Scott Horton Interviews John Feffer

Scott Horton, September 10, 2009

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John Feffer, co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus, discusses a Jeffersonian-era U.S. navy suicide attack against Barbary pirates, the Western tradition of self-sacrifice for a “greater good,” how suicide attacks are usually a desperate tactic taken against foreign occupation and not exclusive to Islam and the inability of Western claims of moral superiority to withstand scrutiny.

MP3 here. (24:18)

John Feffer is co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies.

He is the author of several books and numerous articles. He has been a Writing Fellow at Provisions Library in Washington, DC and a PanTech fellow in Korean Studies at Stanford University. He is a former associate editor of World Policy Journal. He has worked as an international affairs representative in Eastern Europe and East Asia for the American Friends Service Committee. He has studied in England and Russia, lived in Poland and Japan, and traveled widely throughout Europe and Asia. He has taught a graduate level course on international conflict at Sungkonghoe University in Seoul in July 2001 and delivered lectures at a variety of academic institutions including New York University, Hofstra, Union College, Cornell University, and Sofia University (Tokyo).

John has been widely interviewed in print and on radio. He serves on the advisory committees of the Alliance of Scholars Concerned about Korea. He is a recipient of the Herbert W. Scoville fellowship and has been a writer in residence at Blue Mountain Center and the Wurlitzer Foundation. He currently lives with his partner Karin Lee in Hyattsville, Maryland.

7 Responses to “John Feffer”

  1. This clip is only 18 seconds long!

  2. Confirming truncated clip. I should like to hear the interview if the clip can be replaced. In any case, thanks for all.

  3. D'oh!

    Fixed now.

    –scott

  4. (I got it all on iTunes.)

    How often have we heard the line: "Muslims are all whackos because some of them do suicide missions and 'Christians' would never do such a thing".

    Three words for anybody who buys that crock of BS…World War One.

    Here in Australia we have made a cult of venerating young men who went on suicide missions, from the Boer War to Vietnam. Give 'em a posthumous Victoria Cross, name a picnic area after them and call them 'national heroes'.

  5. There are some great suicide attack stories from the Revolutionary War in Carl Carmer’s book The Hudson. The farm boys from the Hudson valley would douse their sloops in turpentine, sail up to the British warships anchored in the Hudson and then set fire to themselves and hopefully the British ships. One of the most successful suicide attacks was in mid August of 1776 when Ensign Thomas set fire to and destroyed the Charlotta in the Tappan Zee (see p 109) – and died in the attack. Classic guerilla tactics…

  6. I meant to mention, as Feffer did in his article, that Amazon.com sells a couple dozen different episodes of History Channel specials on heroic American suicide missions. It's called Suicide Missions.

  7. Thanks for fixing it Scott! Great job, keep up the good work!

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