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Veterans Day Speaker Critiques U.S. Foreign Policy

“Stan Goff is unique among veterans in that he is now willing to be critical of his own military past, largely because of his more recent commitment to Christianity.” — Kate Blanchard.

Stan Goff, a retired veteran, author and anti-war activist, gives Alma College’s annual Veterans Day talk at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8 in the Dunning Memorial Chapel.

Goff, described as a Christian pacifist and strong critic of U.S. foreign policy, will discuss “Liturgy of the Nation: Elections and Veterans Days.” Admission is free and open to the public.

<em>Book cover: "Hideous Dreams"</em> Book cover: "Hideous Dreams"‘Was It Really Worth It?’

“Stan Goff is unique among veterans in that he is now willing to be critical of his own military past, largely because of his more recent commitment to Christianity,” says Kate Blanchard, associate professor of religious studies at Alma College. “He served his country faithfully in Vietnam and Somalia, but now that he looks back on it all, he’s asking out loud whether it was really worth it.”

Critical of the military long before his Christian baptism, Goff became a pacifist as a result of baptism, says Blanchard.

“He also has found himself radically changed in recent years by feminism,” she says. “Especially at the climax of a presidential election where gender questions have figured so prominently, I think the audience will find his talk very timely.”

Goff joined the Army in 1970 and served in Vietnam, Guatemala, Grenada, El Salvador, Peru, Colombia, Somalia and Haiti. He retired in 1996 as a Special Forces Master Sergeant. He recounts his Latin American experiences in his 2000 book, Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the U.S. Invasion of Haiti.

Book Topics: The Military, Feminism, Energy

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Goff was active as a speaker against an invasion of Iraq. His 2003 article, “Bring ‘Em On?” compared the Iraq war to his experience in Vietnam. The article led to the formation, with other veterans and activists, of the organization Bring Them Home Now. He later critiqued U.S. foreign policy in his 2004 book, Full Spectrum Disorder: The Military in the New American Century.

Goff’s examination of feminism, particularly how it relates to war, resulted in his book Sex and War (2006), and he published a  compilation of essays called Energy War in 2007. His latest book is Borderline: Reflections on War, Sex and Church (2015).

Story published on October 18, 2016