This week in OtherWords, we’ve got a suite of veterans-themed pieces in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Iraq war vet Kevin Basl pushes back against the idea that it’s disrespectful to veterans to question U.S. wars. That’s what politicians want you to think, he argues. And Saurav Sarkar explains the concept of moral injury — the trauma that can result from doing things one regrets  and argues that if American soldiers have to feel it, the public should too.

Meanwhile, medical student Mark Luskus reports on some studies showing that VA care is the best care veterans can get, pushing back against calls to privatize veteran health care.

Finally, Jim Hightower tells the story of Smedley Butler, the retired general who famously argued that “war is a racket” — and less famously foiled a coup attempt by Wall Street millionaires against FDR.

Also this week, Sarah Anderson reports on some shocking new numbers showing the disparity between what CEOs and their employees make, and shows how that’s bad for business. Jill Richardson says it’s time for a more humane immigration debate. And Khalil Bendib imagines God sending back all those “thoughts and prayers” that follow mass shootings.

Finally, in a moving personal piece, Razan Azzarkani reflects on what it’s like as a Palestinian American — to watch the U.S. government support Israel’s mass shooting of Palestinian protesters in Gaza.


Khalil Bendib /

  1. Questioning War is a Civic Duty. Why Do So Few Do It? / Kevin Basl
    Politicians and businesses want you to think questioning war disrespects veterans like me. They’re wrong.
  2. Big Pay Gaps Are Bad for Business / Sarah Anderson
    Would you do your best work for a CEO who pulls in 5,000 times your own salary?
  3. Don’t Privatize Veterans’ Health Care / Mark Luskus
    Despite bad headlines, VA medical centers produce better health outcomes than for-profit facilities — and for less.
  4. America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel / Razan Azzarkani
    No words can describe the anger and anguish I feel as a Palestinian in America watching this unfold.
  5. War and Moral Injury / Saurav Sarkar
    Veterans often wrestle with the things they’ve done in war. When will ordinary Americans do the same?
  6. Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity / Jill Richardson
    We should be able to debate immigration policy without calling people “animals” or disparaging the poor.
  7. The Retired General Who Stopped a Wall Street Coup / Jim Hightower
    General Smedley Butler blew the whistle on a millionaire-led effort to oust FDR and the New Deal.
  8. Thoughts and Prayers: Denied / Khalil Bendib
    Maybe humans can try curbing gun violence themselves for a change.
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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and the editor of

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