Military Strength Is Our National Religion

Originally posted at TomDispatch. After almost 18 years of the war (or rather wars) on (or perhaps of) terror, there’s some good news! The Washington Post reports that American troops are finally coming home from Afghanistan! Actually, let me amend that slightly. They will only come home if Taliban and U.S. negotiators complete a deal … Continue reading “Military Strength Is Our National Religion”

The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

Originally posted at TomDispatch. In those pre-seat-belt years – it might have been 1953 – I can remember being in the back seat of the family car with our dog. My dad was driving, my mom sitting next to him. And I can still practically hear them launching, with remarkable gusto, into the first verse … Continue reading “The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War”

Ending the Pentagon’s Long Con

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Consider it a conundrum. Both parties in Congress and the president simply can’t pour enough money into the Pentagon and the rest of the national security state. As a result, theirs has been a cumulative trillion-dollar budget for years and it’s still on the rise. On the other hand, the domestic … Continue reading “Ending the Pentagon’s Long Con”

‘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”