SocraticGadfly: 5/14/23 - 5/21/23

May 19, 2023

Did they really live as long as us in antiquity?

The statement is often made, in some form or another, that if you throw out childhood diseases (and greater maternal pregnancy risks), the ancients did indeed live as long as we do.

And, it's easy to point to a Socrates (70), Plato (either 75 or 80) or Aristotle (only 62) as proof, or even a Cicero who hit 63 before his murder. Or, at the end of antiquity, Augustine hitting 75.

But, there's logical fallacies and other issues behind that.

First is availability bias or similar, obviously.

Second, also obviously, is small sample size on top of that.

Third is questions of adequate representation.

I just listed three philosophers and a politician-philosopher.

To the degree we can project today's classes back to the past? All would be considered "upper middle class." Or higher. All had leisure. All had the service of servants, slaves or both.

The reality?

Compound fractures or deep cuts always ran the risk of inducing blood poisoning. It might not always be lethal, but could be.

Even without that, compound fractures were usually poorly set back then. For a poor free wage laborer, that would leave one dependent to some degree on others for help. For a slave, it might well mean death.

Many cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma, treatable if not even curable today, hit in middle age, even early middle age. They were a death sentence in antiquity.

Tooth decay? Dental caries? To the degree we know it appears to contribute to body-wide inflammation, let alone affecting eating and digestion, it would have lopped a few years, at least, off the lives of many. 

Plagues? The one during Marcus Aurelius' reign devastated Antioch. "Childhood diseases" (this plague was possibly measles, but we're not sure, smallpox is also possible) weren't limited to childhood. The Plague of Justinian, the first occurrence of bubonic plague, wreaked havoc. As for claims these were intermittent and shouldn't totally count? Wrong? The Plague of Justinian was part of a multi-century First Plague Pandemic. That was followed by the Second Plague Pandemic, of three centuries from the Black Death through the Great Plague of London. A much shorter Third Pandemic hit mainly East and South Asia.

My Bayesian guess? Probably half the population that made it past 21 2,000 or more years ago did not make it past 50.

May 18, 2023

Florida book ban lawsuit looks fun, but likely full of trouble

Escambia County Schools (that's Pensacola, Panhandle, Redneck Riviera) is being sued by the big book publishers plus PEN for various book bans. The lawsuit looks fun. Winnable? Different.

First? Gotta loovvveee school board member Bill Slayton:

"We have been removing books that have been called inappropriate, pornography," he said. "I guess I'm a little surprised because this is going on all over the state of Florida, not just here. My reaction is our procedures are following what we have been told we have to do."

Sounds like Nazis' version of "just following orders."

Winnable? Different story.

This sounds great:

Suzanne Nossel, the CEO of PEN America, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said in a statement the freedom to read “is guaranteed by the constitution.”

But, the Supreme Court has in the past said the First Amendment doesn't fully extend to children. Hazelwood is one example, a ruling tightened in Morse, the famous "Bong hits for Jesus" case. OTOH, by denying cert, the Court let stand the Guiles ruling, which indirectly and partially goes against. It's also said the right to an education is not fundamental.

The Fourteenth Amendment grounds might sound better, but there again, there's the school in loco parentis.

Deconstructing Sarah Fay

Cliches become well-used before they get known as clichéd for good reason: They express near-universal truths, to venture into the land of clichés. And, the best of them never become hackneyed.

With that? 

"Trying to have one's cake and eat it too" is the best I can think of on Sarah Fay's attacks on the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the "bible" of counseling psychology and psychiatry, in her books "Pathologized" and "Cured." Hers is not by any means the first such attack; indeed, as noted on my Goodreads review of "Pathologized," which expanded to cover both books when I noted, via her website, that "Cured" is being published for free reading (in part?) in Victorian-type serialization on Substack installments, (See near the end for specific takes on specific chapters.) I long ago wrote a long, detailed blog post about Asperger's being "schizold disorder of childhood" until DSM-IV.

Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses

Pathological: The True Story of Six Misdiagnoses by Sarah Fay
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is kind of a hard book to rate. Or, it was, until I hit Fay's website and became more agog at what I read.

I will spell out in more detail, wrapping up with heading back to selected portions of the review, how it earned that 2-star rating, including warnings to readers of this book or her in-progress sequel, "Cured."

Hers is also not the only attack on the pharmaceutical industry in general and its psychotropic wing in particular.

That said, despite some Overton window shifting in her referencing a "recovery model" of mental illness, she seems to not only accept the need for such medications for herself, but to accept such need willingly, not grudgingly.

Just one problem. Such medications are prescribed based on a mental illness diagnosis. Such diagnoses are based on mental illnesses mentioned in the DSM, however imperfect it may be. To want such medications without accepting an accompanying diagnosis? More specifically, to want a doctor to prescribe without offering an accompanying diagnosis? That is essentially asking a doctor to commit medical malpractice.

If this is not the impression you intended? You've got a Ph.D. in English, creative writing or similar. I suggest you contact yourself or your editor if that's not the impression you planned. But, you can't have your cake and eat it.

Fay's story has other issues, some about her story, and some about her understanding of psychological counseling. The calls of her, and other people, for patient centered counseling?

Has she, and have they, never heard of Carl Rogers and his client-centered approach? It's like she (and others whose shoulders she stands on) are reinventing the fucking wheel. "Pathologized" never mentions his name, nor do the parts of "Cured" already available for reading. I would have checked the anti-DSM website of hers listed on the dust cover, but? It's expired. (Also interesting.) She loses claims to credibility right there. It's not entirely her fault; the therapy world today seems to be "meds here, cognitive behavioral therapy there." Other counseling modalities (she does mention dialectical behavioral therapy once) get ignored. Group therapy, gestalt, etc? Not mentioned. The broader humanistic psychology (which does not generally include gestalt) also ignored. Not all elements of humanistic psychology work well with more serious mental illness, even when medications come first. Nonetheless, for neurotic-level depression, alone or with hypomania, neurotic-level anxiety and other issues? It can be very good. 

As for patient involvement in general? Did you really not get involved in dialogue about your medications for 20 years or whatever? That may be something symptomatic of women's treatment in mental health. If it is, you really didn't discuss it, even as a couple of Goodreads reviewers noted this, race, etc., have long been "problematic." On the other hand, you mention at least one female psych and other female counselors. If not asking questions for 20 years reflects other obsequiousness to authority? That's not a mental health problem but it may be a personal development one.

Otherwise, what the new "recovery model" focuses on in one way is also just like the old humanistic psychology, and can be summed up in one word, a word I nowhere see in Fay's writing: "acceptance." It's that simple.

Then, there was her reply to me on Substack. She said "Cured" "isn't an advice book, it's a memoir." The two aren't mutually exclusive. "Pathologized" is a memoir, but it has an epilogue, which most memoirs do not, and that epilogue is very much an advice book.

I also found interesting that the circle wasn't closed in "Pathologized." Fay, if not full-on anorexic, had some sort of eating disorder as an adolescent, during the run-up and through her parents' divorce. Relations as an adult seem somewhat strained with her mom at times and more so with her dad before in the end of the book, she seems to indicate all is hunky-dory with both. But, she never talks, even in generalities, about how that happened, given that the relationship was clearly "distanced" per later parts of the book. And, at the same time, after her parents split, during high school, she bounced back and forth between them. Color me skeptical. She also talks about the "murky pit" already in the first chapter. That may not quite be Churchill's "black dog," but it sure sounds similar. So, two of the six misdiagnoses she alleges don't seem to be misdiagnoses.

That's even more true when one reads her essay "On Suicidal Ideation". "Interestingly" (that's scare quotes, Sarah) much of its material did NOT make it into "Pathologized." That includes not only details of the frequency of her ideation, but that she had a less hateful take on the DSM. And, that's not ancient history. It's 2019, and "Pathologized" went to press in 2022 and was surely in writing a full year or more before that.

And, while not a counselor myself, she strikes me as a "highly sensitive person," not just in the sense of the book of that name, but more. She seems to have a highly developed sense of interoception, which in turn then would influence her high emotional sensitivity. None of that is either good or bad; it simply is. That said, it should be noted that interoception that is off the norm is associated with many mental illnesses.

And, with that, on to extracts from my Goodreads review.

Near the end of the book, Fay does slightly nuance her diatribe against the DSM, and against mental health diagnoses.

I give you the last two sentences of the Epilogue:
Before you accept a DSM diagnosis, pause. That doesn't mean you don't seek treatment or take medication or ultimately decide that having a diagnosis, no matter how tenuous (at least for now), serves you, but you do so knowing the truth.

Sadly, especially given my further digging around, it's too bad those words weren't in the first two sentences of the Prologue or Introduction.

That said, she's more close to right on the DSM, and the DSM's evolution, than many 3-star reviewers give her credit for. On the other hand, that has to be seen in light of her suicidal ideation essay, which frankly raises questions of "why the shift."

Beyond the DSM, although she doesn't go into it a lot, she's right as rain, including her own experience, of too many doctors still peddling too many benzos for anxiety. Or antipsychotics. Anti-depressants are another option (especially if used in low doses with talk therapy).

She doesn't square the circle with her opening chapter. Whether she had full-blown anorexia or not, she had some sort of eating disorder that appears to have been in part a reaction to her parents' divorce. And, while she says she's got a good relationship with her dad at the end of the book, she never talks, even in generalities, about how that happened, given that the relationship was clearly "distanced" per later parts of the book. And, at the same time, after her parents split, during high school, she bounced back and forth between them. She also refers to the "murky pit" in the opening chapter, which sounds like depression to me. And, wanting to stay on an SSRI, plus the suicidal ideation, would certainly point to that.

So, that would mean that a minimum of two of her six diagnoses weren't wrong. They may have been partial, or incomplete, but they weren't wrong. That's even more true when one reads her essay "On Suicidal Ideation." "Interestingly" (that's scare quotes, Sarah) much of its material did NOT make it into "Pathologized," though the essay is referenced.

Now, more of a review of "Cured."

And, guess what, Sarah? Your diatribe against group therapy lost you another star, and gets a "recommend against further reading" as part of this review. (In a reply to me, she claimed she wasn't "dissing" group therapy; I differ, without begging.) In the words of scientific skepticism, you've now clearly ventured into "n=1" territory. And, you could be contributing to someone else's mental harm, not cure. Also, her chapter on recovery models of therapy comes off as glib:

Psychiatric “symptoms” like depression and lack of interest and anxiety and ruminations are part of the human condition—even psychosis. (I used to think psychosis was different but as someone I know who hears voices explained, “Ever had a song stuck in your head? That’s not the same, but it gives you an idea.”)

The chapter after the one dissing group therapy has two issues. First, "Staying on the Course" is largely a recycle plus some expansion from this book. And, she talks about Patricia Deegan being "healed" from schizophrenia. Deegan talks about "recovered," but I'm not sure she would use the word "healed." She uses the word "heal" for herself in Chapter 9, and it again seems clear that this is NOT "cure" as in the Latin root meaning "care," as she says in this book, but ... "cure."

And, Fay undercuts herself on this:

As she healed from schizophrenia, Deegan developed her own personal medicine: “Medications were just one tool in an entire set of recovery tools I slowly pulled together for myself. I built my recovery toolkit over time, intuitively, and without even having heard the word ‘recovery.’”

Time after time, it's shape-shifting from her on the issue of medications. Or? Whether better or worse, the political phrase: Overton window shifting. She'll imply or insinuate that recovery models of mental illness somehow move beyond medications .... until there they are! And, why are they there? Because of a diagnosis.

What does Fay want from her movement, anyway? If it's to be "more than a label," I think she's tilting at windmills. I don't think the majority of mental health patients, and certainly not the majority of less severe ones, identify themselves as a label. And, if she really accepted much of her psychs' advice passively for years? See above, about humanistic and client-centered therapy. I am halfway dumbfounded at this.

As for labels, and "healing"? In both schizophrenia, and in chronic depression, and in both sides of bipolar, etc., symptoms can flare up and die down. That doesn't mean the underlying condition has gone away. Happens in some physical ailments, too, like multiple sclerosis, and nobody but a sicko or a self-delusional person would talk about being "healed" from MS.

If a mix of relabeling and refocusing helps Sarah Fay, more power to her. But, this isn't magic. Nor, as I risk moving from skepticism to cynicism, is this about being a "brand." Stopping short of cynicism, there's intellectual dishonesty toward the public, and maybe toward herself, in not describing the "shift" between her state of mind at the time of the suicidal ideation essay and the start of writing "Pathologized" two years later. 

My guess on that, again at the risk of moving beyond skepticism to cynicism, or at least as being perceived as doing such? I think that some time in that two-year gap she became converted to the "recovery model" of mental illness and mental health and then became an evangelist. And, I use "converted" and "evangelist" quite deliberately. (Sidebar: I don't like the descriptor "recovery model" as it sounds too much like addiction and sobriety, where recovery generally means something quite different. It may be riffing on AA's "daily reprieve" statement, but still, beyond that, there's not a lot of parallels in the details. Sidebar 2: I could have riffed further on conversion into conversion disorder ...)

And, given that both her books are advice books as well as memoirs, and knowing there are better, more scientifically grounded, yet still personally focused, critiques of the DSM, I write this in fear that she could, with some of what she says, be a danger to others as well as being some degree of hypocrite, as I see it. On the danger part? I, along with a couple of reviewers who specifically mentioned this, wonder if some readers didn't get halfway through "Pathologized" and think they could just toss their pills. Or, per "Cured," pills or no, people thinking that schizophrenia can be cured.


Side note: The punctuation part of the book, trying to riff that into the different diagnoses, seemed forced. That said, it perhaps emphasizes that the rest of the book is split, per the "splitting" that Fay talks about in herself but never describes in detail (lest she get a dissociative identity disorder diagnosis?) between memoir that could have been better yet if more fleshed out, and the lurking anti-DSM screed.

View all my reviews

May 17, 2023

Bryan Slaton: just another day at the Southern Baptist Convention

A state House committee found Bryan Slaton did have sex with an intern early this month and eventually unanimously expelled him.
That second link notes that he was a former Baptist youth pastor for more than a decade, I wonder if this was the first virgin he deflowered. Or even "just" the second. Or third. And ditto for getting them blotto drunk as part of that.
So, where is the Southern Baptist Convention in all of this?
Apparently, twiddling its thumbs, and apparently, likely to continue to do so.
Per a freelance PR guy who mass-blasts Texas newspapers, it's not like the SBC's sheets on this issue are a hell of a lot cleaner than those of Rome. He references this story by the Daily Mail, with a long quote tweet, which I shall break up into parts, starting with this:
Southern Baptist congregations shed nearly half a million members in 2022, the denomination's biggest one-year loss in more than a century, amid a damaging sex abuse scandal, new data show. Research from Lifeway Christian Resources shows that America's biggest Protestant and second-biggest Christian denomination lost 457,371 members to end the year with some 13.2 million members.
The Mail notes that part of the decline is due to the rise of the Nones, but much of it is due to the scandal within the scandal, namely the SBC's refusal to address the sex-abuse scandal.

First, the percentages? That's 3.5 percent in a year. Second, other  context? Yes, it's a fundagelical church, but it's also a mainline, or mainline-ish, denominational church. And, its grown had been declining for 15  years, per the chart at the piece.

The SBC hierarchy is probably afraid that clamping down on the problem might drive out more buck-passing old-timers.

And, losing other members, even while downplaying the losses, and ignoring the members who say this is why they left:
Scott McConnell, director of (Lifeway), which worked with SBC on the study, downplayed the losses, saying that many of last year's lost members had actually dropped out years ago and 'record keeping is finally catching up.' 
But on social media, former churchgoers posted about the declined, saying they were driven away by church leaders and its executive committee failing members by mishandling sexual abuse cases and mistreating victims and survivors. 
'The SBC still have not answered for this,' said a Pennsylvania-based Twitter user called Paul Young, who could not be verified. 
'That is why I left.'
There you go.
The shamelessness isn't limited to Slayton himself and the SBC, though, per this new site riffing on Texas Scorecard. Seriously, click that link, which I saw via Chris Tomlinson. Mucus, Christofascist Tim Dunn, nutbar-squared talking head Luke Macias, and, natch, Former Fetus Forever Fuckwad Jonathan Stickland all come out as being as morally loathsome as Slaton. My one business email account got signed up for Macias' blasts and I referenced that as well as tagging him on Twitter. Crickets. I also said on Twitter that he looked like Mucus' bastard love child.


Texas Progressives talk Ukraine, Lege calendar, more

For Blue MAGA who just can't understand why Warmonger Joe is so unpopular, even as inflation (starts to) decline? Try this great Pro Publica piece on tire inflation. Especially since tires continue to climb in price, and since it's not all about supply chain issues, but over things like carbon black, is connected to the Russia-Ukraine war, just maybe your eyes will be opened.

(That's all as Pope Francis prays for peace while Zelensky rejects that, but Z himself admits that long-touted counteroffensive, at least right now, isn't going to be all that.

SocraticGadfly read carefully world-renowned UT economist James K. Galbreath's new paper that notes sanctions often aren't crushing Russia but are even helping it at times, and discussed in detail how well he marshals his evidence, along with additional corroboration.

And with that, off to the rest of the Roundup:


Post-James O'Keefe, Project Veritas is still Project Veritas, as it is reportedly behind Kenny Boy's investigation of Dell Children's in Austin

Poor Strangeabbott and DPS head Steve McCraw. The DPS had to stop sending unwanted state cops to Austin so it could send unwanted cops to the border to once again slow down truckers. Let's not forget that regurgitated, returned, neoliberal Austin mayor Kirk Watson invited McCraw even though most the city council didn't want him.

Will the House really fight the Senate on tenure and DEI issues? Too bad Dems aren't talking about another D: Divestment.

Wingnuts in the Texas GOP hate on renewable energy even though it hugely benefits many of their constituencies. Surprisingly, that was Russell Gold that wrote that.

Battles over alleged, though not actual, "wokeness," have hit the staid TSHA.

Off the Kuff has closely followed the Dallas ransomware story.

Many bills hit the calendar deadline last Friday. Here's a look at some.

Sports gambling coming to Tex-ass? Maybe, but casino gambling is dead.

Yes, it's unconstitutional by SCOTUS ruling. (These days.) A full 20 years after the Lawrence ruling, Texas Dems finally got a bill to repeal Texas law on the House floor but ran out of time.

Others that ran out of time are at that link.

Andrea Grimes plumbs the depths of the dominant gun-loving culture. 

In The Pink also has some thoughts about guns in our state.  

Robert Rivard can hardly keep track of what mass shooting we're supposed to be praying about now.

Robert Moore reviews a book that tells the story of former Nazi scientists living in El Paso and how their children received a better education than the children of color that were already there.  

Texas 2036 looks at legislation that could help alleviate medical debt. 

The Austin Chronicle reports on the (as of the weekend) forthcoming strike at the Austin American-Statesman.  

May 16, 2023

The Texas Lege and a season of mass murder, capped by Allen (for now)

You read that right.

First, thank doorknobs in some ways for the Texas House's calendar deadline and its having billls that ran out of time? Shockingly, the House didn't vote to legalize sawed-off shotguns. Fortunately, reciprocal gun licenses and school marshals with open carry also died. Sadly, on gunz, the move to raise the age to purchase semi-autos to 21 also died.

Vis-a-vis the semi-autos, and other gunz issues, CD Hooks reminds us there have been EIGHTEEN mass shootings since the start of the Lege, AND that, like at Uvalde, Strangeabbott has made up shit about at least one of them. 

That's the season of mass murder.

And, it's still being politicized.

The Allen shooting. Two memorial services. Two different churches. Politicizes vs non-politicized. The Observer (still purity-testing ads free) has the details.

People's CDC types like Pat the Berner wrongly hating on Biden

Yes, he has officially ended the COVID state of emergency.

Guess what, Pat the Berner, to call out somebody by name, and other People's CDC and fellow traveler dudebros and dudettes? (If you're not an actual People's CDC "type," you ARE fellow travelers, in the tankie-type sense.)

Per Worldometers, or the actual CDC (quelle horreur!) other sites, there IS NO FUCKING COVID EMERGENCY.

If you want to hate on Biden for kowtowing to Big Pharma on patents and $$$? I'm there. If you want to join me in calling out his adminstration for not having non-mRNA boosters? Join me. (Maybe you haven't yet.)

If you're not a fellator of the Pergressive Cucks, including AOC, on US-NATO warmongering by proxy, call him out for being a warmonger on Russia-Ukraine. (If you ARE a fellator and won't call him out [Pat may be] then get off my lawn.) Ditto on calling him out for being a friend of Bibi.

Hate on him for a likely, and likely secretely desired, kowtow to Kevin McCarthy on the debt ceiling. You bet your bippy. 

Hate on him for not effectively abolishing the federal death penalty, per Counterpunch? Most certainly.

But, on this? You're wrong. Or, Not.Even.Wrong. We're now down to about 250 deaths a week. Or, for a full year, half of what a moderate flu season kills in just the flu season, or one-quarter of a bad flu season.

If you want Basic Income? Advocate for it in general, not because of COVID. (And don't do Scott Santens' version.) If you want national health care? Join me in going one better, beyond Physicians for a National Health Plan's capitalist-based, fee-for-service retaining system and push for the US to adopt a British-style NHS. But, again, not just because of COVID.

I'm not ready, not quite yet, to start blocking some of you on Twitter. I am ready to start muting, even if you're following me and/or vice versa. Not that I'm a huge whoop on Twitter, but, I do have some guiding principles.

Follow the science. I'm reminded of the portion of Greens who say that on climate change and then are antivaxxers.

May 15, 2023

Draft vs volunteer army: A political football

At least, a political football between the two duopoly parties, largely dependent on whose occupying the White House and what war they might be mongering.

I got sucked into a Twitter discussion last week when an apparent typical Blue Anon, Brynn Tannehill, (whose bio and even more, whose linked blog, seem to support that) quote tweeted nutter Brigitte Gabriel, who pushed for bringing back the draft. 

Now, I know why Gabriel did that; with her, calling this a political football rather than a troll would be too nice.

But that back story? True, or true with one half of the political football. 

IIRC, way back in BushCo, some more liberal minority (ethnic, not out of power minority) Democrats in the House broached the issue of reviving the draft. They got little support, to the degree they voiced it since the 2006 midterms, and after the big swing, it pretty much went away.

That said, among professional-class Democrats, I think minority ones, and I know whites, dislike for the draft is probably about the same as with non-trolling GOP comrades of the same class level. 

Now, to Tannehill.

First, Tannehill does NOT mention Option 3 of universal service. Why not? IMO, because the neoliberal Democratic ruling class dislikes that almost as much as the draft. And, the second person beyond the original group to jump on the thread claims that national service would have the same loopholes as the draft. Not if it actually IS "universal." You can, just like Shrub Bush's alleged cocaine-dodging, be sent to work at an inner-city (Houston or elsewhere) social services center. And, her claim, and others, that it would be gamed? The same claim is made by good old neoliber Conor Friedersdorf. Shock me. That said, per that link, Champagne Charlie Rangel's idea of national service is not mine. He thought that if you weren't in the military, you should be in military-related national service. I personally reject that as an issue of militarization, and also in support of conscientious objectors.

Second, she thinks My Lai is her ace in the hole. I said Abu Ghraib trumps that, and one Blue Anon fellow traveler, the first in line jumped on my for saying I thought it was worse. No, and I told him I used "trumps" because I inferred she was implying that volunteers didn't do that. Besides, in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as I told the dood (who didn't respond) that we committed other war crimes in both countries that involved outright killing of civilians, just like in Vietnam. Period and end of story. That guy may have shut up because he claimed I could only have said that because I was born after 9/11 and had a dumb take, to which I responded that I grew up in the 70s and my oldest brother was just a year or so short of draft age when Nixon ended it. 

Third, my first interlocutor in various ways tried to claim all-vol armies show their superiority. I said the US hadn't been seriously tested since Nam. He shifted to Argentina-UK, at which point I showed him how much help the US gave Britain, as also detailed here. He admitted he didn't know that, and yes, that was a massive thumb on the scale, though he wouldn't admit that. Then, on my use of the word duopoly, said he's from Europe. By what he retweets, he's British, not continental. And, that would explain his opposition to universal service. The UK, like the US, has an all-volunteer military, with no universal service.

Fourth, he ignores, or may not know, and Tannehill most certainly DOES know, how at the height of the Iraq War, the Army lowered its standards and let in a lot of gangbangers to meet recruitment needs. True, in the draft days, the old "enlist or go to jail" sentence from a local judge might have caused the same, but in a non-volunteer army, it was, IMO, easier to "sit on" such people.

I later asked him, saying I guessed he was British, what his take was on Jezza Corbyn. He didn't respond. Shock me.

In the bigger picture, this whole issue was touched on in Paths of Dissent. But, only touched on.

Paths of Dissent: Soldiers Speak Out Against America's Misguided Wars

Paths of Dissent: Soldiers Speak Out Against America's Misguided Wars by Andrew Bacevich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not bad but not quite fantastic.

Biggest takeaways from the individual chapters?

1. Only 7 percent of today's America is veterans vs around 50 percent after the Civil War and after WWII. Hence the disconnect of "support the troops" while not actually caring to ask what that really should mean. (Update: One or two of the essays touch on the issue of bringing back the draft, either by itself, or as part of a larger universal service program, but this wasn't a focus for most, whether grunts or officers, short-termers or careerists.)


5. It would have been nice for the editors to have had a bigger analysis-driven conclusion. No nation-building was implied, but Bacevich didn't touch on flyspeck military missions, delve further into the draft issue or general military-civilian separation, etc.

View all my reviews