‘Great-Power Rivalry’ Is Back

Should we have a Department of Offense in place of a Department of Defense (DoD)? Wouldn’t “Offense” be more accurate? Perhaps in more ways than one? Consider the revival of “great-power rivalry,” meaning China and Russia as America’s main rivals. (Terrorists may be trouble, but you don’t necessarily need nuclear-powered carriers and stealth bombers to … Continue reading “‘Great-Power Rivalry’ Is Back”

How Do You Justify a $750 Billion Budget?

I grew up on a steady diet of threat inflation. Before I was born, bomber and missile “gaps” had been falsely touted as showing the Soviet Union was ahead of the U.S. in developing nuclear-capable weaponry (the reverse was true). But those lies, which vastly exaggerated Soviet capabilities, perfectly served the needs of the military-industrial … Continue reading “How Do You Justify a $750 Billion Budget?”

The Death of Peace: How the US Empire Starts Wars, But Refuses To End Them

Originally posted at TomDispatch. How appropriate, don’t you think? America’s longest war, the Afghan one, now heading into its 18th year, may set another kind of record – for the longest withdrawal ever. The Pentagon recently revealed news of its daring “plan” to end that war. It will take up to five years to get … Continue reading “The Death of Peace: How the US Empire Starts Wars, But Refuses To End Them”

Turning Victory Into Defeat

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Think of it as a reverse miracle. Seventeen years of American war in this century waged by a military considered beyond compare on a planet that, back in 2001, was almost without enemies. How, then, was it possible, month after month, year after year, to turn the promise of eternal victory … Continue reading “Turning Victory Into Defeat”

The Bankruptcy of Conventional Wisdom at the Pentagon

Perhaps the most blatant example of the bankruptcy of conventional wisdom at the Pentagon came from retired General David Petraeus in an interview with PBS reporter Judy Woodruff in June of 2017. Petraeus spoke of a “sustainable, sustained commitment” to Afghanistan and the need for a “generational struggle” with Islamic terrorists who are located there. … Continue reading “The Bankruptcy of Conventional Wisdom at the Pentagon”

Endless War and the Lack of a Progressive Critique of the Pentagon

A few months back, I wrote a note to one of my senators to complain about America’s endless wars and received a signed reply via email. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that it was a canned response, but no less telling for that. My senator began by praising American troops as “tough, … Continue reading “Endless War and the Lack of a Progressive Critique of the Pentagon”

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”

Fear of Defeat and the Vietnam War

Fear of defeat drives military men to folly. Early in 1968, General William Westmoreland, America’s commanding general in Vietnam, feared that communist forces might overrun U.S. military positions at Khe Sanh. His response, according to recently declassified cables as reported in the New York Times today, was to seek authorization to move nuclear weapons into … Continue reading “Fear of Defeat and the Vietnam War”

The Military-Industrial Complex Strikes (Out) Again

Remember Donald Trump’s magical plan to turn $200 billion in federal money… hey, presto!… into $1.5 trillion in investment in America’s aging, underfunded infrastructure (to which the American Society of Civil Engineers gave a grade of D+ in 2017)? Why should you, especially since that plan is now officially dead in the water in Congress … Continue reading “The Military-Industrial Complex Strikes (Out) Again”