to the 1960's, hollywood shied away from showing those sorts of details. with littlequickly
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more than a little squirt of fake blood. you would never know that enemy gunfire sometimes destroyed andes, faces, brains, genitals. this sanitize vision of wartime bylence can be chalked up the hollywood code which restricted trauma. but i think john stryker's is indicated of a larger trend in american culture. that is an unwillingness to a knowledge what happens -- happened to bodies in military conflict. we just do not think about it. we do not see it. when it comes to bodily trauma, many americans live in a world of willful ignorance.
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-- tveralists rarely journalists rarely speak about severed limbs. they are more likely to speak about losses and casualties. as if moore was out injuries. -- as if war was without injuries. to would be hard-pressed find out what happened to the injured. hanks assuresom us they gave their lives for freedom. we are told their depths meant hs meantg --deat something. there is no conspiracy. there is no larger force acting
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to keep this information away. yes, in wartime the federal government maintains a long tradition of censoring the worst of the slaughter in order to maintain civilian morale. in world war ii, it was a conflict in which 50 million people were killed and yet americans at home did not begin to see photos of g.i. corpses until 1943. and they were free of bodily mutilation. they were basically men who had been killed and were laying down in the sand. today technology has rendered most forms of censorship updated. , a ban was lifted. this are exceptions to pattern of absence.
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have sharedns intimate details of their physical and mental trauma. on the whole, american culture has long engaged in self-censorship. many of us do not think about wartime suffering. there are many reasons why. unpleasant.ut it is doing so would politicize the suffering. supporting the troops, we are told, means focusing on the positive. and because, and this is my main theory, we have been trained not to care. war, for the vast majority of continues to be out of sight, out of mind. i want to spend our time together tonight to take a brief tour of the history of american
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war. our guidepost will be five veterans, some famous, others forgotten, whose bodies were permanently altered during wars. what emerges is a portrait of a nation struggling and failing to come to terms with the human cost of military conflict. a portrait of war emerges that looks different than what you would see in a hollywood movie starring someone like john wayne. that is what i want to get a sense of tonight. we will start in the civil war. 1863, private joseph in virginiaighting when he was hit in the face by a
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shell fragment. the burning piece of metal took off part of his job, fractured his cheekbone and destroyed one of his eyes, leaving behind a gaping hole. harvey sell into southern hands and was held prisoner for 11 -- fell into southern hands and was held prisoner for 11 days before doctors worked on him. it was a month and a half before he saw any real doctor. he was discharged on the account of physical disability in 1865. he took a job as a night watchman. when this photo was taken the following month, liquid and saliva continued to leak from the wound and much of his face was numb. i found his story in a 6000 page
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history of medical advancements of the civil war. i chose harvey to show you for a few reasons. he fulfills any of our ofectations that we have disabled veterans. he was injured in battle and suffered a physical wound, one that remained visible after the war ended. clichesembodies many that we gravitate towards when talking about disabled veterans. some wounds never heal. war lives on in the bodies of those who fought. that is quite literally the case in harvey. howlars often talk about the body is a site of traumatic memory emma unhealed -- memory, unhealed wounds opening and
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erecting after years of dormancy. they are portals to an earlier time. evidence that the past is never really passed. that was the case for joseph harvey. he would never be able to move on from the war. he would never become what he once was. i like to think of him as our stereotype of a disabled veteran. , its injured, it is visible happened in battle, it lives on in his body. yet he is also an outlier. during the civil war, twice as many troops were killed by disease as by atul wins. battle wounds.
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fever killedyphoid many. crudel technology was during the civil war. sometimes, the qr was worse than the sickness he was a 20-year-old soldier from maryland who ingested mercury to treat a bout of pneumonia. surgeons had to remove much of his face. i bring up cases like this not brutality of the civil war battlefield. far from it come in fact. advancements in manufacturing allowed bullets to blast apart troops with unprecedented speed. high casualties were not a tragic byproduct of civil war
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battles. they were the point of civil war battles. if we only focus on men like joseph harvey, we miss another part of the war story, the every day dangers that plague american were making to this day. for the 10,000 or so union soldiers that suffered wounds to we face, thousands of others don't like to think about and were permanently disabled far from the battlefield when they were hit by trains, when limbs fell on their heads, or when they were kicked in the face by mules. in the decades following the in 1868,death, americans struggled to come to terms with the civil wars legacy of destruction. end, somethings very strange began to happen, something we don't think about, which is that growing numbers
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began to see the conflict as an aberration. it was the last outburst of a brutal age. in the future, wars between what they called "civilized nations," by which they meant white, would be shorter and more survivable. no sane nation would dare repeat the civil war's deadly formula of mass armies and industrial gunseaponry, not when the and bombs would only get more lethal. prediction. the most optimistic predicted that international arbitration replace large-scale bloodletting. at the least, military physicians could take some comfort in the medical lessons they learned from harvey and thousands like him. , that masse dream warfare and mass casualties would disappear in the 20th century, which brings us to world war i and our second
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disabled veteran, boris pippen. no doubt many of you have heard of him. removed from slavery, he rose to become one of the most important african-american artists, a journey that hinged in no small part on his experience in world war i. the date was september 30, 1918, barely a month after the cease-fire. his regimen was fighting northeast of terrace when he was hit by german machine gun fire. bullets smashed through his right shoulder. he spent hours awaiting rescue. at one point, he fell into a ditch and was pinned beneath a corpse for hours before he was evacuated be on the front lines. after months of treatment, he was discharged with a steel plate in his shoulder and a pension of $22.50 a month. next decade, he scraped
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by, working a series of odd jobs, spending his nights decorating cigarette boxes as a crude form of occupational therapy. in 1930, pippin took up painting, using his left hand to prop up his right arm and guide the brush across the canvas. pippin's portraits and scenes of african-american life have been featured in magazines like time, "vogue."you can see his work at moma and the metropolitan museum art. when the u.s. entered world war i, many believed that men like pippin did not belong in uniform, let alone wielding rifles on the front line. i certainly wouldn't be the first person to bring up the of the fact that the united states waged the war with a white supremacist army.
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racism was baked into all aspects of military life during world war i, from segregated recreational facilities to the violent harassment of blacks in .niforms a post-war study co-authored by diagnoseds african-americans with extraordinarily high rates of hysteria, poor emotional control, and venereal disease. for men like davenport and plenty of others like him, african-americans in their view lack the intelligence and emotional discipline to be effective fighters. instead, lack bodies were suited for one thing, manual labor. that was it. all-black 369th infantry, better known as the harlem health fighters, only saw action when it was put under the command.
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white troops refused to fight alongside their african-american countrymen. the 360 not was so successful that the entire regiment won a citation from the french government. a quarter of a million new yorkers cheered as the hell fighters marched in a tickertape parade, right past where we are tonight. such displays were not enough to alter the nations and militaries systemic devaluing of black bodies. vets were-american lynched after world war i. countless more were beaten, harassed, their houses set aflame. with his wounded arm and measly pension, pippin was able to survive the red summer of 1919. it would take another world war before the commander-in-chief decided to desegregate the u.s. military. despite this, despite the 369th
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record, military leaders charged that men of color had little place in war, unless they were janitors or the targets of american firepower. this is the story up until world war i and world war ii. we have two figures. you might not recognize the name of our next veteran, but it is likely that many are familiar with his work. russell, perhaps the most famous disabled american veteran of world war ii, never saw action overseas. 1944, as some 50,000 troops landed on the beaches of normandy, he was serving as an army instructor when a defective explosive blew off both of his hands. russell was sent to walter reed in washington,
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d.c. where he spent months recovering, and this was agonizing. of all,n pain, but most he was worried about spending the rest of his life as an amputee, as he wrote in his disabledaphy -- for a veteran in 1944, rehabilitation was not a realistic prospect. i had plenty of time to figure out if i was right. this was his attitude. a second andse for point out that this term he uses, rehabilitation, this isn't a generic term for any kind of medical treatment. it meant something very specific. rehabilitation was an integrated orthopedics,ces, jobs training, psychological counseling, aimed at helping disabled veterans reintegrate into society as economically
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workers.e it was conceived as a modern approach to what they called at the time the problem of the disabled veteran. it was seen as an alternative to the days when government largess was consigned to pensions and old soldiers homes. today, we take this sort of thing for granted. if you are wounded in war, the government will help put you back on your feet and get you working again. this idea of rehabilitation has been the backbone of federal day,y for veterans to this but during world war i, this was considered an experiment. if it was successful, it would transform war itself. writing in october of 1917, and opined,ddy roosevelt the cripple, in the sense of being a helpless or useless
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cripple, will largely be eliminated, and out of this war will have come another step in the march of mankind towards the better and more just life. world war i rehabilitation did not live up to this lofty promise, but with each new war, new cohorts of physical therapists and prosthetics designers have recycled the same old promise that you get from teddy roosevelt. today's wounded warriors have the best care of her, and thanks to advanced technology and research, the disabled veteran will soon be a thing of the past. they literally believe this. today's wounded warriors have the best care ofwith each new we no such thing as disabled veterans. teddy roosevelt believed this
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100 years ago, and we are hearing this today. back to harold russell. in recovery, he happened to see a documentary film about a world war vet who had been successfully rehabilitated. he was intrigued, and after some training, he went on to star in his own film, called barry of us he is shownhich performing various tasks with his hook prostheses. about three world war ii vets, attempting to transition to civilian life. a critical and box office smash in 1946 for its therayal of homer parrish, former quarterback who lost both of his hands in a naval attack.
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hands in a naval attack. he won two academy awards, one for best supporting actor, and another for bringing aid and comfort to disabled veterans. russell's portion of the film mainly focuses on his character homer and his anxieties about a burdening his families, especially his fiancee wilma, with his disability, and in his most poignant scene, he's struggling to take off his hooks , and wilma talks him into bed as if he's a baby. we are not really sure what is going to happen to homer 5, 10, 20 years down the road. we sense he is going to get married. there is still a lingering sense of doubt. russell,rajectory for his transformation from helplessness to hopefulness, from depression to rehabilitation, seemed to mirror the optimism of post-world war
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ii victory culture. he was a disabled veteran for called the good war. he seemed to embody so many traits. that is three. on october 26, 1967, navy pilot iii wasney mccain flying a bombing mission overhung noise when his plane was downed by a surface to air missile. he eject it at 500 miles per hour, breaking both arms and his right knee in the process, landing in a shallow lake, attacked by locals and later trucked to a colonial prison, which was nicknamed the hanoi hilton. medical care was extremely scarce. doctors failed to properly set his broken bones. he lost one third of his body
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weight to dysentery and forced starvation. an admiral,on of yet he consistently thwarted his to use him as a political pawn. they wanted to turn him into this propaganda figure. then came the torture. the beatings, the agonizing nights. mccain tried to commit suicide wrote,but as he later every man has his breaking point, and i had reached mine. he signed a confession, thanking the vietnamese people, calling himself a black criminal. 5.5 years astal of a prisoner of. four decades later, he still has limited flexibility in his knee
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and has difficulty raising his arms much higher than what we see in the photo. one can't talk about mccain's pow experience without reflecting on the relationship between war and politics. pows, manyorean war, of whom were assumed to be brainwashed, returned home under a cloud of suspicion. suspicion came from collaborating with the enemy or this sense that they might have done so p or john mccain, by contrast, was a national hero. hair,ematurely whitened evidence of his willingness to suffer on america's behalf. it's important to point out that the politics of the disabled body saturated wartime u.s. culture. on the one hand, you have fromes who were paralyzed the waist down with a gunshot to
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the spine. he and many others displayed their disabled bodies as signs of protest, as signs to protest the inhumanity of the vietnam war. you have that on one side, but mccain's injuries were meant to symbolize something different. faith, faith that the war had been worth it, faith in duty and country and the righteousness of american violence. to today, mccain's identity as pow is essential to his political credibility. you can't understand mccain and his political clout without understanding his disabled body. recordings of north vietnamese propaganda forecasts featuring john mccain's voice have been
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circulating online. the mainstream press has largely ignored these broadcasts, and for good reason. for one thing, mccain has admitted to taping a false confession after days of abuse. yet some of the darker corners of the right-wing internet have seized upon recordings as evidence of what they long maintained, that mccain was a songbird. he was a traitor who deserved to be "hung by the neck until dead." i didn't want to make any assumptions, but i would ask that you set aside for a moment whatever you think about john mccain and his politics, and let's focus on what it takes. there is a lack of empathy, sure. of --s also a socio-path
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sociopathic defense of military powuct, which requires the to resist to the utmost of their ability. to those who would say these kinds of things about mccain, i see something more insidious, which is a failure to take the body seriously. those who would criticize mccain or anyone who breaks -- i hate this term, breaks under torture -- do so from the point of view that mines are more powerful than bodies, that a strong will can hold out against virtually anything, but that simply is not the case. bodies matter. this is one thing i like to emphasize again and again in everything i do. matter. burn them, mutilate them, starve them, expose them to heat or the humiliating gaze of others, and even the strongest of us will do things and feel things that we never thought possible.
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to make this claim about mccain, i see it as a reluctance to take the body seriously. that is dangerous. that is four. we are coming to our fifth. i want to acknowledge my trepidation about including our this disabled vet of evening. what follows is an account of sexual violence, a story so recent that i could not locate a photo in the public domain, and i'm not sure if i would show it even if i could. k.d. lang kissing the navy at the age of 21, serving on board a missile destroyer. the following year, she was raped at knife point by one of her shipmates in a san diego hotel room. assault tod the person. as, but according to her mother, she was told, it's not that we
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don't believe you, but he outranks you. the trauma drove her from the navy, and she was treated for depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, all the while fearing that her rapist was not prosecuted and would attack again. she published the start of her memoirs on her facebook page, and i will read a little bit. i would like to dedicate this book to the united states navy and all the men and women who have bravely served our country with humility and have been raped and were brave enough to tell someone. .he did not finish her,01, katie lynn kissing then only 24, committed suicide, and she used a gun. her story is significant on several levels. she is a member of what has been the largest cohort of disabled
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veterans and disabled americans, those with invisible injury. although there is no such thing as a purely mental trauma -- the brain is part of the body -- most disabled veterans don't look like joseph harvey or harold russell. theink this is part of reason that disabled vets continue to struggle in the united states, and to make a larger point, why it is so easy to disregard war's legacy of violence. don't see many disabled vets for what they really are. , andpass by us, invisible wars violence becomes invisible, as well. shines a lightse on an underreported legacy of american military culture, and that is the ubiquity of sexual violence, both against perceived enemies and against other americans in uniform.
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statistics vary, but a 20 told department of defense survey found nearly one quarter of active-duty women had experienced some form of sexual assault. that same year, roughly 26,000 the u.s.k place in military, although only one in seven were reported to hire ups, and only one in 10 went to trial. expect, female service personnel are far more likely to be raped than their male counterparts. men make up roughly 90% of the military and represent the rapest population of victims in the u.s. military. there are a huge number of men who are raped in the u.s. military. there is a name for the psychological toll of these kinds of attacks -- military sexual trauma. the veterans administration defines it as psychological trauma resulting from a physical assault of a sexual nature,
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battery of a sexual nature, or occurredrassment which while in service. symptoms include depression. they include difficulty sleeping, self-medication, and not surprisingly, heightened rates of ptsd and suicide. claims for sexual trauma are higher rates. some survivors have characterized sexual violence in the military as a two-pronged assault. there is the original rape, followed shortly thereafter by rape, thed unwillingness of commanders to take action, the boys club
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mentality that would rather shame the victim then prosecute the perpetrator, and many who have been interviewed about this say that the command rape is far more traumatizing. caitlin is just one of tens of thesands of casualties in war on terror. these lives were traumatize not by radical islam or whatever the u.s. claims to be fighting today , but by a rape culture, in which nothing feminine is welcome. what does this add up to? what does the history of american war look like if it sticks together through the bodies of joseph harvey, harold russell, john mccain, and katie lynn? i want to begin to wrap up by offering a couple broad interpretations. perhaps the most generous would be to think about the history of american war as a story of
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progress or medical progress at the very least. there can be little doubt that today's surgeons would be able to close the hole in harvey's face or restore the movement of pippin's damaged soldier. -- shoulder. this upward trajectory isn't a recent development. of thethe early years iraq war, news outlets gushed about the latest of elements and reconstructive surgery and prosthetic design. these medical miracles helped put back together what war tore apart. i see these stories as part of the apparatus of american innocence that accompanies all u.s. conflict early on. expectation that america's wars are different, that they andbetter, more righteous, whatever former military failings have been resolved --
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if you go off to war, it's not your daddy's war. that is one interpretation. another interpretation would be to highlight by contrast the resounding failure of efforts to eliminate disability from the calculus of american war. 100 years after teddy roosevelt predicted the passing of the no closerhe u.s. is to solving the problems of disabled veterans than in generations past. according to a 2016 census, or than 4 million servicemembers have a service-connected disability. war seemsg, every new to produce at least an acknowledgment of new categories from traumatic brain injury to military sexual trauma. it's not going away. our figures hint at an often ignored aspect of the
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american war story, and that is the history of division and violence between u.s. citizens in wartime. many of us are raised on the notion or myth that americans set aside their differences and come together in times of prewary conflict, but antagonisms over race, gender, sexuality, over which bodies belong, and who belongs, do not fade away when people put on uniforms. entrenched racism dictated that african-americans were not worthy of fighting alongside their failure -- fellow countrymen. the repeal in 20 of don't ask, don't tell was a step in the right direction, at least in my mind. however, the transgender band along with skyrocketing mst rates suggest that the fight is
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far from over. ultimately, i think our five bodies point to a need for what i call in my book the new veteranology. by this, i mean a field of study aimed at not only improving the lives of disabled veterans that also asking tough questions about the values underlying so much of the work on their behalf. what does it mean to readjust in the wake of term at it impairment? to what extent does the u.s. military use disabled veterans in literature and football halftime shows to smooth over anxieties about past and future conflicts? outsourcerd sources functions to private contractors, how will the social contract between veterans and the government evolve?
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on that note, i want to conclude by drawing attention to another category of bodies. the title of my talk is a bit misleading. it's not just five. these include the bodies of america's enemies. those killed and maimed, collateral damage. americans don't typically spend much time fretting about the nation's history of asymmetrical violence, how even in failed military campaigns, the united states dishes out far more death and destruction. in the run-up to u.s. involvement in cuba, korea, vietnam, iraq, and elsewhere, there was a lot of handwringing about how many outside the u.s. would be killed if americans
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took up arms. this goes beyond a patriotic instinct that so many of us have to prioritize the lives of our own. if you are american, prioritize the lives of americans. it hinges on a pathological indifference to human suffering, a willingness to sacrifice tens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of them so that one of your own can be saved. jackson hasric called this the west moreland mindset, a reference to an of generalote william westmoreland in the 1974 ."cumentary "hearts and minds it's an astounding image and astounding moment.
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that theland declares oriental doesn't put the same price on life as a westerner. he's weeping and staring at her hair. , chillinglling moment in west moreland's seeming indifference, but i believe jackson's characterization is a bit unfair, not because west moreland didn't deserve it, but because so many other leaders do, too. we could easily point to andrew orkson or henry kissinger metal and albright who, when asked in 1996 about 500,000 iraqi children who died because thats. sanctions, replied the price is worth it.
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we can point to the architects of the iraq war, they conflict that caused nearly 200,000 civilian deaths in the first 10 years. if we include factors such as infrastructure and damage and disease, that number tops 500,000. future generations might speak about the trump mindset. if we really want to take war seriously, we need to think about the bodies and lives of all of those involved, not just those who fight on america's behalf. i hope putting the body at the center of the american war story reminds us that the nations marshall history is much messier and more devastating to life and
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limb, more reflective of who we both for good,, frank -- thinking about the 369th, or for ill, when we think about military sexual trauma. hope we cannd i have a conversation about this. [applause] >> i have a rather dry question. you started off talking about often focus on not informing people about the severity and horror of war. one of the things i have heard or thought was that were in the past was perhaps more
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gentlemanly or less friend us then war in the present. prof. kinder: that's a terrific question. the question is, were wars in the past more gentlemanly? there's a sense in which a lot -- you would set a time and field come and then you would fight. thee was a sense in which battles over, and there would be a time or moment to go collect the dead or wounded. that continues into the civil war.
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we can see moments of that into world war i and so forth. by the time you get to the u.s. civil war, so many things are changing. people -- you have so much more powerful weaponry, and is almost beyond anything that can be controlled. yes, there is a sense in which -- there seem to be some rules as to how war is fought. all of these things apply to -- for most of u.s. history and the history of wars in the west, there have been two kinds of wars. there have been wars between other western nations and wars between western nations and people of color who are viewed as savages. those wars had no rules. rules about slaughtering the
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enemy, rules about removing the dead, rules about otter destruction, these things fell out the window. there were different sets of --ls, weaponry that was used viewed as uncivilized. by the time you get to world war there was this expectation that war would have a set of clear-cut rules and be gentlemanly. over four years, that gets worn down. aerial bombing, if you read memoirs from the early 20th frontline soldiers rail against aerial bombing more than any other thing.
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i understand a war in which i'm fighting someone who was right in front of me. i know when the war is going to happen. they are going to come this way. i'm going to go that way. there is a logic to it. maybe they are trying to bomb something a mile away, and they drop a bomb, and because of winds, it hits me, and i can't do anything about it. there is a sense of powerlessness. there is a sense in which the logic of the machine has taken over the logic of people. gets more and more accelerated. by the time you get to world war yes, there is still a sense -- there are occasions in which this gentlemanly war is still around, but it gets beaten out
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by the machines and by the level of destruction. i am hesitant to fully embrace the idea that war in the past was ever that much better than it is today. are certain moments, sometimes technological, sometimes ideological, these and one is the development of aerial bombing. along with that, the development of gas. any kind of weapon that you have where it's not meant to hit it's meant to hit anything, and that goes from machine guns in the civil war to gas to aerial bombs. eventually, it leads to the atomic bomb. you are not aiming at anyone in thereular, which is why insuch an emphasis today
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transforming our ideas about bombing, our ideas about war. that is, the surgical strike. we are going to have a surgical strike on north korea. it is not going to be this thing that is out of control. we are able to contain the violence, and the violence, focus the violence, and that's maybe a kind of war i can get behind versus a war in which we are going to randomly kill until they give up. that's why there is such an emphasis on drone strikes and surgical attacks and decapitation. this is the language of making war accessible once again. >> are you able in your book to get into the question of the volunteer army and therefore how not taking bodies seriously becomes not taking the bodies of onlye who feel they can
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get into the army as a way forward? prof. kinder: that's where this all ends up. book wrestles with coming out of the civil war where there was such a destruction, 600,000 killed, one million severely injured -- by the time you get to world war i, many people are saying, we can't do this again. not with better and improved technology. how do we remove the calculus of disability from war? we are always going to have some death, but how do we remove disability? one way to remove it is to remove the significance of those bodies and the political will behind those bodies, and the development of the all-volunteer
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force in 1973 is the culmination of that. one lesson that many in the government and military took from the vietnam war was this -- the u.s. didn't lose vietnam. the u.s. lost on the streets of new york and washington, d.c.. the streets of new york and washington, d.c. because enough people at home said, wait, maybe i am willing to pay with my body for a good warlike world war ii. i might be willing to do this if i think i'm fighting nazis, but this war is nothing like that. there's no good that is going to come with it, and you can sell me this idea of fighting communism, but it's not going to work. of then the aftermath war said, how do we get rid of those people, those voices? draft, thend of the we've got a war over here in iraq. a bunch of people are getting killed. it's going on for 10 years.
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what do i care? i'm not going. the people who are going, they are signing up. that's on the then. it is a small number of people. we don't know them. i live in oklahoma, and there's a larger percentage of veterans there. even in oklahoma, it's nothing like wars in the past. by developing the all-volunteer force, what you do is get rid of so much of the anger at home and the feeling that war, individual investment in war, what happens now is the u.s. can fight wars for 16 years, and they just keep going. for many people, for the vast majority of people, they have absolutely no impact on them, and this trend is going to get even more exaggerated with the development of robotics and
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corporate armies. the 21st century, the u.s. military is largely going to fight wars with machines, computers, and the poor. you aren't going to have big parades rallying against that. they are going to go off and get killed. for having your war while also having a content nation at home. work iswhat i do in my to try to think about, if those are the conditions, how do i get people to care about these things? i'm not a veteran. get ordinary people who are raised in this environment where they don't think about wars as having anything to do with them, how do i get them to care about the plight of disabled veterans? how can they care about military
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sexual trauma? how can they care about this long history of violence on all sides in? it is very, very difficult. today, you can say that hollywood is better. hollywood is much more focused homecomings, but the conditions have changed, too. when john wayne was fighting in "the sands of hiroshima," there was a sense that the generation who watch that film would be going into the military. it was important for them to have a sense of what the military was and why america's wars were worth fighting. year, it's very difficult that is the situation we are in. >> i'm interested in the designation of mst. was that the surgeon general or the military itself naming it?
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prof. kinder: that is the term that the veterans administration uses. >> ok. the reason i was interested, it seems unusually transparent these days. "shellshocked" was a term, but now we have ptsd for civilians and people in the military. i wonder if that was a political decision or if in fact it is indistinguishable from civilian trauma. do you think that it minimizes the role of war? there are soldiers described as having ptsd, and it's the same designation. prof. kinder: that is often a political designation. , number of veterans groups disabled veterans groups, like disabled american veterans, wounded warrior project, have
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been invested in keeping control of these terms. they want to define what disability is, who disabled veterans are. what counts as a disabled veteran? lobbying tolot of say, invisible injuries count, too. ptsd counts, too. traumatic brain injury counts, too. there is almost a hierarchy of injuries. an injury to the body that is visible, that ranks number one, especially if it comes in that, if youbelow have an injury to the mind but has physical symptoms and so forth, and maybe at the bottom, kicked in the face by a mule. the people who have been kicked in the face by a mule might require just as much therapy and pension work as the person at pensionsbut because
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and the disability ratings are always political, you have to lobby the government to get funding and so forth. what ant to control disabled veteran is. military is in a strange place. i don't think i conveyed to the complexity of the military today . many ways, hasn been on the cutting edge of a lot of this research. increasingly, they are invested in this idea of military sexual trauma. it's an important obstacle for what they want to do going forward. the military knows that it is not going to have the high numbers forever. it knows that its membership is going to be increasingly diverse, coming from an increasingly different background and having increasingly different sexual
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and gender identities, and it's important for the u.s. military, if it is going to work, to be able to address the complexity of all of their issues. , atmilitary tends to be least when it comes to definitions and pronouncements, quite good about recognizing things and being quite blunt about them. why is thatreason veterans groups and others hold them accountable. the american legion, disabled american veterans, the wounded warrior project, there are all of these groups that are lobbying, powerful at raising awareness, drawing attention to veterans issues. they tend to be quite good at the u.s. military to recognize a lot of these issues. said, historically, veterans groups have tended to
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there are disabilities, and then there is the rest of the world's disabilities. if the government has to fund one of them, they fund us. their argument is quite simple, which is, you might be disabled .ecause you are born that way i was disabled because i put my body on the line in service of my country. is a product of national service, and thus, if anyone is going to be funded, we are going to be funded. for this reason, disabled veterans groups have been withle to joining forces non-veterans disability groups. that is a mistake.
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centuryked in the 20th and 19th century. that is not going to work in the 21st. the u.s. military represents a smaller and smaller portion of the country. the civilian groups are going to be much better. as the military evolves, so groups prof. kinder: i'm intrigued by the term you use, "the corporate army," and it makes me think,
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what does it mean for rehabilitation? it sounds to me in the civil war where veterans were given pensions, and then by the time we got to world war war, -- world war i, we said, we aren't going to do pensions anymore, and therefore, we are going to rehabilitate to make them self-sufficient -- so if we have a corporate military and the government is no longer involved with running the military but merely paying for it, what happens to rehabilitation and the idea of getting these veterans back? what do you think would happen? prof. kinder: plenty of people in the u.s. military would say, you are a private actor. you signed a contract. you are not like someone who or wanted to serve his country or get away from her small-town.
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i think the u.s. military increasingly tries to draw a division between those groups, and for the most part, the always -- nothas always -- the 21st century, they have involved private workers, contractors. we don't want marines who are trained to kill to be spending their time doing -- setting up tents. we will hire people to set up tents and have marines do the marine thing. in the 21st century, the u.s. is hiring corporate contractors to do the marine thing. military, but increasingly within ordinary
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citizenry, they would say, we owe something to these disabled veterans who deserve to be rehabilitated. actors, that was the will of the marketplace. they get paid a lot more. i don't know about what kind of insurance they have. i imagine it is quite good. today, one of the big issues tends to be that a lot of people in the u.s. military are saying, wait a minute. i'm only getting paid a couple hundred dollars, and we are doing the same thing. i think the rehabilitation will be private. i don't think it will be government-funded. they have been so successful at
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making inroads into the u.s. military and so successful at what was this clear-cut division between the citizen -- the and be private private mercenary. 20 years down the alert -- down the road, who knows he? we might be paying taxes for their rehabilitation. their corporate contract and private contract should distinguish them. the question should be, i think a lot of americans believe the u.s. has a moral duty, if you want to frame it that way, to rehabilitate those injured in war. a think many americans would say, yes, we do.
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>> i'm going to ask the last question. you talked about this dissociative attitude towards , making it easy to not see veterans. ly americaneculiar ll attitude, or does it exist elsewhere in the western world? >> i want to say it is a rly american attitude. i don't know. i haven't studied. i haven't done enough comparative work to say that with any sense of security. that said, i will plunge ahead and give my best guess.
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for the most part, i would say it is a peculiarly american attitude. it stems from the fact of, with the exception of the civil war and 9/11, most american war takes place over there, and that is why the phrase is so useful. ago, southle weeks carolina republican senator talking about was future attacks in north korea, and he said, if there is going to be a war, it's going to be over there. if you go to great britain, england, france, germany, japan, australia, the war took place here. not only did you have more injured bodies.
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civilians,e injured people who weren't even in the military. in the united states, if you are injured -- say you were injured in world war ii -- you might go to a hospital. if you were in europe, you might go to the hospital in britain. you might be there for months. because of troop transports, you might stay there. you might not get home for a year and a half since that moment of injury. a lot of time has gone by in terms of healing, experiencing the open wounds, and that sort of thing, but that is not the case in france. that is not the case in spring. these two oceans have buffered from so muchates of the violence of the wars it has taken part in. reason, and because of
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the civilian attacks, it would gauess that, strong the united states' attitude may be one of american exceptionalism. > will you join me in thanking john kinder for this conversation? a big thanks to all of you for joining this evening. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook @cspanhistory. ," tonight on "afterwards
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keith koffler on his book "bannon: always the rebel." he is interviewed by texas representative louie gohmert. >> you spent a lot of time with stephen bannon. you have heard his goals. you have talked about what he wants to do. what odds do you give him for being able to help reach those goals? you want me to be utterly honest or hopeful? i tend to agree with most of what he says. chance there is a decent . bannon believes that the electorate has already changed. the general election, trump was victorious, despite obvious flaws in trump -- he's not a perfect person, trump would admit that -- and despite a lot of controversy. thatbannon believes is
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already the longing for populism there.ionalism is he believes it is already victorious among the base. where it hasn't changed is in watch" afterwards" on c-span two's book tv. on the presidency, historian richard brookhiser addresses the question about george washington in 1777. could the british soap to -- subdue the rebels? actions inington's moments like this that ultimately led to his selection as the first american president. the new york historical society hosted this hour-long event. >>


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