Rule Number One in Warfare: Know Your Enemy

Originally posted at TomDispatch. It’s now more than 17 years later, years in which American commanding generals in Afghanistan repeatedly hailed the U.S. military’s “progress” there and regularly applauded the way we had finally “turned a corner” in the Afghan War — only to find more Taliban fighters armed with RPGs around that very corner. … Continue reading “Rule Number One in Warfare: Know Your Enemy”

Misremembering Vietnam

Originally posted at TomDispatch. “I’m going to Saigon,” said Secretary of Defense James Mattis last month before correcting himself. “Ho Chi Minh City – former Saigon.” It was the fifth time that Mattis would meet with his Vietnamese counterpart, Minister of National Defense Ngo Xuan Lich, and it marked the defense secretary’s first visit to … Continue reading “Misremembering Vietnam”

Entering the Second Nuclear Age?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. He was the candidate who, while talking to a foreign policy expert, reportedly wondered "why we can’t use nuclear weapons." He was the man who would never rule anything out or take any "cards," including nuclear ones, off the proverbial table. He was the fellow who, as president-elect, was eager to … Continue reading “Entering the Second Nuclear Age?”

The Pentagon Has Won the War That Matters

Originally posted at TomDispatch. In June, Austin “Scott” Miller, the special-ops general chosen to be the 17th U.S. commander in Afghanistan, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Like so many of the generals who had preceded him, he suggested that he saw evidence of “progress” in the Afghan war, even if he refused to … Continue reading “The Pentagon Has Won the War That Matters”

17 Years of War (and More to Come)

Originally posted at TomDispatch. We’re already two years past the crystal anniversary and eight years short of the silver one, or at least we would be, had it been a wedding – and, after a fashion, perhaps it was. On October 7, 2001, George W. Bush launched the invasion – "liberation" was the word often … Continue reading “17 Years of War (and More to Come)”

Putting War Back in Children’s Culture

Originally posted at TomDispatch. The following excerpt from Tom Engelhardt’s book The End of Victory Culture is posted with permission from the University of Massachusetts Press. 1. “Hey, How Come They Got All the Fun?” Now that Darth Vader’s breathy techno-voice is a staple of our culture, it’s hard to remember how empty was the … Continue reading “Putting War Back in Children’s Culture”

The Saudi Lobby Juggernaut

Originally posted at TomDispatch. It was May 2017. The Saudis were growing increasingly nervous. For more than two years they had been relying heavily on U.S. military support and bombs to defeat Houthi rebels in Yemen. Now, the Senate was considering a bipartisan resolution to cut off military aid and halt a big sale of … Continue reading “The Saudi Lobby Juggernaut”

Backfire, a Generation of American Folly

Originally posted at TomDispatch. In July 1999, Chalmers Johnson began the prologue to Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire this way: "Instead of demobilizing after the Cold War, the United States imprudently committed itself to maintaining a global empire. This book is an account of the resentments our policies have built up and … Continue reading “Backfire, a Generation of American Folly”

In the Heart of a Dying Empire

Originally posted at TomDispatch. When you think about it, the Earth is a relatively modest-sized planet – about 25,000 miles in circumference at the Equator, with a total surface area of 197 million square miles, almost three-quarters of which is water. It’s not so hard, if you’re in a certain frame of mind (as American … Continue reading “In the Heart of a Dying Empire”

To Boldly Go Nowhere?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Like many in my generation, undoubtedly including Donald Trump, I went into space early (and I’m not even counting all those hours in my early teens I spent reading Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy or H.G. Wells’s War of the Worlds by flashlight under the covers while supposedly asleep). I’m thinking of … Continue reading “To Boldly Go Nowhere?”