New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Controlling Lucifer

February 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Politics, Robert C. Koehler

When We Think War Works, We’re Always Wrong

by Robert C. Koehler

The president negotiates our withdrawal from Afghanistan, proclaims mission accomplished — and the wars of the last decade continue winding down to nothing.

We’ll be leaving behind an unstable country with one of the world’s highest infant mortality rates and hundreds of armed insurgent groups. We haven’t rescued or rebuilt the country or accomplished any objective that begins to justify the human and financial cost of this adventure. We just lost.

But we’re the most powerful nation on the planet. How is that possible? And, as Tom Engelhardt asks, “Who exactly beat us? Where exactly is the triumphant enemy?”

He goes on, in an essay that ran recently on Common Dreams: “Did we in some bizarre fashion fight ourselves and lose? After all, last year, more American servicemen died from suicide than on the battlefield in Afghanistan; and a startling number of Americans were killed in ‘green on blue’ or ‘insider’ attacks by Afghan ‘allies’ rather than by that fragmented movement we still call the Taliban.” (more…)

Not Worth the Price

December 27, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Michael N. Nagler, Politics

Following Newtown, What We Can Do to Heed the Warnings

by Michael N. Nagler

The wisest man I had the privilege of knowing in my life once said, “There is no nation, no matter how powerful, that cannot be destroyed by hate.”

The latest tragedy — and I sincerely hope it will still be the latest when you read this — has been unparalleled in its violence. Because the true measure of violence is not in the body count but in the violation of the sacred life that we hold most dear, for example in our innocent children.  It has also been unusual in the confusion that still surrounds what exactly happened.  Like most of us, I at first found myself poring over the sketchy reports, trying to understand how it happened, to piece together the story.  But then I stopped. (more…)

American Paradox

December 20, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Robert C. Koehler

Something’s Wrong with the World — Can We Set It Right?

by Robert C. Koehler

“Evil visited this community today,” the governor of Connecticut said, though he might have been more accurate if he had quoted Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

This may be the hardest truth of all to swallow. But the point-blank murders of 27 people, including 20 small children as they sat in their classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School — in Newtown, Conn., as safe and secure as any community in the country — shattered, at least for some people, the illusion that all our troubles are out there, beyond our borders and our exceptionalism, and that safety requires heavily armed protection from an incomprehensible “other.”

In one of the safest communities in America, we couldn’t protect our 6-year-olds and our 7-year-olds, despite the fact that we have been waging a “war on evil” for the past decade-plus. (more…)

Stop the Violence

December 16, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, David Swanson, Politics

We Must Work for Peace if We Want It

by David Swanson

The troubled souls (generally known in the media as “monsters” and “lunatics”) who keep shooting up schools and shopping centers, believe they are solving deeper problems. We all know, of course, that in reality they are making things dramatically worse.

This is not an easy problem for us to solve. We could make it harder to obtain guns, and especially guns designed specifically for mass killings. We could take on the problem with our entertainment: we have movies, television shows, video games, books, and toys promoting killing as the way to fix what ails us. We could take on the problem of our news media: we have newspapers and broadcast chatterers promoting killing as a necessary tool of public policy. We could reverse the past 40 years of rising inequality, poverty, and plutocracy — a trend that correlates with violence in whatever country its found. (more…)

Dreaming of Duvets

November 07, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Culture, David Smith-Ferri, Family

Dreams of Peace Laying at Their Feet…

by David Smith-Ferri

“I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.” –– William Butler Yeats

Haroon has recurring dreams. Haroon whose father was killed when he was a boy and who remembers a gnawing hunger during the long winter in every year of his childhood. At night, he dreams that someone drops him from a great height. He freefalls through the air, crashes to hard ground, and dies. During the day, he dreams of relief from the anger and confusion that pursue him, and of being a photographer, a traveler.

Faiz, who lost his parents when he was a boy, and whose brother was shot and killed in front of him, has nightmares, too. Each night at the Afghan Peace Volunteer (APV) House here in Kabul, as he sleeps against the wall a few feet away, his moans and cries wake me. By day, he dreams of being a journalist, of marrying and raising a family, of a world without borders and war. (more…)

Enduring Occupation

October 24, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, David Smith-Ferri, Politics

Sunrise and Sunset in Afghanistan

by David Smith-Ferri

October 7, 2012, Kabul, Afghanistan — At 5:15 a.m., the main street outside the Afghan Peace Volunteer’s (APV) apartment is quiet, and the first weak rays of gray light filter down through dusty, polluted air. In the distance, the hulking brown mountains circling the Kabuli plain emerge ominously from darkness. After yesterday’s dust storm, a thin brown film covers everything: windows, the shop stall roofs where children fly kites in the evening, bicycle seats, burlap sacks protecting fruit and vegetable displays, doorknobs, throats, the leaves of trees. Early bicyclists and pedestrians make their way. A man pushes a wheelbarrow, and a black horse pulls a hooded rider and an empty wooden cart. Twenty minutes later, the first street vendors appear, blowing on their hands in the cold, and seating themselves on stools. They sit directly across from our apartment, and lift handfuls of thick, peeled carrots out of 40 kg. sacks. Hunched over, they grate the carrots into two rising, orange pyramids. All day, among the pervasive grays and browns and blacks of this neighborhood, these mounds of carrots are sunrise and sunset on the main drag. (more…)

Stop Fighting

September 11, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Guest Author, Kathy Kelly, Politics

‘Two Million Friends’ and a Ceasefire in Afghanistan

by Kathy Kelly and Hakim

“Stop fighting,” suggests Farzana, a brave 22 year old Afghan stage actress.

Significantly, her statement is in sharp contrast to what seems to be the democratic world’s unquestioned modus operandi of today, exemplified by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s pet-phrase for Afghanistan, ‘Fight, talk and build.’

What Farzana and the Afghan Peace Volunteers are sensibly suggesting is a ceasefire.

A ceasefire, like the ceasefire called for in Kofi Annan’s Six Point Peace Plan for Syria which Farzana and the Afghan Peace Volunteers also supported, is a first step towards ending the equally sectarian war and incendiary global politicking in Afghanistan. (more…)