Articles by: William J Astore

 America’s Dark Side in the Age of Trump

 America’s Dark Side in the Age of Trump

What pops into your head when you hear the number 1,000 in a political-military context? Having studied German military history, I immediately think of Adolf Hitler’s confident boast that his Third Reich would last a thousand years. In reality, of course, a devastating world war brought that Reich down in a mere 12 years. Only recently, however, such boasts popped[Read More…]

by October 2, 2020 World
 Killing Democracy in America: The Military-Industrial Complex as a Cytokine Storm

 Killing Democracy in America: The Military-Industrial Complex as a Cytokine Storm

The phrase “thinking about the unthinkable” has always been associated with the unthinkable cataclysm of a nuclear war, and rightly so. Lately, though, I’ve been pondering another kind of unthinkable scenario, nearly as nightmarish (at least for a democracy) as a thermonuclear Armageddon, but one that’s been rolling out in far slower motion: that America’s war on terror never ends because it’s[Read More…]

by July 27, 2020 World
 Warrior-Cops Are the Law — and Above the Law — as Violence Grips America

 Warrior-Cops Are the Law — and Above the Law — as Violence Grips America

From their front porches, regular citizens watched a cordon of cops sweep down their peaceful street in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rankled at being filmed, the cops exceeded their authority and demanded that people go inside their houses. When some of them didn’t obey quickly enough, the order — one heard so many times in the streets of Iraqi cities and in[Read More…]

by June 8, 2020 World
How My Dad Predicted the Decline of America

How My Dad Predicted the Decline of America

My dad was born in 1917. Somehow, he survived the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, but an outbreak of whooping cough in 1923 claimed his baby sister, Clementina. One of my dad’s first memories was seeing his sister’s tiny white casket. Another sister was permanently marked by scarlet fever. In 1923, my dad was hit by a car and spent two weeks in a[Read More…]

by March 30, 2020 World
 The Paradox of America’s Endless Wars – They Persist Because They Don’t Exist (For Americans)

 The Paradox of America’s Endless Wars – They Persist Because They Don’t Exist (For Americans)

There is no significant anti-war movement in America because there’s no war to protest. Let me explain. In February 2003, millions of people took to the streets around the world to protest America’s march to war against Iraq. That mass movement failed. The administration of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney had a radical plan for reshaping the Middle East and no protesters, no[Read More…]

by February 26, 2020 Imperialism
 The Art of the Deal, Pentagon-Style: Wars Without Victories, Weapons Without End

 The Art of the Deal, Pentagon-Style: Wars Without Victories, Weapons Without End

The expression “self-licking ice cream cone” was first used in 1992 to describe a hidebound bureaucracy at NASA. Yet, as an image, it’s even more apt for America’s military-industrial complex, an institution far vaster than NASA and thoroughly dedicated to working for its own perpetuation and little else. Thinking about that led me to another phrase based on America’s seemingly endless[Read More…]

by February 5, 2020 Imperialism
 American Exceptionalism Is Killing the Planet – The Many Abuses of Endless War

 American Exceptionalism Is Killing the Planet – The Many Abuses of Endless War

Ever since 2007, when I first started writing for TomDispatch, I’ve been arguing against America’s forever wars, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere. Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that, despite my more than 60 articles, American blood is still being spilled in war after war across the Greater Middle East and Africa, even as foreign peoples pay a far higher price in lives lost and cities ruined. And I keep[Read More…]

by December 2, 2019 Imperialism
The Militarization of Everything in USA

The Militarization of Everything in USA

When Americans think of militarism, they may imagine jackbooted soldiers goose-stepping through the streets as flag-waving crowds exult; or, like our president, they may think of enormous parades featuring troops and missiles and tanks, with warplanes soaring overhead. Or nationalist dictators wearing military uniforms encrusted with medals, ribbons, and badges like so many barnacles on a sinking ship of state. (Was Donald Trump only joking recently[Read More…]

by October 25, 2019 World
The Ultra-Costly, Underwhelming F-35 Fighter

The Ultra-Costly, Underwhelming F-35 Fighter

How are you with numbers? I can deal with $1.5 million. I think I can even imagine $1.5 billion, a sum a thousand times greater. But how about a million times greater: $1.5 trillion? That happens to be the estimated cost of the Pentagon’s program to build, deploy, and maintain the no-longer-so-new F-35 jet fighter over its lifetime. How can any people invest so[Read More…]

by September 16, 2019 Imperialism
Military Strength Is Our National Religion

Military Strength Is Our National Religion

  When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I looked to the heavens: to God and Christianity (as arbitrated by the Catholic Church) and to the soaring warbirds of the U.S. military, which I believed kept us safe. To my mind then, they were classic manifestations of American technological superiority over the godless Communists. With all its scandals, especially[Read More…]

by August 13, 2019 Imperialism
The Riptide of American Militarism 

The Riptide of American Militarism 

Put up with me for just a moment while I wax literary. It turns out that, if French novelist Marcel Proust lived today, he might have had to retitle his Remembrance of Things Past as Remembrance of Things Present, or even more sadly, Things Future. As an ex-military man who lived through part of the Cold War in uniform, let me make my point,[Read More…]

by July 9, 2019 Imperialism
 Six Ways to Curb America’s Military Machine | William J. Astore

 Six Ways to Curb America’s Military Machine | William J. Astore

Donald Trump is a con man. Think of Trump University or a juicy Trump steak or can’t-lose casinos (that never won). But as president, one crew he hasn’t conned is the Pentagon. Quite the opposite, they’ve conned him because they’ve been at the game a lot longer and lie (in Trump-speak) in far biglier ways. People condemn President Trump for his incessant lying and his con games — and[Read More…]

by May 1, 2019 Imperialism
The U.S. Military’s Lost Wars

The U.S. Military’s Lost Wars

One of the finest military memoirs of any generation is Defeat Into Victory, British Field Marshal Sir William Slim’s perceptive account of World War II’s torturous Burma campaign, which ended in a resounding victory over Japan. When America’s generals write their memoirs about their never-ending war on terror, they’d do well to choose a different title: Victory Into Defeat. That would certainly be more[Read More…]

by January 28, 2019 Imperialism
 The American Military Uncontained , Out Everywhere And Winning Nowhere 

 The American Military Uncontained , Out Everywhere And Winning Nowhere 

When it comes to the “world’s greatest military,” the news has been shocking. Two fast U.S. Navy ships colliding with slow-moving commercial vessels with tragic loss of life.  An Air Force that has been in the air continuously for years and yet doesn’t have enough pilots to fly its combat jets.  Ground troops who find themselves fighting “rebels” in Syria previously armed and trained by[Read More…]

by September 13, 2017 Imperialism
What Does An “America-First” Foreign Policy Actually Mean? 

What Does An “America-First” Foreign Policy Actually Mean? 

  What does an “America-first” foreign policy look like under President Donald Trump? As a start, forget the ancient label of “isolationism.”  With the end of Trump’s first 100 days approaching, it looks more like a military-first policy aimed at achieving global hegemony, which means it’s a potential doomsday machine. Candidate Trump vowed he’d make the U.S. military so strong[Read More…]

by April 14, 2017 Imperialism
Too Many Generals Spoil The Democracy 

Too Many Generals Spoil The Democracy 

  America has always had a love affair with its generals. It started at the founding of the republic with George Washington and continued with (among others) Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.  These military men shared something in common: they were winning generals.  Washington in the Revolution; Jackson in the War of 1812; Taylor in the Mexican-American[Read More…]

by December 20, 2016 World
 We Are The Empire Of U.S. Military Interventions, Alien Disaster Movies, and Star Wars

 We Are The Empire Of U.S. Military Interventions, Alien Disaster Movies, and Star Wars

Perhaps you’ve heard the expression: “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Cartoonist Walt Kelly’s famed possum, Pogo, first uttered that cry. In light of alien disaster movies like the recent sequel Independence Day: Resurgence and America’s disastrous wars of the twenty-first century, I’d like to suggest a slight change in that classic phrase: we have met the[Read More…]

by July 13, 2016 Imperialism