Why the Pentagon Budget Never Goes Down

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Strange, isn’t it? Our secretary of state emphatically claims that China has been acting “more aggressively abroad” and behaving “increasingly in adversarial ways.” No, he insists, we’re not exactly at the edge of a new cold war or planning, in the style of the last century, to “contain China.” All this … Continue reading “Why the Pentagon Budget Never Goes Down”

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”

The Guantánamo Conundrum

Originally posted at TomDispatch. It seemed obvious enough to me in 2006. When you included the CIA’s “black sites” around the globe (where prisoners from the war on terror were being kept and regularly tortured), American military prisons like the shocking Abu Ghraib in Iraq, which had just then been emptied, and the huge military … Continue reading “The Guantánamo Conundrum”

War Is Peace, Peace Is War

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Here’s the strange thing in an ever-stranger world: I was born in July 1944 in the midst of a devastating world war. That war ended in August 1945 with the atomic obliteration of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by the most devastating bombs in history up to that moment, given … Continue reading “War Is Peace, Peace Is War”

The Graveyard of Empires Redux

Originally posted at TomDispatch. On May 1st, the date Donald Trump signed onto for the withdrawal of the remaining 3,500 American troops from Afghanistan, the war there, already 19 years old, was still officially a teenager. Think of September 11, 2021 – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the date Joe Biden has … Continue reading “The Graveyard of Empires Redux”

How To Make a Gulf Monarchy All-American

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Some things just never seem to end. What came to mind was the way in which, during administration after administration, the Saudis and other foreign powers have poured money into Washington to ensure that their governments and their desires will be supported, that they will be sold arms in a major … Continue reading “How To Make a Gulf Monarchy All-American”

The Cold War, Rebooted and Rebranded

Originally posted at TomDispatch. When it comes to future conflicts or present-day war games, they have all the advantages and we have none! Or as Eric Edelman, a former undersecretary of defense for policy, told CNN recently, “Russia and China are playing a home game, we are playing an away game.” And mind you, we’re … Continue reading “The Cold War, Rebooted and Rebranded”

A Game of Chicken in Asia With the World at Stake

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Think of it as Cold War II or, as President Biden put it in his first news conference, “a battle between the utility of democracies in the twenty-first century and autocracies.” In other words, it’s us versus Vladimir Putin’s Russia and, above all, of course – since the Russian economy is … Continue reading “A Game of Chicken in Asia With the World at Stake”

The History of the Present

Originally posted at TomDispatch. Assassination has not exactly been a foreign concept to American presidents. After all, there were those CIA-backed plots during the presidency of John F. Kennedy (who was himself assassinated) aimed at killing foreign leaders ranging from the Congo’s Patrice Lumumba to Cuba’s Fidel Castro. In Lyndon Johnson’s and Richard Nixon’s years … Continue reading “The History of the Present”

The Massive and Unseen Costs of America’s Post-9/11 Wars

Perhaps the strangest thing about America’s "forever wars" is how little obvious impact they’ve had here. A country – an imperial power, in fact, that liked to think of itself as the planet’s last or "lone" superpower – goes to war for so long (and with so little evident result) that even "the longest war" … Continue reading “The Massive and Unseen Costs of America’s Post-9/11 Wars”