Secretary of Defense, Incorporated

This article originally appeared at TruthDig. The man is so beautifully bland. In fact, I’d wager that only a tiny segment of Americans could name the current Secretary of Defense – and far fewer could pick him out of a lineup. Perhaps that’s the point. President Trump, a celebrity ham, has tired of sharing the … Continue reading “Secretary of Defense, Incorporated”

The United States of Betrayal

First, the (mostly) good news: President Trump appears poised, finally, to end the US military mission in Northeast Syria. The move would constitute the first actual follow-through on the promises of candidate Trump to avoid "stupid" and terminate "endless" Mideast wars. That’s no small thing. Furthermore, while the outcome in Syria is likely to be … Continue reading “The United States of Betrayal”

A Picture (of a War Crime) Is Worth a Thousand Words

"I want no prisoners, I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better you will please me." – General Jacob Smith to subordinates on Samar Island during the Philippine-American War (1902) Not so long ago, in November 2010, I took command of B Troop, 4th Squadron, 4th US Cavalry … Continue reading “A Picture (of a War Crime) Is Worth a Thousand Words”

Locked, Loaded, and Ludicrous

"Tyranny is the deliberate removal of nuance" ~ Albert Maysles Fifty two years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. broke with the white liberal establishment, the Lyndon Johnson administration, and the U.S. military when he bravely declared America "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today." King, now canonized, sanitized, and co-opted even by his conservative opponents … Continue reading “Locked, Loaded, and Ludicrous”

John Bolton’s Living Obituary

This article originally appeared at TruthDig. “I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost.” ~ John Bolton, in his Yale University 25th reunion book Fitting words from the gold standard in Washington “chicken hawks.” For John Bolton has made a career … Continue reading “John Bolton’s Living Obituary”

John Bolton’s Dream: Saudi Oil and the Casus Belli for War with Iran

All wars require casus belli, ostensible justifications. After all, despite humanity’s long history of vicious warfare, interstate combat often requires a government distant from its working class to motivate its people to kill and die for distant institutions and esoteric ideologies. That said, Washington doesn’t exactly have a strong track record of honesty regarding its … Continue reading “John Bolton’s Dream: Saudi Oil and the Casus Belli for War with Iran”

The Madness of James Mattis

This article originally appeared at TruthDig. Last week, in a well-received Wall Street Journal op-ed, former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis delivered a critique of Donald Trump that was as hollow as it was self-righteous. Explaining his decision to resign from the administration, the retired marine general known as “Mad Dog” eagerly declared himself “apolitical,” … Continue reading “The Madness of James Mattis”

The Media’s Betrayal of American Soldiers

It is a rare thing, indeed, when both establishment and media "liberals" and "conservatives" agree on anything. Nevertheless, lightning has proverbially struck this week as both sides attack President Trump with equal vehemence. Thus, here we are, and here I am – in the disturbing position of defending Trump’s (until Sunday) peace policy for Afghanistan. … Continue reading “The Media’s Betrayal of American Soldiers”

Profiles in Absurdity: Remembering the ‘Terror’ Wars

When they saw Afghanistan, all they could think of was Iraq. Indeed, most military thinkers are perennially driven by the tunnel-vision of personal experience; rarely a good thing. Indeed, the generals and colonels managing the foolish, politically driven 2009-12 Obama "surge" into Afghanistan – what he’d absurdly labeled the "good war" – had few fresh … Continue reading “Profiles in Absurdity: Remembering the ‘Terror’ Wars”

How the US Shattered the Middle East

This article originally appeared at TruthDig. Yemen is a nightmare, a catastrophe, a mess—and the United States is highly complicit in the whole disaster. Refueling Saudi aircraft in-flight, providing targeting intelligence to the kingdom and selling the requisite bombs that have been dropped for years now on Yemeni civilians places the 100,000-plus deaths, millions of … Continue reading “How the US Shattered the Middle East”