Remembering the Christmas Truce of 1914

Today is the anniversary of the Christmas Truce of 1914, a spontaneous soldiers’ truce that broke out on Christmas Eve all along the Western Front in France, lasting in places until the day after Christmas. French, British and German soldiers, intrigued by the sound of Christmas carols from the enemy trenches, first tentatively refrained from … Continue reading “Remembering the Christmas Truce of 1914”

Terrorism as a Twofer

At Progressive Review ("Two Types of Terrorism," Dec. 7), Sam Smith breaks terrorism down into two types: "That which uses guns and bombs and that which uses words to terrify the public into going along with whatever those in power want." But the two aren’t unrelated, as the respective domestic reactions to the Paris bombings … Continue reading “Terrorism as a Twofer”

For the State Blowback Is a Feature, Not a Bug

Every year, we’re subjected to another round of mawkish, smarmy 9/11 memorial ceremonies whose main purpose is to maintain loyalty to the very national security state whose aggression brought the terror attacks of September 11 on us in the first place. It’s all part of an endless cycle, repeated over and over, dating back to … Continue reading “For the State Blowback Is a Feature, Not a Bug”

‘Peace Through Strength,’ and Other Lies

This column was inspired by one of Rupert Murdoch’s tweets on September 6: “Big military brings peace through strength.” A clichéd tweet by Murdoch isn’t what most people would consider a news hook. But it’s just the latest expression – caveman syntax perhaps included – of an insidious idea that anyone born in the United … Continue reading “‘Peace Through Strength,’ and Other Lies”

The Foreign Policy Debate: Coke or Pepsi?

Monday’s presidential debate on foreign policy, as one might have expected, supplied more than its share of howlers. Mittens, for example, referred to Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez as one of the “world’s worst actors.” In response to an early Obama administration statement to the effect that “the United States has dictated,” Romney said: “The United States … Continue reading “The Foreign Policy Debate: Coke or Pepsi?”

On Translating Securityspeak Into English

One might wonder, reading the American “national security” community’s pronouncements, if they refer to the same world we live in. Things make a little more sense when you realize that the Security State has its own language: Securityspeak. Like Newspeak, the ideologically refashioned successor to English in Orwell’s 1984, Securityspeak is designed to obscure meaning … Continue reading “On Translating Securityspeak Into English”

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery … and Fighting Back is ‘Aggression’

The US Department of Defense recently promulgated a new "defense" guidance document: "Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense." I use scare quotes because it just doesn’t seem quite right to use "defense" to describe a document that — like its predecessors — envisions something like an American Thousand-Year Reich. The greatest shift … Continue reading “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery … and Fighting Back is ‘Aggression’”

From Arab Spring to Fall Revolution?

In summer 2010, WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of classified U.S. State Department cables, much to the outrage and chagrin of the American national security establishment and its Amen Corner. The documents included embarrassing details on internal corruption in a number of Arab regimes and helped spark a “Facebook/Twitter Revolution” in Tunisia, ending in the … Continue reading “From Arab Spring to Fall Revolution?”

Romney’s Wrong Again

In a recent address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney denounced proposals for so-called “defense” cuts as motivated by a desire to make America a “lesser power” — which, in turn, “flows from the conviction that if we are weak, tyrants will choose to be weak as well; that if … Continue reading “Romney’s Wrong Again”

Those Libyan ‘Freedom Fighters’: The Fix Is On

In a column three months ago (“Egypt: Let the Looting Begin”), I suggested that what was really going on in Egypt was somewhat different from the official narrative. In quite a few of the “people power” revolutions in recent years—no matter how sincere the people on the streets—it turned out that there were attempts to … Continue reading “Those Libyan ‘Freedom Fighters’: The Fix Is On”