Weaponizing the Body Politic

When I covered the Occupy Wall Street protests last fall, I just couldn’t stay focused, despite the fact that people from across the country and around the world were traveling to that block-long half-acre park of granite walls and honey-locust trees in lower Manhattan to build a new mini-society. It boasted free housing, free food, … Continue reading “Weaponizing the Body Politic”

War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery … and Fighting Back is ‘Aggression’

The US Department of Defense recently promulgated a new "defense" guidance document: "Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense." I use scare quotes because it just doesn’t seem quite right to use "defense" to describe a document that — like its predecessors — envisions something like an American Thousand-Year Reich. The greatest shift … Continue reading “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery … and Fighting Back is ‘Aggression’”

Bring Back the Standing Army

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson did not agree on much, but when it came to “standing armies” — militaries that did not disband during peacetime — they were united: “War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many … Continue reading “Bring Back the Standing Army”

Honor, Sacrifice, and Other Civilian Delusions

I read frequently among the less neuronal of the supposed honor of soldiers, of the military virtues of courage, loyalty, and uprightness — that in an age of moral decomposition only the military adheres to principles, and that our troops in places like Afghanistan nobly make sacrifices to preserve our freedoms and democracy. Is not … Continue reading “Honor, Sacrifice, and Other Civilian Delusions”

Militarism Is Not Patriotism

Every July 4, the nation’s official birthday, many Americans conflate the U.S. military and what it does abroad with “patriotism.” This past weekend was no exception. Yet there are many things wrong with this line of reasoning. Let’s start with July 4. What happened on July 4, 1776? Actually, not all that much. Although most … Continue reading “Militarism Is Not Patriotism”

American Militarism Is Not a Fairy Tale

President Obama recently reshuffled his top Washington warriors, sending CIA Director Leon Panetta, a man who knows Congress well, on to the Pentagon to replace retiring Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. In turn, the president is bringing in Gen. David Petraeus, present Afghan War Commander, former CENTCOM commander, and former Iraq War commander (as well … Continue reading “American Militarism Is Not a Fairy Tale”

Lockheed Martin’s Shadow Government

As a boy in the 1950s, I can remember my father, a World War II vet, becoming livid while insisting that our family not shop at a local grocery store. Its owners, he swore, had been “war profiteers” and he would never forgive them. He practically spat the phrase out. I have no idea whether … Continue reading “Lockheed Martin’s Shadow Government”

Dissecting the Perpetual War Machine

Andrew J. Bacevich emerged in the first decade of the century as this country’s most widely read and widely respected critic of U.S. militarism and empire. He has addressed this issue with an intensity that is unprecedented for an academic. With the appearance of Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, he has produced six … Continue reading “Dissecting the Perpetual War Machine”

Reflections on Rolling Thunder

WASHINGTON – It is all too clear why we can’t seem to protest our way out of this war. And as a result, the war itself may never end. In fact, Gen. Stanley McChrystal recently suggested that “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan may be just that – “enduring” – for a very, very long time. … Continue reading “Reflections on Rolling Thunder”