Military Control of the Civilian: It’s Opposite Day in America

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for Americans to recall that civilian leaders are supposed to command and control the military, not vice-versa. Consider an article posted yesterday at Newsweek with the title, TRUMP’S GENERALS CAN SAVE THE WORLD FROM WAR – AND STOP THE CRAZY. The article extols the virtues of “Trump’s generals”: James Mattis as … Continue reading “Military Control of the Civilian: It’s Opposite Day in America”

On Afghanistan, Trump Is Right To Be Skeptical

NBC news reports that President Trump is skeptical about the U.S. military’s prospects in Afghanistan. The military is losing, not winning, Trump said, and he further suggested the US commander on the scene should be fired. Meanwhile, China is cleaning up with mineral rights (such as copper mining), even as America’s generals continue with a … Continue reading “On Afghanistan, Trump Is Right To Be Skeptical”

America’s Endless Afghan War

News this week that 300 Marines have returned to Helmand Province in Afghanistan recalls the failed surge of 2009-10, when roughly 20,000 Marines beat back the Taliban in the region, only to see those “fragile” gains quickly turn to “reversible” ones (to cite the infamous terms of General David Petraeus, architect of that surge). While … Continue reading “America’s Endless Afghan War”

Trump: Yet Another War President?

Is Donald Trump going to be yet another American war president? Come to think of it, is there any other kind? This is no accident. Tom Engelhardt has an insightful article at TomDispatch today about how Trump the blowhard is a product of blowback from America’s failed wars, notably Iraq. There’s much truth in this … Continue reading “Trump: Yet Another War President?”

‘We’re a Nation at War’

Last week, Army General Raymond “Tony” Thomas, head of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), expressed his dismay about the Trump administration. “Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil,” Thomas opined. “I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war.” What does that mean, we’re a nation at war? Many will … Continue reading “‘We’re a Nation at War’”

Pentagon Spending: Up, Up, and Away!

Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value. Under the Trump administration, what is valued is spending on military weaponry and wars. The Pentagon is due to get a major boost under Trump, as reported by the Associated Press and FP: Foreign Policy: Money train. It’s looking like it might be Christmas … Continue reading “Pentagon Spending: Up, Up, and Away!”

Can Trump Tame the Pentagon?

Will Donald Trump keep his campaign promise to end America’s wasteful wars overseas? Since he’s stated he knows more than America’s generals, will he rein them in? Will he bring major reforms to the military-industrial complex, or will he be nothing but talk and tweets? At Trump’s first news conference as president-elect, he had little … Continue reading “Can Trump Tame the Pentagon?”

The Indispensable Nation?

In two recent speeches, President Obama has repeated the conceit that the United States is “the indispensable nation.” Apparently, that means the U.S. must lead “the free world,” with a none-too-subtle corollary that other “free” nations must follow. Yet the conceit of indispensability gets the US into serious trouble. It facilitates interventionism and meddling, and … Continue reading “The Indispensable Nation?”

Greed-War: The Power and Danger of the Military-Industrial Complex

President Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his most powerful speech as he left office in 1961. He warned the American people about an emerging military-industrial complex, a complex that was already beginning to erode democratic rule in America. Originally, Ike had Congress as a collaborator with and enabler of that Complex, but he deleted the reference … Continue reading “Greed-War: The Power and Danger of the Military-Industrial Complex”