Something Is Rotten in the US Military

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Here’s the curious thing: since at least the Vietnam War era of the 1960s and early 1970s, the United States has been almost continuously at war. Certain of those conflicts like the Vietnam War itself and those in Iraq and Afghanistan in this century are still remembered by many of us. … Continue reading “Something Is Rotten in the US Military”

The Ukrainian Boondoggle as a Black Hole

Back on June 1st, I noted that Ukraine couldn’t possibly absorb more than $54 billion in U.S. aid, most of it related to weaponry and munitions, given the country’s lack of infrastructure as well as the chaos inherent to a shooting war. As I wrote back then: The entire defense budget of Ukraine before the … Continue reading “The Ukrainian Boondoggle as a Black Hole”

A Graduation Speech to Air Force Cadets

Originally posted at TomDispatch. It’s that moment again. Graduation time in high schools and colleges across the country. Because I’ve always thought that graduation speeches had a certain je ne sais quoi, I’ve given a number of them at TomDispatch to… well, I must admit, never anyone actually graduating from anyplace anywhere, but only, as … Continue reading “A Graduation Speech to Air Force Cadets”

Don’t Think About the Unthinkable

Thirty years ago, I co-taught a course on the making and use of the atomic bomb at the U.S. Air Force Academy. We took cadets to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, where the first nuclear weapons were designed and built during World War II, and we also visited the Trinity test site, where … Continue reading “Don’t Think About the Unthinkable”

Will the Pentagon Budget Ever Shrink?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. I have a question for you: What would it take in today’s world for America’s military spending to go down? Here’s one admittedly farfetched scenario: Vladimir Putin loses his grip on power and Russia retrenches militarily while reaching out to normalize relations with the West. At the same time, China prudently … Continue reading “Will the Pentagon Budget Ever Shrink?”

War in Space Would Be Disastrous

Space is increasingly a billionaire’s playground as Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin marks its 20th mission with its latest launch. It’s easy to mock Bezos and his vision of "a future where millions of people are living and working in space," likely in less-than-safe Amazon mining factories for less-than-generous wages. Yet I’m forced to admit that … Continue reading “War in Space Would Be Disastrous”

Arsenal of Democracy or Simply an Arsenal?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. When it comes to bravery in relation to the war in Ukraine, let me just tip my cap to all the antiwar protesters in Russia who have taken to the streets across that ever more autocratic land. They’ve risked arrest to say “no to war” and “shame on you!” to the … Continue reading “Arsenal of Democracy or Simply an Arsenal?”

The Cold War, Reborn and Resurgent

Originally posted at TomDispatch. In the early 1960s, at the height of America’s original Cold War with the Soviet Union, my old service branch, the Air Force, sought to build 10,000 land-based nuclear missiles. These were intended to augment the hundreds of nuclear bombers it already had, like the B-52s featured so memorably in the … Continue reading “The Cold War, Reborn and Resurgent”

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”

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”