Contemplating the Unimaginable Costs of a Nuclear War

Here’s something strange about our all-too-nuclearized planet: in my youth during the 1950s and early 1960s, the possibility of an obliterating nuclear war played a significant role in our everyday nightmares. We schoolkids then regularly engaged in “duck and cover” drills, diving under our desks to protect ourselves from a possible nuclear attack on New … Continue reading “Contemplating the Unimaginable Costs of a Nuclear War”

The Army We Don’t See

Originally posted at TomDispatch. In late March, I was taken aback by a news story about a drone attack on American troops at a joint base with Kurdish forces in Syria. Though five U.S. soldiers were wounded, there was only one death and, as Eric Schmitt reported in the New York Times, that “soldier” was … Continue reading “The Army We Don’t See”

Former Soldiers Without a Future

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Here’s something we seldom focus on when it comes to war, American-style, even during the just-passed 20th anniversary of our disastrous invasion of Iraq: many more soldiers survive armed conflict than die from it. This has been especially so during this country’s twenty-first-century War on Terror, which is still playing out … Continue reading “Former Soldiers Without a Future”

My War on Terror, Up Close and Personal

Originally posted at TomDispatch. It’s hard to imagine how I would have done my work at TomDispatch over the last decade without one crucial resource: Brown University’s Costs of War Project. After all, that website has offered a remarkable look at America’s misbegotten twenty-first-century wars. Since it was launched in 2010, it’s been a constant … Continue reading “My War on Terror, Up Close and Personal”

Why America’s Wars Never End

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Almost 20 years after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, as the Taliban takes district after district, withdrawing American troops are discarding vast piles of junk on bases they are now abandoning. In the process, the war on terror has become a retreat of terror, leaving behind horrified Afghans in a wrecked … Continue reading “Why America’s Wars Never End”

A Pandemic of Sexual Assault in the Military?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. From the dawn of recorded history, humans have been making war and rape has been part of it. In ancient Greece, the rape of a woman was considered a property crime; that is, a crime against her father, husband, or master. But in war, rape was socially acceptable and the women … Continue reading “A Pandemic of Sexual Assault in the Military?”

The Massive and Unseen Costs of America’s Post-9/11 Wars

Perhaps the strangest thing about America’s "forever wars" is how little obvious impact they’ve had here. A country – an imperial power, in fact, that liked to think of itself as the planet’s last or "lone" superpower – goes to war for so long (and with so little evident result) that even "the longest war" … Continue reading “The Massive and Unseen Costs of America’s Post-9/11 Wars”

Stop Thanking the Troops and Lend a Hand

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Nineteen years ago, the administration of George W. Bush responded to the 9/11 attacks by invading Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. And, yes, you won’t be shocked to learn that the Taliban is stronger now than at any time since that moment. Though U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan has been shrinking, thanks to the … Continue reading “Stop Thanking the Troops and Lend a Hand”

What Americans Don’t Know About Military Families

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Though my father served in World War II (an experience he would seldom talk about), I was never in a war myself, nor has the rest of my family been. Nothing strange there. It’s typical, in fact, of American life since the draft was abolished in 1973 and the all-volunteer military … Continue reading “What Americans Don’t Know About Military Families”

How War Targets the Young

Originally posted at TomDispatch. America’s forever wars and their fallout over these last 18 years have been hell for kids. Just ask Ismail or any of the other 56 wounded children who survived an August 2018 attack on their school bus in northern Yemen by Saudi planes armed with American weaponry. Of course, you can’t … Continue reading “How War Targets the Young”