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”

A Bright Future for Weapons and War

Originally posted at TomDispatch. There are always winners and losers, aren’t there? For instance, the seven children who died in that last drone strike the U.S. military launched in Kabul as it was leaving town were certainly losers. Those who ordered that strike against an ISIS-K suicide bomber who wasn’t there… well, no, not actually. … Continue reading “A Bright Future for Weapons and War”

Pivoting the Military to America

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Seven years after the Soviet Union collapsed in a heap of post-Afghan-War rubble and seven years after President George H.W. Bush fought the First Gulf War against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to what looked like typical all-American success, we were on a planet that seemed unimaginably all-American. That February of 1998, Secretary … Continue reading “Pivoting the Military to America”

War Is Strictly Business in Twenty-First Century America

Here’s the strange thing: almost 20 years into a series of chaotic, staggeringly expensive, failing wars across significant parts of the planet, the U.S. military – "the greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known" (George W. Bush), aka "the finest fighting force that the world has ever known" (Barack Obama) – continues … Continue reading “War Is Strictly Business in Twenty-First Century America”