Howard Zinn was an active and vocal opponent of the Vietnam War.  He brings insight, like Noam Chomsky, to the issues that our liberal societies won’t acknowledge.   The diffusion of Personal responsibility – and no, not the ‘personal responsibility’ (bootstraps!?!!!!) wielded by the corporatist right to bludgeon the poor, but actual personal responsibility is what is being discussed in the quote.  It happens all to often when it comes to how we react to the actions taken in our stead by our government.

“I didn’t vote for them,” or “I’m just doing my job…” or <insert excuse here> does not make you any less responsible for the actions committed in your name.

“The fact that there is only an indirect connection between Dow recruiting students and napalm dropped on Vietnamese villages, does not vitiate the moral issue. It is precisely the nature of modern mass murder that it is not visibly direct like individual murder, but takes on a corporate character, where every participant has limited liability. The total effect, however, is a thousand times more pernicious, than that of the individual entrepreneur of violence. If the world is destroyed, it will be a white-collar crime, done in a business-like way, by large numbers of individuals involved in a chain of actions, each one having a touch of innocence.”

-Howard Zinn.  On War (second edition). p. 64.