Welcome to the New Cold War in Asia

Originally posted at TomDispatch. For a moment, imagine an upside-down military world. Instead of U.S. guided-missile destroyers and other ships regularly carrying out “freedom of navigation operations” near Chinese-claimed islands in the South China Sea and such destroyers no less regularly passing through the Strait of Taiwan between that disputed island and the People’s Republic … Continue reading “Welcome to the New Cold War in Asia”

A World of Killer Robots?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Yes, it’s true. After 20 years of war – actually, more like 30 years if you count American involvement in the Russian version of that conflict in the 1980s – the U.S. has finally waved goodbye to Afghanistan (at least for now). Its last act in Kabul was the drone-slaughtering of … Continue reading “A World of Killer Robots?”

The War on Terror Is a Success – for Terror

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Here’s the question that comes to my mind as 2022 begins: If soon after the global war on terror began — with no special sources of inside information, nothing — I could see perfectly well that it was going to be a disaster, why couldn’t the people who mattered? It’s not … Continue reading “The War on Terror Is a Success – for Terror”

‘Mission Unaccomplished: America’s Underperforming Military

Originally posted at TomDispatch. “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” is an old American adage. Venerable, time-tested, and seemingly true, though here’s an exception: retired general, disgraced former CIA chief, and leaker of classified information, David Petraeus. For years, I’ve presented the retired general with an opportunity for that rarest of opportunities, a … Continue reading “‘Mission Unaccomplished: America’s Underperforming Military”

Going Nuclear on Pentagon Spending

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Yes, four-star General Lloyd Austin commanded American forces in Iraq back in 2010 and 2011. In 2013, he took over from General James Mattis (remember him?) as the head of United States Central Command, or CENTCOM, overseeing America’s wars in the Greater Middle East and Afghanistan (where he had earlier commanded … Continue reading “Going Nuclear on Pentagon Spending”

Countdown to World War III?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Yep, it happened again for the 11th time this year. (In 2020, the number was 13.) An American warship, in this case the guided-missile destroyer Milius, sailed through the Taiwan Strait between mainland China and the disputed island of Taiwan to, as a Navy spokesperson put it, “demonstrate the U.S. commitment … Continue reading “Countdown to World War III?”

The Pentagon as Pentagod

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Back in 2007, in his first piece for TomDispatch, retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and historian William Astore focused on the proliferation of self-congratulatory ribbons and medals on the chests of America’s generals. Here, for instance, was General David Petraeus at that time — and keep in mind that, before he … Continue reading “The Pentagon as Pentagod”

After Vindication, Afghan War Skeptics Ignored by Media

Originally posted at TomDispatch. In 2006, Newsweek dubbed him “a rising star” and one of the “Jedi knights who are fighting in what [Vice President] Cheney calls ‘the shadows.’” The particular Jedi knight being touted to the skies was Army General Stanley McChrystal, then running the Pentagon’s super-secret Joint Special Operations Command. And such language … Continue reading “After Vindication, Afghan War Skeptics Ignored by Media”

Now Is the Time to Be Angry, Remembering Forgotten Afghanistan

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Ann Jones began her remarkable book Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan this way: "I went to Afghanistan after the bombing stopped. Somehow, I felt obliged to help pick up the pieces. I was a New Yorker who had always lived downtown, and for a long time after the … Continue reading “Now Is the Time to Be Angry, Remembering Forgotten Afghanistan”

Do You Want a New Cold War?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Let me make my own position on China all too clear. I’m distinctly “soft” on that country. I always have been. After all, it represents a remarkable civilization, one I studied in graduate school. Among my greatest regrets is never having visited there, never having made it to the Great Wall … Continue reading “Do You Want a New Cold War?”