Don’t Poke the Dragon: War with China Would Be an Unnecessary Disaster

There’s nothing military men like more than obsessively training for wars they will never have to fight. The trick is not to stumble into a conflict that no one will win. Let’s everyone take a breath. Yes, China presents a potential threat to American interests in the economic, cyber, and naval realms. The U.S. must … Continue reading “Don’t Poke the Dragon: War with China Would Be an Unnecessary Disaster”

War and the Imperial Presidency

Originally posted at TomDispatch. It began, of course, with the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the second Afghan war of our era. In November 2002, in Yemen, the CIA conducted its first drone assassination strike outside of Afghanistan, killing six al-Qaeda suspects in a car. (More strikes would follow there years later, along with … Continue reading “War and the Imperial Presidency”

The Non-Options: 4 Wars the Military Prepares for But Shouldn’t Fight

There’s nothing military men like more than obsessively training for wars they will never have to fight. The trick is not to stumble into a conflict that no one will win. The most senior officers and sergeants refer to them as the "good old days." The Cold War era, that is. I can still hear … Continue reading “The Non-Options: 4 Wars the Military Prepares for But Shouldn’t Fight”

Some Lives Matter (More Than Others)

Why does the U.S. president feel inclined to attack Bashar al-Assad’s forces only in the case of chemical attacks – as opposed to more frequent conventional bombings – and why do the lives of Syrian (but not Yemeni) children matter enough to warrant missile strikes? It appears that President Trump does, in fact, have a … Continue reading “Some Lives Matter (More Than Others)”

Operation Flailing Empire

This article originally appeared at TruthDig. You’ve got to hand it to the good old US of A: We sure know how to overpromise and underdeliver. After 17 years of perpetual wars stretching from West Africa to South Asia, nobody does it better. America’s military—the nation’s governmental tool of choice these days—never saw a problem … Continue reading “Operation Flailing Empire”

American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence

For a writer, any criticism of Israeli military action is a veritable "third-rail" in American politics. Touch that nerve and you’re open to charges of anti-Semitism or worse. Still, recent events in Gaza demand that some of us, at least, shed light on the plight of Palestinians. Let us begin with a thought experiment: imagine … Continue reading “American Empathy Gap: Massacres in Gaza and US Silence”

US Should Do the Opposite of What Saudis Want

This article originally appeared at TruthDig. Consider the irony: The United States, which bills itself as the world’s beacon of freedom, has for some 70 years allied itself with one of the last absolute monarchies on the planet. Time and again, Washington has done the bidding of Saudi Arabia in the Greater Middle East, as … Continue reading “US Should Do the Opposite of What Saudis Want”

Circle of Absurdity: Killing the Islamists We Create

The U.S. military remains mired in countless wars in the Greater Middle East. Ironically – and tragically – it tends to combat Islamists that Washington either armed or birthed. We, Americans, truly are a strange lot. Our government in Washington – ostensibly representative of "We the People" – speaks of peace, but wages endless war, … Continue reading “Circle of Absurdity: Killing the Islamists We Create”

Cleaning House, Enabling War

Originally posted at TomDispatch. His appointment was a genuine Bolton from the blue (so to speak). After all, everyone knew that former U.N. Ambassador (and Fox News commentator) John Bolton couldn’t be chosen for a major post in the Trump administration. No, not because of his outlandish views on war-making, or his responsibility for helping … Continue reading “Cleaning House, Enabling War”

Unbridgeable Gap: Who We Were and Who We Thought We Were

"War is just a racket… I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service…during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism." ~ Major General Smedley Butler, US … Continue reading “Unbridgeable Gap: Who We Were and Who We Thought We Were”