Thursday, November 17, 2022

War As A Nonviolent Struggle: A conversation with Thomas Ricks

Not just here in America, but throughout the world, the forces of liberty are battling the forces of authoritarianism. These forces are global as well as local.

Here in America such battles played out after George Floyd’s death, and on January 6th, and we still don’t know what might happen between now and 2024. These are moral battles for the soul and future of the country.

But hopeless as it may sometimes seem, these kinds of "against the odds" battles have been won before. The Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and even the anti Vietnam war movement were both, in their own way, successful. But why and how were they successful and what lessons do they provide us in today’s moral battles?

The Civil Rights movement was framed as a nonviolent struggle. Yet baked into that nonviolence were methods, tactics, training and communication from which we can all go to school.

Few understand the context of the battlefield and the military better than Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Thomas Ricks. In his new book Waging a Good War: A Military History of the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1968 he details how the military tactics of the Civil Rights movement outshined even the US military.

My conversation with Tom Ricks: