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Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel

Hope: A Tragedy: A Novel

By Shalom Auslander

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Tag: Pentagon


U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Albert F. Hunt

The Business of War

Pentagon whistle-blower Karen Kwiatowski returns to the Truthdig podcast to take stock of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which she says are effectively “a government jobs program for the military and military contractors.”

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Master Sgt. Kevin Gruenwald

Defense Secretary Trims Fat Around the Edges

Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined his spending cuts on Monday, scrapping, among other boondoggles, the F-22, a fighter plane that apparently specialized in Super Bowl flyovers. Despite the cuts, America still spends more on defense than the rest of the world combined. And then there’s the cost of two wars to think about.

Posted on Apr 6, 2009 READ MORE


America’s ‘Long War’ Will Be as Bloody and Pointless as Europe’s

The Thirty Years’ War occupies little space in the school texts of the English-speaking world, but its futility comes to mind when Richard Holbrooke speaks of the war he is supposed to manage, now the Af-Pak war.

Posted on Apr 2, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Sarah Furrer

Awakening on the Wrong Side of the Bed

The Awakening movement isn’t very happy these days. The U.S. has been paying Sunni militants to turn their guns from American soldiers to al-Qaida foreign fighters, a program that has been celebrated for reducing violence in Iraq and is now falling apart. In the words of one Sunni leader who spoke to NPR, “The Americans completely abandoned us.”

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE


‘How Did This Country Get Stuck With an Empire?’

With military personnel deployed in 150 countries, Bill Maher says bringing the troops home from Iraq is only the tip of the iceberg. “Can you imagine if there were 20,000 armed Guatemalans on a base in San Bernardino right now? Lou Dobbs would become a suicide bomber.”

Posted on Mar 30, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / M. Spencer Green

America Is in Need of a Moral Bailout

The methods used to attain what we want, we are told by reality television programs, business schools and self-help gurus, are irrelevant. Success, always defined in terms of money and power, is its own justification. Our moral collapse is as terrifying, and as dangerous, as our economic collapse.

Posted on Mar 23, 2009 READ MORE


What Is the Point of NATO?

NATO today, approaching its 60th birthday, faces the prospect of sending home all of its units not willing to fight in Afghanistan under the American flag. They will go home to “defend” Europe. From whom?

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Tech. Sgt. Cohen A. Young

Military Rapes Jump 9 Percent

“Military women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq,” said Rep. Jane Harman in response to the news that the number of sexual assault reports in the military last year increased by about 9 percent to 2,923. The Pentagon believes the actual number of assaults is five to 10 times higher, because most go unreported.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009 READ MORE



White House / Chris Greenberg

Secret Bush Memos Gave President Even More Power

President Bush’s memo fetish is well documented, but the Obama administration has just made public a series of memos that said the executive had extraordinary powers far beyond those traditionally considered legal. According to the crack legal minds of the Bush administration, the president could overrule the other branches of government.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE



Marine Corps / Lance Cpl. Michael J. Ayotte

It’s Obama’s War Now

Combat troops are to be pulled out of Iraq by August 2010, President Obama said, but some 50,000 occupation troops will remain behind. Someone should let the Iraqis know the distinction.

Posted on Mar 2, 2009 READ MORE


soldier's coffin
AP photo / Department of Defense

Pentagon to Revoke Coffin-Filming Ban

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that the Pentagon will, with some restrictions, allow the media to capture images of flag-draped military coffins entering the U.S. at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, thus reversing a ban on coverage imposed in 1991.

Posted on Feb 26, 2009 READ MORE


America’s Confused Cause in Central Asia

Exactly what do we think we are doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Are we there to liberalize their forms of religious observance, or conduct a war over theology, or establish permanent NATO bases there, or are we searching for Osama bin Laden? It seems that we are doing all of these things at the same time. But why?

Posted on Feb 18, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Petros Giannakouris

Bad News From America’s Top Spy

It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists. Just ask the new director of national intelligence, who warned that the deepening economic crisis could trigger a return to the “violent extremism” of the 1920s and 1930s.

Posted on Feb 16, 2009 READ MORE



DoD

PR Worries Stalled Release of Gitmo Inmates

A 2006 memo from the State Department to the U.S. Transportation Command suggested holding Guantanamo detainees after they had been cleared in order to avoid bad press. “Got it ... Thank you,” was the reply, and indeed, no prisoners flew out of Guantanamo for three months.

Posted on Feb 12, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Afghan Trap

Have we learned nothing from the Iraq war? The Obama regime is gunning for more fighting in Afghanistan at a time when the U.S. should be seeking more talk.

Posted on Feb 11, 2009 READ MORE


A Team of Zombies

Only weeks ago, the political world was buzzing about a “team of rivals,” but instead President Obama has populated his administration with Bush yes-men and Wall Street kleptocrats whose discredited theologies cannot be killed.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE



USAF / Tech. Sgt. Charlein Sheets

Pentagon Propaganda Is Booming

The military’s spin budget—covering recruitment, advertising and public relations—has jumped 63 percent over the last five years, to $4.7 billion, according to a yearlong investigation by the Associated Press. The Pentagon pays nearly as many people to influence public opinion as the State Department has in its entire work force.

Posted on Feb 5, 2009 READ MORE


Soldiers
news.sky.com

Army Suicide Rate Highest in Decades

Adding to the solemn string of record-breaking statistics, new figures show that the suicide rate among U.S. Army members has hit its highest level in three decades. Last year, over 128 soldiers took their own lives, a telling sign of our military and political climate.

Posted on Jan 30, 2009 READ MORE


Guantanamo tower
U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Jon Soucy

Guantanamo Judge, Obama at Odds Over Trial Delay

Army Col. James Pohl, a military judge at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has gone against President Barack Obama’s call to suspend the hearing of the alleged orchestrator of the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen.

Posted on Jan 29, 2009 READ MORE


NATO: Dead Man Walking

NATO has no coherent overall purpose and has not had one since the end of the Cold War. Any number of redefinitions and reorganizations have been proposed or tried and have proved unsatisfactory because no one can explain what it is that NATO really does or is for, other than to clean up behind the United States.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE


Civilian Courts Can Deal With Terrorism Cases

There is absolutely no reason to create some newfangled and untested system to charge and try those few terrorism suspects whose legal fates present President Obama with an excruciating political decision.

Posted on Jan 27, 2009 READ MORE


Who’s in Charge—Obama, the Pentagon or Israel?

The military is far too accustomed to getting its way, so it was refreshing to see Barack Obama reject the Pentagon’s sluggish withdrawal plan. But will he stand up to Israel, whose Prime Minister Olmert recently bragged about pulling the American president’s puppet strings?

Posted on Jan 15, 2009 READ MORE



mexicanpictures.com

Back to the Future: U.S. to Arm Afghan Militias

Because it worked out so well the last time, the U.S. plans to arm Afghan militias in an effort to police the country. The Pentagon is presenting this plan—and the media are reporting it—as a spinoff of a successful strategy in Iraq, not a revival of the secret war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE


Let's Get Ready to Rumsfeld
AP photo / Rick Browmer

Senate Panel’s Report on U.S. Torture Abuse

Read the devastating bipartisan report from the Senate Armed Services Committee that indicts high-level Bush administration officials—including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld—as bearing major responsibility for the torture at Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, and other detention facilities.

Posted on Dec 12, 2008 READ MORE



USAF / Master Sgt. Kristen Stanley

For Pentagon, More Wal-Mart, Less Gucci

“It is going to be more of a Wal-Mart approach than a Gucci approach.” That’s how a senior Defense Department official, quoted in the L.A. Times, describes perennial Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ vision for Pentagon spending priorities.

Posted on Dec 9, 2008 READ MORE


Clinton and Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Keeping Track of Change

For anyone seeking real reform of America’s foreign and defense policies in the years ahead, the introduction of Barack Obama’s national security team last Monday was a mixed bag. Yet what these and other appointments really suggest about Obama’s broader prospects for reform requires vigilant public attention.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 READ MORE


Remaking the World in America’s Image

The evidence suggests that American policy under Barack Obama will be a continuation of the neoconservative foreign policy of the Bush administration, given a human face.

Posted on Dec 4, 2008 READ MORE


Taking Over Bush’s Endless War

Terrorism (for the umpteenth time) is a tactic, not an enemy. One of the most urgent tasks for President-elect Barack Obama’s “team of rivals” is coming up with a coherent intellectual framework—and a winning battle plan—for George W. Bush’s globe-spanning “war on terror.”

Posted on Dec 1, 2008 READ MORE



USAF / Tech. Sgt. Jerry Morrison

Gates to Keep the Reins of War

Multiple news outlets, from ABC to Fox, now confirm that Robert Gates will retain his post as secretary of defense for at least the first year of the Obama administration. The president-elect will roll out Gates and his other hawks during a national security team unveiling next week.

Posted on Nov 25, 2008 READ MORE



USAF / Staff Sgt. Samuel Rogers

Bush’s Follies Will Destroy Obama If He Lets Them

Barack Obama has no choice but to accept responsibility for America’s foreign policy crises. But why should he accept them on the distorted and even hysterical terms by which the Bush administration has defined world affairs since 2001?

Posted on Nov 25, 2008 READ MORE


Why Obama Can Keep Gates

If the prospect of appointing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state irritates the Obama base, what will they make of keeping the man who has executed President Bush’s policies at the Pentagon?

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE


To Each His Own Nuke

The cynical view of national sovereignty holds that it belongs only to those who can defend it. This was said recently at the Pentagon concerning American manned and unmanned attacks inside Pakistan.

Posted on Nov 20, 2008 READ MORE



DoD / Tech. Sgt. Jerry Morrison, USAF

Gates Might Stick Around

The Financial Times is reporting that Barack Obama is keen to have Robert Gates stay on as defense secretary. The paper says the two are currently negotiating their differences, but then that’s the whole point: Obama wants people who disagree with him in his Cabinet.

Posted on Nov 18, 2008 READ MORE


How Many Villages Must We Bomb Before We Find bin Laden?

Barack Obama has said that he is not against war, only against stupid wars. One might then reasonably ask if the present war in Afghanistan is not a stupid war?

Posted on Nov 13, 2008 READ MORE


This Is What He’s Sorry About?

It was nothing Bush did—no decision he made, no policy he pursued, no faith that he placed in ideological dogma—that he finds regrettable. Bush told a cable network, “I regret saying some things I shouldn’t have said” over the course of eight tumultuous years.

Posted on Nov 13, 2008 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / Petty Officer 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa

Military Spending ‘Not Sustainable’

The Defense Business Board, an official oversight body appointed by the secretary of defense, has warned the president-elect that the Pentagon’s bloated budget ($512 billion this year, not including war costs) is “not sustainable.” An unprecedented spending spree since 9/11 has run head-on into a financial meltdown, and Barack Obama is now stuck in the middle.

Posted on Nov 10, 2008 READ MORE


Neocons Plot to Co-Opt Obama

The president-elect is a foreign policy novice and will find himself under great pressure to follow Middle Eastern and China and Russia policies inherited from George Bush, even though these are what Barack Obama was elected to change or terminate.

Posted on Nov 6, 2008 READ MORE


What McCain and Obama Just Don’t Get About Central Asia

There are only two real issues left in the foreign policy debate between John McCain and Barack Obama. Yet neither the Iraq nor the Afghanistan issue is within the power of any American president to resolve.

Posted on Oct 7, 2008 READ MORE


Will the Pentagon Be the Next U.S. Institution to Crash?

Less apparent to most people than the economic crisis, but just as real, are the signs of an impending crash of an American military system in which, since the end of the Cold War, Pentagon dysfunction has metastasized so uncontrollably as to scandalize the men who have overseen it.

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 READ MORE


Pentagon
flickr.com/mindfrieze

The Bailout vs. the Defense Budget

There has been much moaning, air-sucking and outrage about the U.S. government’s $700-billion bailout deal, but in fact we dole out similar amounts of money every year in the form of payoffs to the armed services, the military-industrial complex, and powerful senators and representatives allied with the Pentagon.

Posted on Sep 28, 2008 READ MORE


Back in the USSR

In the late 1990s, Washington was in the throes of a deregulatory orgy. Many lampooned Rep. Bernie Sanders’ opposition to the grotesquerie, and his notoriety as the only self-described socialist in Congress. Nobody guessed that in a few years our country would become the United States’ Socialist Republic.

Posted on Sep 25, 2008 READ MORE


KC-45/30
Northrop Grumman

$40 Billion Tanker Contract Grounded

Unnecessary and extraordinarily expensive, the once-green-lit controversial KC-X midair refueling tanker program has stalled, according to the Pentagon. Any movement on the $40 billion contract to purchase new Air Force tankers will have to wait for the next U.S. administration, a clear sign that military-industrial complex spending is an institutional, rather than administrative, problem.

Posted on Sep 10, 2008 READ MORE


The Cost of Saakashvili’s Folly

The West’s response to the situation in Georgia evades acknowledgement of the damage Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili has done to the United States and NATO, and to Georgia itself, which for the foreseeable future will now be a nation of limited sovereignty, and an awkward embarrassment to its Western allies.

Posted on Aug 26, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

A War of Self-Destruction

An attack on Iran, which Israeli and Bush administration officials appear set to carry out if Iranian uranium enrichment is not halted, would ignite a regional war in the Middle East and lead to economic collapse and political upheaval in the United States.

Posted on Aug 4, 2008 READ MORE


Donald Rumsfeld
DoD photo / Chad J. McNeeley

The Return of Rumsfeld

Is the master of the rhetorical question back? Well, in spirit at least. Truthdig contributor Allen McDuffee warns that a group of Democratic foreign policy hawks is pushing one of Donald Rumsfeld’s big ideas for overhauling the U.S. military. These are the same security-obsessed Democrats, by the way, who helped sell the Iraq war to the American people.

Posted on Jul 30, 2008 READ MORE


U.S. Keeps Bombing Weddings

Apparently, the Bush administration is also against straight marriage—if you live in the desert under U.S. military occupation. Tom Engelhardt details seven years of wedding crashing in Afganistan and Iraq, and the notable lack of remorse on the part of the Pentagon.

Posted on Jul 15, 2008 READ MORE


Kunar Province attack

U.S. Generals in Afghanistan Ask for More Armored Vehicles

Following this weekend’s attack in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, in which nine American soldiers were killed by Afghan insurgents, U.S. commanders have asked the Pentagon for more heavily armored MRAP vehicles—as many as 600 to 1,000 more—according to this CNN report from Monday morning.

Posted on Jul 14, 2008 READ MORE



AP photo / Hasan Sarbakhshian

Iran Shows Its Cards

Iran’s recent missile tests should remove all doubt that an attack by either the United States or Israel would be a terrible mistake.

Posted on Jul 14, 2008 READ MORE


Chinese flight to Taiwan
AP photo / Greg Baker

Taiwan Declares Peace on China

You can’t trust the Chinese. I don’t care if you’re talking about those communists on the mainland or the other guys on Taiwan; they just won’t follow the war-games script that our weapons hawks had counted on.

Posted on Jul 8, 2008 READ MORE


Gorby doll
Flickr / h-angele

Gorbachev Scolds Obama and McCain

According to Mikhail Gorbachev, John McCain and Barack Obama have more in common than they’d like to admit. Both have refused to address their country’s unprecedented military spending, which the former Soviet leader blames for America’s economic woes. Writing in a Russian newspaper, Gorbachev argued that the U.S. behaves “as if the Cold War were not a thing of the past, and the country were surrounded by enemies.”

Posted on Jul 8, 2008 READ MORE


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