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”

Why Can’t We Just Play Ball?

Originally posted at TomDispatch. I can remember lying on my bed with a crumpled up piece of paper in my hand and throwing it at the wall while, in my mind, the announcer’s voice carried on: "It’s a long drive to right field… Furillo is going back, back, back… He leaps! He’s got it!" And … Continue reading “Why Can’t We Just Play Ball?”

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”

Ending Wars, Not ‘Winning’ Them, Should Be America’s Goal

You can’t win wars that should never have been fought. The U.S. should never have fought the Iraq and Afghan wars, nor should we have fought the Vietnam War. It’s not that we need to know and master the foreign enemy. We need to know and master the enemy within. The domestic enemy. For the … Continue reading “Ending Wars, Not ‘Winning’ Them, Should Be America’s Goal”

The Fog of War in America

Originally posted at TomDispatch. I’ve long been struck by one strange aspect of the most recent part of the American Century: just how demobilized this country has been in the midst of distant wars that have morphed and spread for almost 17 years. I was born in July 1944 into a fully mobilized country fighting … Continue reading “The Fog of War in America”

Taking War Off Its Pedestal

Originally posted at TomDispatch. The groundwork is already laid for America’s next war(s) in the Middle East and, in the process, one of the last relatively undamaged areas of Syria (at least before the Turkish military began to pound it with air strikes and artillery, then moving in tanks) is about to be added to … Continue reading “Taking War Off Its Pedestal”

New Year’s Resolution: End America’s Quagmire Wars

Here’s a New Year’s resolution: How about ending America’s quagmire wars? There are many reasons why Afghanistan, Iraq, and similar countries will always be quagmires for the U.S. military. US troops have difficulty identifying friend from foe, and indeed “friendly” troops and police sometimes turn on their US counterparts. US troops will always be a … Continue reading “New Year’s Resolution: End America’s Quagmire Wars”