'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A Pacifist Who Means Business 

This week eight US soldiers sued the Pentagon for breach of contract, challenging the so-called “stop-loss” program in which soldiers are forced to serve in Iraq beyond their terms of enlistment (see here). I caught a little of the press conference on Monday -- I think it was on CNN -- and was pleasantly surprised to recognize one of those involved ... The lawyer for the eight soldiers is none other than Staughton Lynd.

If you've never heard of Staughton Lynd perhaps the best way I can describe him is by stealing Tom Hayden's line from all the David Dellinger obituaries last spring and say that Lynd is a pacifist who means business. He is one of the greatest living American leftists and has had his hand in most of the big battles of the past forty years: civil rights and the Vietnam War in the 60's; workers' rights, railing against shutdowns in the rust belt and fighting for community ownership of steel mills in the 70's and the 80's; and now prisoners' rights, Palestinian liberation, and apparently the rights of soldiers in another immoral war. Here's a bio.

Anyway, it was nice to see him on TV...

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