William Astore, The Bomber Will Always Get Funded -- and Used (1 comments)
Bombing Iraq, as retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and TomDispatch regular William Astore indicates today, has become an American pastime. (These days, you can't be president without sending in the bombers and drones.) So let's try to get our heads around the latest U.S. air strikes in northern Iraq against the forces of the new "caliphate."
Matthew Harwood, One Nation Under SWAT (1 comments)
Think of it as a different kind of blowback. Even when you fight wars in countries thousands of miles distant, they still have an eerie way of making the long trip home.
Take the latest news from Bergen County, New Jersey, one of the richest counties in the country. Its sheriff's department is getting two mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs -- 15 tons of protective equipment -- for a song from the Pentagon.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Sandy Tolan, Going Wild in the Gaza War
The carnage in the Gaza Strip has been horrendous: more than 1,900 dead, mainly civilians; its sole power plant destroyed (and so electricity and water denied and a sewage disaster looming); 30,000 to 40,000 homes and buildings damaged or destroyed; hundreds of thousands of residents put to flight with nowhere to go; and numerous U.N. schools or facilities housing some of those refugees hit by Israeli firepower.
Monday, August 11, 2014
Nick Turse, Christmas in July and the Collapse of America's Great African Experiment
On return from his recent reporting trip to Africa, Nick Turse told me the following tale, which catches something of the nature of our battered world. At a hotel bar in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, he attended an informal briefing with a representative of a major nongovernmental organization (NGO). At one point, the briefer commented that just one more crisis might sink the whole aid operation.
Nick Turse, An East-West Showdown in the Heart of Africa?
For the last two years, TomDispatch Managing Editor Nick Turse has been following the Pentagon and the latest U.S. global command, AFRICOM, as they oversaw the expanding operations of the American military across that continent: drones, a special ops surge, interventions, training missions, bases (even if not called bases), proxy wars. Short of a major conflict, you name it and it's probably happening.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Chip Ward, Leave It to Beaver(s) (3 comments)
If you want to be unnerved, just pay a visit to the U.S. Drought Monitor and check out its map of the American West with almost all of California stained the deep, distressing shades of red that indicate either "extreme" or "exceptional" drought. In other words, it could hardly be worse.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Naomi Oreskes, A "Green" Bridge to Hell
Call it the energy or global warming news of recent weeks. No, I'm not referring to the fact this was globally the hottest June on record ever (as May had been before it), or that NASA launched the first space vehicle "dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide."
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Peter Van Buren: Undue Process in Washington
What a world we're in. Thanks to smartphones, iPads, and the like, everyone is now a photographer, but it turns out that, in the public landscape, there's ever less to photograph. So here are a few tips for living more comfortably in a photographically redacted version of our post-9/11 world.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Jonathan Schell, A Niagara Falls of Post-9/11 Violence (1 comments)
In December 2002, finishing the introduction to his as-yet-unpublished book The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People, Jonathan Schell wrote that the twentieth century was the era in which violence outgrew the war system that had once housed it and became "dysfunctional as a political instrument. Increasingly, it destroys the ends for which it is employed, killing the user as well as his victim.
Monday, July 21, 2014
The Future Is Not Ours (and Neither Is the Past) (3 comments)
Seventy-three years ago, on February 17, 1941, as a second devastating global war approached, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, called on his countrymen to "create the first great American Century." Luce died in 1967 at age 69. Life, the pictorial magazine no home would have been without in my 1950s childhood, ceased to exist as a weekly in 1972 and as a monthly in 2000.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Dahr Jamail, Incinerating Iraq (2 comments)
Who even knows what to call it? The Iraq War or the Iraq-Syrian War would be far too orderly for what's happening, so it remains a no-name conflict that couldn't be deadlier or more destabilizing -- and it's in the process of internationalizing in unsettling ways. Think of it as the strangest disaster on the planet right now. After all, when was the last time that the U.S. and Russia ended up on the same side in a conflict?
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Todd Miller, Bill of Rights Rollback in the U.S. Borderlands
You're not in the United States. Oh sure, look around at the fog lifting over the New England countryside or the diamond deserts of Arizona, but this land isn't your land, not anymore. It's a place controlled by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and your constitutional rights do not apply on their territory.
Monday, July 14, 2014
Engelhardt, The Age of Impunity
For America's national security state, this is the age of impunity. Nothing it does -- torture, kidnapping, assassination, illegal surveillance, you name it -- will ever be brought to court. For none of its beyond-the-boundaries acts will anyone be held accountable.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Rebecca Gordon, A Nation of Cowards?
t sounded like the beginning of a bad joke: a CIA agent and a U.S. Special Operations commando walked into a barbershop in Sana...
That's the capital of Yemen in case you didn't remember and not the sort of place where armed Americans usually wander out alone just to get a haircut.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Michael Klare, Fighting for Oil (2 comments)
Call it a double whammy for the planet or simply irony with a capital "I." As the invaluable Michael Klare, TomDispatch regular and author of The Race for What's Left, points out today, if you scan the planet for conflict, what you'll find from Syria and Iraq to the South China Sea are a series of energy wars -- fossil-fuel conflicts to be exact.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Noam Chomsky, America's Real Foreign Policy (2 comments)
It goes without saying that the honchos of the national security state weren't exactly happy with Edward Snowden's NSA revelations. Still, over the last year, the comments of such figures, politicians associated with them, and retirees from their world clearly channeling their feelings have had a striking quality: over-the-top vituperation.
Monday, June 30, 2014
Juan Cole, Waiting for the Arab Summer
When it comes to pure ineptness, it's been quite a performance -- and I'm sure you've already guessed that I'm referring to our secretary of state's recent jaunt to the Middle East. You remember the old quip about jokes and timing. (It's all in the...) In this case, John Kerry turned the first stop on his Middle Eastern tour into a farce, thanks to impeccably poor timing.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Peter Van Buren, What We've Lost Since 9/11 (Part 2)
When it comes to spying, surveillance, and privacy, a simple rule applies to our world: however bad you think it is, it's worse. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we've learned an enormous amount about the global surveillance regime that one of America's 17 intelligence outfits has created to suck into its maw (and its storage facilities) all communications on the planet, no matter their form.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Michael Schwartz, The New Oil Wars in Iraq
Imagine the president, speaking on Iraq from the White House Press Briefing Room last Thursday, as the proverbial deer in the headlights -- and it's not difficult to guess just what those headlights were. Think of them as Benghazi on steroids.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Laura Gottesdiener, Security vs. Securities
I live in Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill neighborhood. I can more or less roll out of bed into the House of Representatives or the Senate; the majestic Library of Congress doubles as my local branch. (If you visit, spend a sunset on the steps of the library's Jefferson Building. Trust me.) You can't miss my place, three stories of brick painted Big Bird yellow. It's a charming little corner of the city.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Engelhardt, The Guns of Folly (1 comments)
As Iraq was unraveling last week and the possible outlines of the first jihadist state in modern history were coming into view, I remembered this nugget from the summer of 2002. At the time, journalist Ron Suskind had a meeting with "a senior advisor" to President George W. Bush (later identified as Karl Rove).
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Ariel Dorfman, A Tale of Torture and Forgiveness (1 comments)
I'll bet you didn't know that June is "torture awareness month" thanks to the fact that, on June 26, 1987, the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment went into effect internationally.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Peter Van Buren: RIP, The Bill of Rights (1 comments)
Here's what passes for good news when it comes to a free press these days: two weeks ago, the Supreme Court refused without comment to hear a case involving New York Times reporter James Risen. It concerned his unwillingness to testify before a grand jury under subpoena and reveal a confidential source of information in his book State of War on the secret U.S. campaign against the Iranian nuclear program.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
William Astore, Drafted by the National Security State (1 comments)
On the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Brian Williams led off NBC Nightly News this way: "On our broadcast tonight, the salute to the warriors who stormed the beaches here in Normandy..." It's such a commonplace of our American world, that word "warriors" for those in the U.S. military or, as is said time and again, our "wounded warriors" for those hurt in one of our many wars.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Engelhardt, A Record of Unparalleled Failure (2 comments)
The United States has been at war -- major boots-on-the-ground conflicts and minor interventions, firefights, air strikes, drone assassination campaigns, occupations, special ops raids, proxy conflicts, and covert actions -- nearly nonstop since the Vietnam War began. That's more than half a century of experience with war, American-style, and yet few in our world bother to draw the obvious conclusions.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Eduardo Galeano, The World Cup and the Corporatization of Soccer (1 comments)
Over the next few weeks, we will see all that is beautiful and all that is damned in soccer at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. Hundreds of millions will swoon at the sight of the gods of the global game plying their exquisite trade across the newly built or expensively refurbished stadiums on which Brazil, according to the Wall Street Journal, has spent $3.6 billion over the last few years.
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Dilip Hiro, Behind the Coup in Egypt
Dilip Hiro's latest TomDispatch post is a Middle Eastern expert's magisterial look at what's really been happening in Egypt over the last year, as that country's generals ended the Arab Spring there (at least for now) via a coup performed in slow motion in the open air. It's a remarkable story that puts disparate events, disparately covered, in one place and explains just how it all happened.
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Peter Van Buren, A Rising Tide Lifts All Yachts (1 comments)
Former State Department whistleblower Peter Van Buren, who has been covering the fate of the 99% for TomDispatch, takes a fascinating look at nine questions typically asked about the problems of the unemployed and those in the minimum-wage economy, including why they can't find better jobs, why they can't be retrained into new jobs, and whether raising the minimum wage really would make a difference.
Monday, June 2, 2014
Rebecca Solnit, #YesAllWomen Changes the Story
From Rebecca Solnit this evening, a beautiful, especially strong and thoughtful post-Isla Vista piece on the power of words to challenge and remake our world and, most recently, on the power of a hashtagged phrase (#YesAllWomen) to do the same. In the process, she also explains how the word "mansplaining" came about and the power of such phrases as "rape culture" and "sexual entitlement"to reshape our thinking and our lives.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Engelhardt, The Big Brotherness of It All
As from time to time in the past, today I offer "the last commencement address" of the season from what I like to call "the campus of my mind." To be specific, I address "the Internet class of 2014" on their "world of shadows," the online world they inhabit that often dazzles me, but most of the time leaves me feeling as if I were a creature from another planet and another time.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Michael Klare, What's Big Energy Smoking?
Michael Clare offers us genuine news about the Big Energy companies: they're taking a leaf from the playbook of Big Tobacco and, with their sales declining in the First World, they're ramping up their operations in the developing world. They're planning to sell ever more of their product there, and so ensure the perpetuation of the age of fossil fuels and the associated disasters that we know will go with it.
Thursday, May 22, 2014
Is Climate Change a Crime Against Humanity? (3 comments)
Consider this piece my attempt to reframe the climate change debate by suggesting the obvious but normally never stated: climate change is a weapon of mass destruction in the same apocalyptic vein as nuclear weapons. It is also a self-evident "crime against humanity." These are obvious categories in which to discuss the damage that is now being done, despite everything we know, to our future, but no one ever uses them.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Rebecca Solnit, The New Feminist Road Map
Rebecca Solnit's new book on the gender wars, from which today's post is taken, offers a fresh look at feminism a half-century later. Solnit suggests that, whatever has yet to be won, by changing our assumptions feminists have already insured that the biggest battle of all is in the past. That women are equal to men and deserve equal rights as well is no longer an earth-shattering idea, and that in itself is a great victory.
Monday, May 19, 2014
Pepe Escobar, Who's Pivoting Where in Eurasia?
What's rising and what's falling in the world? In this case, TomDispatch regular Pepe Escobar focuses on something hardly even attended to here in the U.S.: on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin arrives in Beijing where he's going to ink an enormous energy deal between Russia and China, part of a growing strategic alliance which, he suggests, may help give birth to a new Eurasian Century.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Nick Turse, How "Benghazi" Birthed the New Normal in Africa
In his latest piece of remarkable reportage on the U.S. military's under-the-radar-screen "pivot" to Africa, TomDispatch Managing Editor Nick Turse goes in search of "Operation New Normal." He found the operation name in one of the many documents he's uncovered on military developments on that continent and he sets out in search of someone at U.S. Africa Command who can tell him what it is.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Glenn Greenwald, How I Met Edward Snowden
This is publication day for Glenn Greenwald's new book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. National Security State, and TomDispatch is especially proud to have an exclusive 3,000-word adaptation of its first chapter on how Snowden initially got in touch with Greenwald, how he almost missed the biggest story of his (and possibly our) lifetimes, and how he became convinced that this was the real thing.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Pratap Chatterjee, The True Costs of Remote Control War
In his latest post, Pratap Chatterjee puts a new face on that seemingly most "detached" form of conflict. Because for the first time American drone pilots are actually stepping out into the public to talk about what drone war really means and how deeply it affects them -- including surprising PTSD diagnoses -- we're getting a new picture of Washington's post-9/11 assassination campaigns in the backlands of the planet.
Thursday, May 8, 2014
Ann Jones, How to Lose Friends and Influence No One (The State Department Way)
Now, writes Ann Jones, TomDispatch regular and author of They Were Soldiers, ignorance is again on the march in Washington, with a helping hand from the State Department. Herself a Fulbright fellow, she offers a scathing report on how State plans to eviscerate its Fulbright international scholarly exchange program in 2015, helping make government-sponsored ignorance not just a national but a global concern.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Engelhardt: What, Me Worry? (2 comments)
Today, a personal piece of mine about how the young react to the exterminatory dreams and plans of their elders. It's based on an elaborate map I made in perhaps 1959 at age 15 in the back of my American history classroom depicting the Chinese conquest of the world. Jumping more than half a century, I then wonder what sorts of "maps" kids in 2014, facing another kind of exterminatory threat (climate change), are making.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Peter Van Buren, Regime Change in America
Recently, Peter Van Buren wrote a dramatic, one-of-a-kind TomDispatch account of his descent into the minimum-wage, box-store economy that got a lot of attention online. Now, he widens his lens, taking us on a road trip into an American world of gaping inequalities, towns and cities where the economy is in flight and what's left looks like an industrial apocalypse or the dark side of the moon.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Anand Gopal, How to Lose a War That Wasn't There
Here's the mind-blowing news in Anand Gopal's new TomDispatch post and in his just-published book No Good Men Among the Living: the U.S. fought its "war on terror" for almost a year in Afghanistan against - quite literally - ghosts. In the process, it resuscitated a Taliban movement that had ceased to exist and brought back the Harqqqani network as well, only to find itself in a conflict it couldn't win.
Monday, April 28, 2014
Karen Greenberg, Abu Ghraib Never Left Us (2 comments)
ere, on the 10th anniversary of the moment when the infamous photos from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq became public, is the story -- in six chapters without an ending -- of an American journey into hell that's still not over. No one has followed this endlessly grim tale more assiduously than TomDispatch regular Karen Greenberg, the chronicler of the creation of the prison at Guantanamo Bay and the editor of The Torture Papers.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Peter Van Buren, I'm a Whistleblower: Want Fries with That? (2 comments)
Today, a personal odyssey in minimum-wage America. After State Department whistleblower and TomDispatch regular Peter Van Buren found himself out of a job and, for months without a pension while his former government employer went after him, he entered the big-box-store minimum-wage economy. From that world he brings us back a vivid picture of life with no way out and no way out.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Todd Miller, The Creation of a Border Security State
TomDispatch has once again sent its regular border correspondent, Todd Miller, out to cover the latest in the militarization and up-armoring of those border zones and, in the process, the creation of a border security state. This stuff couldn’t be more important -- and not just to immigration mavens, either. His latest report takes you from Border Security Expo 2014 to the broiling backlands of Arizona.
Ann Jones, Star-Spangled Baggage
In today’s post, Ann Jones traces that trail, painted in blood and suffering, from the first veterans of the Afghan War to return to Fort Bragg, four of whom murdered their wives (and three of whom then committed suicide). to the present moment. It’s a stunning account of pain and carnage that puts Fort Hood in the kind of perspective you seldom see. Don’t miss it!
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Pentagon, Libya, and Tomorrow's Blowback Today
Here’s the second in Nick Turse’s latest series on the U.S. military’s “Africa creep.” Today, he explores a new Pentagon scheme to train a force for the Libyan government whose recruits will be drawn from already existing and often notorious militias in that strife-torn land. It’s one of those plans that may sound sensible in Pentagon briefings but has “cockamamie” written all over it.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Nick Turse, AFRICOM Becomes a "War-Fighting Combatant Command"
Nick Turse follows the U.S. military ever deeper into Africa (the first of two back-to-back pieces on Africa at TD this week). Turse joined a “webinar” run for top Defense Department engineering contractors whose focus was the U.S. military on that continent. He was the only reporter and so got to hear what AFRICOM spokespeople say when they’re speaking bluntly.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
Astra Taylor, Misogyny and the Cult of Internet Openness
The Internet has been hailed for its “openness” and its democratic spirit even as it’s taken real world disparities and inequalities online and often amplified them. TomDispatch gets at this issue in a powerful way via a Rebecca Solnit-introduced piece by documentary filmmaker Astra Taylor, adapted from her new book, The People’s Platform. Today, Taylor explores what’s happened to women online.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Tomgram: Laura Gottesdiener, Fantasy, Greed, and Housing, the Prequel
As Laura Gottesdiener has been reporting for TomDispatch, predatory investment firms are building "rental empires" nationally by buying up foreclosed properties by the thousands, renting them back to working people, and bundling up those properties to sell to Wall Street. Today, Gottesidener turns her sights to New York City, where the rental racket has been underway for years and the results have been instructively grim.
Monday, April 7, 2014
Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, No-Fly-List America
It’s rare that we ever get a glimpse of how our expanding secret state really works. But every now and then, a single case can suddenly illuminate an otherwise dark landscape. Such is Rahinah Ibrahim's case, vividly laid out by former State Department whistleblower Peter Van Buren today at TomDispatch, and it should chill you to the bone.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Tomgram: Engelhardt, The Bermuda Triangle of National Security
Here’s a conundrum for you. Since 2001, the U.S. national security state has rarely played a card that hasn’t been trumped. (You can do the list yourself: Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, etc., etc.) Yet every disastrous step they’ve taken has only tightened their grip on state power here. It’s given them more money, more areas to control, and so on.
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Tomgram: Michael Klare, Shooting Up on Big Energy
Michael Klare asks whether there’s only one way to explain our present world and the continuing commitment to ratcheting up the burning fossil fuels as if (if you’ll excuse the phrase) there were no tomorrow -- what he calls “carbon delirium.” His piece is about our planetary leaders, Big Energy, and addiction to fossil fuels -- and the sort of 12-step program we’ll need to bring all this to heel
Monday, March 31, 2014
Tomgram: In Memoriam: Jonathan Schell (1943-2014)
Jonathan Schell died last week and today, at TomDispatch, I pay tribute to him with a piece of my own, “The Widening Lens,” and a never-before-online interview with him from historian Chris Appy’s book on the Vietnam War from all sides, Patriots, that takes us back to his formative moments as a young reporter.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Tomgram: Nick Turse, America's Non-Stop Ops in Africa (2 comments)
For the last several years, Nick Turse has been covering the expansion of U.S. Africa Command and the quiet, under-the-radar-screen growth of U.S. operations on that continent at TomDispatch. Today, Turse offers a revealing look at the quickening pace of U.S. military operations in Africa as the Pentagon prepares for future wars, and the destabilization and blowback it is already helping to sow on that continent.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Tomgram: Crump and Harwood, The Net Closes Around Us
Today’s stunning TomDispatch report by the ACLU’s Catherine Crump and Matthew Harwood on surveillance and the corporate world should chill you to the bone. They offer a wide ranging survey of how your home and your world are going to be turned into an “Internet of Things”; how from your icebox to the street lighting, you are going to be constantly surveilled and others will know essentially everything about you.
Monday, March 24, 2014
Best of TomDispatch: Noam Chomsky, "The Most Dangerous Moment"
He wrote it back in 2012, catching unforgettably the time when, more than half a century ago, we all almost bit the dust. Of course, as you'll see from my introduction, even without his piece I remember well that moment in 1962 when the 18-year-old Tom Engelhardt thought he was toast.