SIGAR: The Boys Who Cry About Actual Wolves

Washingtonian elites have lived out the inverse of the popular Aesop’s Fable since at least 2008. That pivotal year – when power passed from buffoonish Emperor Bush to polite Emperor Obama – Congress formed the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) to "provide independent and objective oversight of Afghanistan reconstruction projects and activities." And, … Continue reading “SIGAR: The Boys Who Cry About Actual Wolves”

The End of War As We Know It?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Consider it strange. The U.S. has been fighting in Somalia on and off (mostly on) since the early 1990s. (Who, of a certain age, doesn’t remember the "Black Hawk Down" fiasco?) Almost 30 years later, at a time when the U.N. secretary-general, supported by dozens of countries, has reasonably enough called … Continue reading “The End of War As We Know It?”

Truth and Reconciliation: Veteran Accountability in a Time of Pandemic

Americans treasure their veterans; or so it seems. Every solitary soldier’s life matters, or is at least accounted for. Here the exactitude of the military’s casualty statistics tells the story. Such catalogues reflect more than a simple Pentagon penchant for lists – they are imbued with meaning, a sense of valuing American troops. Nothing of … Continue reading “Truth and Reconciliation: Veteran Accountability in a Time of Pandemic”

What on Earth Is the US Doing by Bombing Somalia?

The Trump administration has quietly ramped up a vicious bombing – and covert raiding – campaign in Somalia amid a global coronavirus pandemic. Neither the White House nor the Pentagon has provided any explanation for the deadly escalation of a war that Congress hasn’t declared and the media rarely reports. At stake are many thousands … Continue reading “What on Earth Is the US Doing by Bombing Somalia?”

High Stakes: Gambling on Biden’s Foreign Policy

Recently, there’s been rather heated debate – a sort of progressive civil war – over what’s being called "lesser evil” voting. To Biden, or not to Biden; that seems the existential question. However, most discussion centers on whether Joe Biden would be a meaningfully better than Donald Trump on domestic policy: healthcare, taxes, immigration, and … Continue reading “High Stakes: Gambling on Biden’s Foreign Policy”

The White Lobby: When the US Was Sanctions-Buster Extraordinaire

The bullet holes were what stuck with me. I visited the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina during the summer of 2016, at the head of the West Point civil rights history staff ride – a two week trip across the American South for select cadets in my classes. It had only … Continue reading “The White Lobby: When the US Was Sanctions-Buster Extraordinaire”

Americas Libyan Detritus: The One Time Trump Was Right – It Was All Obama’s Fault

Dark times breed – maybe demand – dark humor. Iraq and Afghanistan taught me as much. The coronavirus makes it plain as day; so does Donald Trump. Look, the guy is a buffoon and – if you happen to be the wrong color or live in the wrong country – kind of a monster. But … Continue reading “Americas Libyan Detritus: The One Time Trump Was Right – It Was All Obama’s Fault”

American Exceptionalism Scars Both Victim and Victimizer

Manicheanism means murder. Amidst the present pandemic, America’s irrationally dyadic global typecasting, and consequent capacity for cruelty, are on unusually flagrant display. Consider this the macabre gift of COVID-catalyzed reality exposure. From Uncle Sam’s escalation of proxy war with – and threats to bomb – Iran, to the maintenance and tightening of an epidemic exacerbating … Continue reading “American Exceptionalism Scars Both Victim and Victimizer”

Heaven Protect Us From Another President’s West Point Graduation Speech

The last time a West Point class graduated early – or having completed less than eight semesters – was in 1945, at the end of the Second World War. Until now. Though the circumstances are somewhat dissimilar – cadets have been taking online classes since their virtual return from Spring Break – the current class … Continue reading “Heaven Protect Us From Another President’s West Point Graduation Speech”

The Still Exceptional Empires: Neo-Imperialism, Franco-American Style

Everyone has heard, ad nauseam, about the "Special Relationship” between the United States and Britain. Accordingly, the few Americans who dare identify their country as an empire – past or present – tend to analogize with the British model. While the similarities between Washington and London-style imperialism are manifold – along with the distinct differences … Continue reading “The Still Exceptional Empires: Neo-Imperialism, Franco-American Style”