Wake-Up Call: Damaged Vets, Unnecessary War, and the Price We Pay

"If you don’t care for obscenity, you don’t care for the truth; if you don’t care for the truth, watch how you vote. Send guys to war, they come home talking dirty." ~ Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried (1990) Violence begets violence. The empire, it seems, always comes home…eventually. No doubt, Albert Wong, who … Continue reading “Wake-Up Call: Damaged Vets, Unnecessary War, and the Price We Pay”

Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later

We were always caught in the middle. We still are. As a young man, a new lieutenant, and a true believer, I once led a US Army scout platoon just south of Baghdad. It was autumn 2006, and my platoon patrolled – mainly aimlessly – through the streets and surrounding fields of Salman Pak. To … Continue reading “Unmitigated Failure: Operation Iraqi Freedom, 15 Years Later”

Return of the Neo-Cons: Mike Pompeo and the Death of Diplomacy

Secretary Tillerson was far from an ideal choice, but his anointed successor at the State Department – Mike Pompeo – may ditch diplomacy all together and start a war! We both attended West Point. That’s where the commonalities end. I’ve been a soldier opposed to (endless) war; he’ll be a statesman opposed to peace. That … Continue reading “Return of the Neo-Cons: Mike Pompeo and the Death of Diplomacy”

Inflated Threats: China and Russia Aren’t Nearly as Dangerous as We’re Meant To Believe

"[Rome] pretends to aspire to peace but unerringly generates war…there was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger…Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors…the whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies." ~ Joseph Schumpeter (1918) Some readers will barely finish reading the title of this piece … Continue reading “Inflated Threats: China and Russia Aren’t Nearly as Dangerous as We’re Meant To Believe”

The Generals: Failing Their Soldiers – and America

September 2006. Iraq was falling apart. Nearly 100 American troops were being killed a month. The war seemed hopeless, unwinnable (because it ultimately was). So the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Peter Pace, convened a "council of colonels’ – purportedly some of the brightest minds in the military – to recommend new policies. Only … Continue reading “The Generals: Failing Their Soldiers – and America”

Buttering Up the Pentagon

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Recently, the Pentagon’s top Asia official, Randall Schriver, told senators that the Afghan war would cost this country’s taxpayers $45 billion in 2018, including $5 billion for the Afghan security forces, $13 billion for U.S. forces in that country, and $780 million in economic aid. How the other $26 billion would … Continue reading “Buttering Up the Pentagon”

Wrong on Nam, Wrong on Terror

Originally posted at TomDispatch. I recently read Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. No book – that antiquated object that displays writing on pages of paper – has gotten news attention quite like it in a long time. Of course, that’s what happens when only one person truly matters anymore – … Continue reading “Wrong on Nam, Wrong on Terror”

Three Administrations, One Standard Playbook

Originally posted at TomDispatch. In a Washington politically riven in ways not seen since the pre-Civil War era, take hope. Despite everything you’ve read, bipartisanship is not dead. On one issue, congressional Democrats and Republicans, as well as Donald Trump, all speak with a single resounding voice, with, in fact, unmatched unanimity and fervor as … Continue reading “Three Administrations, One Standard Playbook”

War Making in the Age of the Imperial Presidency

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Seventeen days after the Twin Towers fell in an apocalyptic mushroom cloud of smoke and ash, Congress passed with a single dissenting vote an "Authorization for Use of Military Force," or AUMF, stating: "That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons … Continue reading “War Making in the Age of the Imperial Presidency”