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Articles by: Danny Sjursen

Why No Retired Generals Oppose America’s Forever Wars

Why No Retired Generals Oppose America’s Forever Wars

There once lived an odd little man — five feet nine inches tall and barely 140 pounds sopping wet — who rocked the lecture circuit and the nation itself. For all but a few activist insiders and scholars, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler is now lost to history. Yet more than a century ago, this strange contradiction of a[Read More…]

The American Chaos Machine: U.S. Foreign Policy Goes Off the Rails

The American Chaos Machine: U.S. Foreign Policy Goes Off the Rails

In March 1906, on the heels of the U.S. Army’s massacre of some 1,000 men, women, and children in the crater of a volcano in the American-occupied Philippines, humorist Mark Twain took his criticism public. A long-time anti-imperialist, he flippantly suggested that Old Glory should be redesigned “with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.” I got[Read More…]

Landscape

 Remembering America’s First (and Longest) Forgotten War on Tribal Islamists

For a decade and a half, the U.S. Army waged war on fierce tribal Muslims in a remote land. Sound familiar? As it happens, that war unfolded half a world away from the Greater Middle East and more than a century ago in the southernmost islands of the Philippines. Back then, American soldiers fought not the Taliban, but the Moros,[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Imperialism
Watching My Students Turn Into Soldiers of Empire

Watching My Students Turn Into Soldiers of Empire

Patches, pins, medals, and badges are the visible signs of an exclusive military culture, a silent language by which soldiers and officers judge each other’s experiences, accomplishments, and general worth. In July 2001, when I first walked through the gate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point at the ripe young age of 17, the “combat patch” on one’s[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Imperialism
A Veteran in a World of Never-Ending Wars and Improvised Explosive Devices

A Veteran in a World of Never-Ending Wars and Improvised Explosive Devices

  Recently, on a beautiful Kansas Saturday, I fell asleep early, exhausted by the excitement and ultimate disappointment of the Army football team’s double overtime loss to highly favored Michigan. Having turned against America’s forever wars and the U.S. military as an institution while I was still in it, West Point football, I’m almost ashamed to admit, is my last[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Imperialism
A new study from Brown University's Costs of War Project found that the U.S. "War on Terror" has killed half a million people in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. (Photo: Spc. Phillip McTaggart/Flickr/cc)

Could Donald Trump End the Afghan War?

Could Donald Trump end the Afghan war someday? I don’t know if such a possibility has been on your mind, but it’s certainly been on the mind of this retired U.S. Army major who fought in that land so long ago. And here’s the context in which I’ve been thinking about that very possibility. Back in the previous century, it[Read More…]

President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

 Key American Allies in the Middle East Are the Real Tyrants

American foreign policy can be so retro, not to mention absurd. Despite being bogged down in more military interventions than it can reasonably handle, the Trump team recently picked a new fight — in Latin America. That’s right! Uncle Sam kicked off a sequel to the Cold War with some of our southern neighbors, while resuscitating the boogeyman of socialism.[Read More…]

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Danny Sjursen, On Leaving the U.S. Army

Danny Sjursen, On Leaving the U.S. Army

 “Patriotism, in the trenches, was too remote a sentiment, and at once rejected as fit only for civilians, or prisoners.” — Robert Graves, Goodbye To All That(1929). I’m one of the lucky ones. Leaving the madness of Army life with a modest pension and all of my limbs intact feels like a genuine escape. Both the Army and I knew it was[Read More…]