Ira Chernus

Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of Mythic America: Essays and American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea. He blogs at

Articles by this author

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 - 12:30pm
America's New Vietnam in the Middle East
It was half a century ago, but I still remember it vividly. “We have to help South Vietnam,” I explained. “It’s a sovereign nation being invaded by another nation, North Vietnam.” “No, no,” my friend protested. “There’s just one Vietnam, from north to south, divided artificially. It’s a civil war...
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015 - 11:15am
America’s Reckless War Against Evil
Oh, no! Not another American war against evil! This time, it’s the Islamic State (IS). After the attacks in Paris, Barack Obama, spokesman-in-chief for the United States of America, called that crew “the face of evil.” Shades of George W. Bush. The “evildoers” are back. And from every mountaintop,...
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Friday, September 26, 2014 - 11:45am
Don’t Blame Climate Change Deniers
The old joke, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it," is no laughing matter any more. It's dead serious. Yet the United States seems politically paralyzed on this most vital issue. It's easy to blame the climate change deniers. But it's wrong. In Gallup's most recent...
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Israeli Air Force bombing in Gaza this week. (photo: flickr / cc / Basel Yazouri) Views
Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 9:15am
Israel's Strategy and America's Mythology
Bombs are falling and people are dying in Gaza. It's headline news in America's mass media. As usual, though, we get only today's events, with no historical context to explain what's really going on and why. The crucial piece of history our mass media ignore is that one basic principle has always...
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President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his remarks to U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Bagram, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Views
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 7:15am
"Iraq" Is Still Arabic for "Vietnam"
When George W. Bush and the neocons launched their war in Iraq, critics coined the slogan, "'Iraq' is Arabic for 'Vietnam.'" The point was obvious: Another long quagmire of a war in an inhospitable foreign land would lead once again to nothing but death, suffering, and defeat for America. That was...
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(Credit: flickr / cc / Deepwarren) Views
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 7:30am
Mental Health vs. Gun Control: A Devil’s Bargain
The tragic death of seven young people in Isla Vista, CA, has sparked renewed calls for gun control, as everyone expected. Less expected: Republicans in the House are leading a push for a well-funded federal program to give a broad range of new services to Americans with serious mental illness...
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A.R. Waud. From Harper's Weekly, July 25, 1868. Views
Friday, June 6, 2014 - 1:45pm
A Civil War Myth That Hurts Us All
Why are so many Americans woefully ignorant of their nation's history? That perennial question is raised yet again by Timothy Egan in his latest column on the New York Times website. To prove that the problem is real, Egan cites two pieces of evidence. The first one surely is cause for concern: "a...
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(Image: flickr/cc/Pete Bellis) Views
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 9:00am
9/11 Museum Stirs Memories... and Protest
Memories of old conflicts often spark new conflicts. So it's no surprise that there's controversy swirling around the National September 11 Memorial Museum , due to open on May 21 , rising from the ashes of the fallen World Trade Center. The Museum will offer visitors a short video about another...
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Beit Iba Checkpoint in the Occupied West Bank. (Photo: Flickr / cc / Kashfi Halford) Views
Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 7:00am
Americans Still Blind to Israel’s Domination of Palestine
When Stephen Colbert looks at people he doesn't see skin color. He treats everyone equally because everyone is equally white to him. In the same way, Joseph Kahn, foreign editor of the New York Times , sees no difference between Israelis and Palestinians. When it comes to covering the U.S. -...
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Photo: Beshr O/cc/flickr Views
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 8:30am
Americans Have Stopped Looking for Another Hitler
U.S. foreign policy hawks once had an unbeatable trump card: the Hitler analogy. Just convince most Americans to see the leader of any nation as another Hitler, and it was easy to get public support to "get tough," show "will and resolve," and even go to war. Serbia's Milosevich, Iraq's Saddam...
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