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Tag: Tom Engelhardt


The Senate Drone Report of 2019

Three years into a sagging Clinton presidency and a bitterly divided Congress, the 500-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s long fought-over, much-delayed, heavily redacted report on the secret CIA drone wars was finally released. Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) took to the Senate floor, and said…

Posted on Dec 19, 2014 READ MORE



Party On!

Unbelievably enough, a bankrupt 13-year-old policy of war to the horizon remains ascendant in Washington, and “war fever” seems to be breaking out yet again. In this context, it’s curious that four crucial aspects of war, American-style, were missing from the blitz of Hagel reportage.

Posted on Dec 4, 2014 READ MORE



Russians Invade Afghanistan (Again!), Chinese Fight Iraq War (Again!)

After 13 years of doing its damnedest, the U.S. has overseen the rise of the dominant narco-state on the planet with monopoly control over up to 90 percent of the global opium supply and 75 percent of the heroin. It’s also been complicit in the creation of the first terrorist mini-oil state in history, a post-al-Qaeda triumph of extreme jihadism.

Posted on Nov 27, 2014 READ MORE



Shrinking the Empire: A Session on the Imperial Couch

What follows is a transcript of a therapy session between the American Empire and a psychiatrist whose name we at TomDispatch have agreed not to disclose. Normally we wouldn’t consider publishing such a private encounter, but the probative news value of the exchange is so obvious that we decided to make an exception.

Posted on Nov 13, 2014 READ MORE



Building an Escalation Machine

Sometimes it seemed that only two issues mattered in the midterm election campaigns just ended: ISIS and Ebola. Think of them as the two horsemen of the present American apocalypse. And count on this: Oppositional pressure to escalate will be a significant factor in Washington “debates” in the last years of the Obama administration.

Posted on Nov 6, 2014 READ MORE



Studs Terkel on Death and Forgiveness in America

I’ve chosen two interviews from Terkel’s oral history of death which stayed with me these last 13 years. The first focuses on an impulse that may be among the hardest to understand and yet most moving to encounter, forgiveness; and the second centers on a subject that, unfortunately, is still all too timely: the trauma deaths of young Americans from gunshot wounds.

Posted on Oct 31, 2014 READ MORE



Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying

Having seen her remarkable new film on Edward Snowden, “Citizenfour,” in a packed house at the New York Film Festival, I sat down with Laura Poitras in a tiny conference room at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City to discuss just how our world has changed and her part in it.

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 READ MORE



ISIS in Washington

Two Saturdays ago, a friend of a friend mentioned that “given ISIS, maybe neither” New York City nor Washington, D.C. “is such a great place to be right now.” Moments after she left, I had the urge to bolt down the stairs, catch up to her, and say: “Whatever you do, don’t step off the curb. That’s where danger lies in American life. ISIS, not so much.”

Posted on Oct 9, 2014 READ MORE



Entering the Intelligence Labyrinth

In a capital riven by fierce political disagreements, just about everyone agrees on the absolute, total and ultimate importance of the “U.S. Intelligence Community” and whatever its top officials might decide in order to keep this country safe and secure.

Posted on Oct 3, 2014 READ MORE



The Great Concentration or the Great Fragmentation?

For most of the last several hundred years the story in view focused on an imperial struggle for power on planet Earth. But another story was developing in the shadows, and has accelerated in seemingly disastrous ways in our own time under some disintegrative pressure.

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 READ MORE



How America Made ISIS: Their Videos and Ours, Their ‘Caliphate’ and Ours

Minus a couple of invasions, the steps being considered or already in effect to deal with “the threat of ISIS” are a reasonable summary of the last 13 years of what was once called the Global War on Terror and now has no name at all.

Posted on Sep 2, 2014 READ MORE



The Fourth Branch

As every schoolchild knows, there are three check-and-balance branches of the U.S. government: the executive, Congress, and the judiciary. That’s bedrock Americanism and the most basic high school civics material. Only one problem: It’s just not so.

Posted on Aug 4, 2014 READ MORE



The Future Is Not Ours (and Neither Is the Past)

The famed fog of war is nothing compared to the fog of the future or, as I’ve often said, I’d be regularly riding my jetpack in traffic through the spired city of New York, as I was promised in my childhood. Our urge to predict the future is unsurpassed. Our ability to see it as it will be: next to nil.

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 READ MORE



Who Won Iraq?

Bush and his top officials remade reality in Iraq on an almost unimaginable scale and, as we study the region today, the results bear no relation to the world they imagined creating. On the other hand, there were two dreams they had that, after a fashion, did come into existence.

Posted on Jun 19, 2014 READ MORE



How to Forgive Your Torturer

When I read the statistics on Americans and Britons that approve of torture, a scene comes back to me. I remember a man I met 20 years ago, not in my native Latin America or in faraway lands where torture is endemic, but in the extremely English town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Posted on Jun 17, 2014 READ MORE



Don’t Walk Away From War

Here are five straightforward lessons—none acceptable in what passes for discussion and debate in this country—that could be drawn from that last half century of every kind of American warfare.

Posted on Jun 12, 2014 READ MORE



The Last Commencement Address: Surveilling the Class of 2014

Internet Class of 2014, I’m in awe of you! To this giant, darkened auditorium filled with sparkling screens of every sort, welcome!

Posted on May 29, 2014 READ MORE



Climate Change as a Weapon of Mass Destruction

Unlike various fantasies promulgated by the Bush and Obama administrations during the first 14 years of this century, there is a weapon of mass destruction that could do staggering damage to or someday simply drown New York City, Washington, D.C., Miami, and other East Coast cities.

Posted on May 23, 2014 READ MORE



Mapping the Chinese Conquest of the Planet

According to a map I made and recently discovered in my high school history textbook, I would have been 24 when I became a “Red Chinese” subject, and atomic weapons would have been removed from the equation.

Posted on May 8, 2014 READ MORE



Knowledge Is Crime

There is but one crime for which anyone in America’s national security state can be held accountable in a court of law, and that’s leaking information that might put those in it in a bad light or simply let the American public know something more about what its government is really doing.

Posted on Apr 21, 2014 READ MORE



AFRICOM Goes to War on the Sly

At a recent Pentagon news conference, the AFRICOM commander assured reporters that the U.S. “has little forward presence” in Africa. Just days earlier, however, the men building that presence told a very different story to some of the biggest military engineering firms on the planet. And the story was of war.

Posted on Apr 14, 2014 READ MORE



Hijacking the American Plane of State

Isn’t there something strangely reassuring when your eyeballs are gripped by a “mystery” on the news that has no greater meaning and yet sweeps all else away?

Posted on Apr 3, 2014 READ MORE



Tomgram: In Memoriam: Jonathan Schell (1943-2014)

Jonathan Schell was in the early days of this century perhaps the only person who imagined that, in our future, lay an Arab Spring, an Occupy Movement and whatever-is-still-to-come.

Posted on Mar 31, 2014 READ MORE



Advice Too Secret to Ignore

Col. Manners answers questions on CIA practices, proper cyberwar behavior, and invasion etiquette.

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 READ MORE



A New World Order?

Increasingly, the unitary status of states is being called into question. Civil war, violence, and internecine struggles of various sorts are visibly on the rise. In many cases, state power seems to be draining away to no other state’s gain. So here’s one question: Where exactly is power located on our planet right now?

Posted on Mar 3, 2014 READ MORE



How a Thug State Operates

In the twenty-first century, the NSS has already generated hundreds of millions of documents that could not be read by an American without a security clearance. Of those, thanks to one man (via various journalists), we have had access to a tiny percentage of perhaps 1.7 million of them.

Posted on Feb 21, 2014 READ MORE



Ending the World the Human Way

Climate change isn’t the news and it isn’t a set of news stories. It’s the prospective end of all news. Think of it as the anti-news.

Posted on Feb 3, 2014 READ MORE



The Golden Age of Journalism?

Only in the years that shrank the screen to your desk, then your hand, now your pocket—and one day soon on your eyeglasses—did it became apparent that throughout the print era the newspaper had been misnamed.

Posted on Jan 23, 2014 READ MORE



Tsevis (CC BY-SA 2.0)

American Jihad 2014

Imagine what we call “national security” as, at heart, a proselytizing warrior religion. It has its holy orders, sacred, classified texts, dogma and warrior priests. It has seminaries, which we call think tanks. It is a monotheistic faith that broaches no alternatives to itself. And as with so many religions, its god is an eye in the sky, an all-seeing being who knows your secrets.

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 READ MORE



New York Post

‘Bride and Boom!’

The headline was spectacular, if you think killing people in distant lands is a blast and a half. Of course, you have to imagine that smirk line in giant black letters with a monstrous exclamation point covering most of the bottom third of the front page of the Murdoch-owned New York Post.

Posted on Dec 21, 2013 READ MORE



David C. Foster (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The American Way of Manners

Dear Col. Manners, In a recent New York Times piece, reporters James Risen and Laura Poitras describe the agency’s long-term goal as “being able to collect virtually everything available in the digital world.” Or as one of the NSA’s programs, Treasure Map, puts it: “any device, anywhere, all the time.” Doesn’t this strike you as overreach of a major sort?

Posted on Dec 2, 2013 READ MORE



kevin dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Boo!

Does what should be deeply disturbing, even apocalyptically terrifying, in the present moment strike many of us as the equivalent of so many movie-made terrors—shivers and fears produced in a world so far beyond us that we can do nothing about them?

Posted on Nov 25, 2013 READ MORE



Navicore (CC BY 2.0)

Mistaking Omniscience for Omnipotence

At the moment, Washington seems to be operating in a world in which the more you know about the secret lives of others, the less powerful you turn out to be.

Posted on Nov 14, 2013 READ MORE



smplstc (CC BY 2.0)

Always and Everywhere

The abiding defect of U.S. foreign policy? It’s isolationism, my friend: fostering war, impeding the spread of democracy and inhibiting trade and prosperity.

Posted on Oct 25, 2013 READ MORE



DVIDSHUB (CC BY 2.0)

Why Washington Can’t Stop

In terms of advanced and unchallenged military power, there has been nothing like the U.S. armed forces since the Mongols swept across Eurasia. No wonder American presidents now regularly use phrases like “the finest fighting force the world has ever known” to describe it.

Posted on Oct 24, 2013 READ MORE



Hossam el-Hamalawy ???? ???????? (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Business of America Is War

There is a new normal in America: our government may shut down, but our wars continue. Congress may not be able to pass a budget, but the U.S. military can still launch commando raids in Libya and Somalia, and the military-industrial complex can still dominate the world’s arms trade.

Posted on Oct 20, 2013 READ MORE



Beverly & Pack (CC BY 2.0)

The Etiquette of War and Surveillance

An old and knowledgeable friend, Colonel Manners (ret.), is ready to step into the void left by the Dear Abby column in the classic military newspaper Stars and Stripes. His assignment: to answer letters from Americans puzzled by the etiquette, manners, and language of the arcane national security world of Washington.

Posted on Oct 12, 2013 READ MORE



psd (CC BY 2.0)

(The Difficulty of) Looking at Climate Change

Though websites and print media may give us the news, they seldom give us the scale of the news or a real sense of the proportional importance of one thing compared to another. And proportion, scale, is the main news we need right now—maybe always.

Posted on Oct 10, 2013 READ MORE



The U.S. Army (CC BY 2.0)

Bragging Rights

Let’s be Americans, which means being exceptional, which also means being honest in ways inconceivable to the rest of humanity. So here’s the truth of it: the American exceptionalism sweepstakes really do matter. Here. A lot.

Posted on Sep 27, 2013 READ MORE



bark (CC BY 2.0)

Destroying the Right to Be Left Alone

While in these last months the NSA has cast a long, dark shadow over American privacy, don’t for a second imagine that it’s the only government agency systematically and often secretly intruding on our lives. A remarkable traffic jam of local, state, and federal government authorities turn out to be exploiting technology to wriggle into the most intimate crevices of our lives.

Posted on Sep 22, 2013 READ MORE



World Can't Wait (CC BY 2.0)

Letter to an Unknown Whistle-Blower

Dear Whistle-Blower: I don’t know who you are or what you do or how old you may be. I just know that you exist somewhere in our future as surely as does tomorrow or next year.

Posted on Sep 19, 2013 READ MORE



The National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center (CC BY 2.0)

Alone and Delusional on Planet Earth

In an increasingly phantasmagorical world, here’s my present fantasy of choice.

Posted on Sep 6, 2013 READ MORE



University of Massachusetts Press

Teenagers in Space

In the 1970s, those in a position to produce movies, TV shows, comics, novels, or memoirs about Vietnam were convinced that Americans felt badly enough without such reminders. It was simpler to consider the war film and war toy casualties of Vietnam than to create cultural products with the wrong heroes, victims, and villains.

Posted on Aug 16, 2013 READ MORE



University of Massachusetts Press

The Secret History of G.I. Joe

Joe, like much else in his era, was hardly what he seemed. Launched the year Lyndon Johnson ran for president as a peace candidate against Barry Goldwater while his administration was secretly planning the large-scale bombing of North Vietnam, Joe, too, was involved in a cover-up.

Posted on Aug 15, 2013 READ MORE



Jordan McCullough (CC BY 2.0)

The Third Carbon Age

Don’t imagine for a second that we’re headed for an age dominated by renewable energy. Instead, humanity is pioneering the third great carbon era, the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas.

Posted on Aug 9, 2013 READ MORE



Tony Fischer Photography (CC BY 2.0)

I Only Regret That I Have But One Life to Give for My Country: Yours

Washington is now spy central. It surveils not just potential future enemies, but also its closest allies as if they were enemies. Increasingly, the structure built to do a significant part of that spying is aimed at Americans, too, and on a scale that is no less breathtaking.

Posted on Aug 8, 2013 READ MORE



Lars P. (CC BY 2.0)

Never Again Enough

The crucial question for Phoenix, for the Colorado, and for the greater part of the American West is this: How long will the water hold out?

Posted on Aug 1, 2013 READ MORE



hsingy (CC BY 2.0)

Now You See Him, Now You Don’t

After years in absentia, retired CIA operative Robert Seldon Lady reappeared out of nowhere on the border between Panama and Costa Rica. And then—poof!—he vanished a second time. Not another news story was heard here in the U.S.

Posted on Jul 29, 2013 READ MORE



WordRidden (CC BY 2.0)

Political Dreaming in the Twenty-First Century

All right, I confess: I have a dream. I bet you do, too. I bet yours, like mine, is of a far, far better world not only for yourself and your loved ones, but for everyone on this beleaguered planet of ours.

Posted on Jul 27, 2013 READ MORE



Abode of Chaos (CC BY 2.0)

How to Be a Rogue Superpower

From the time Edward Snowden’s first leaks came out, it was obvious he was in control of how much of the NSA’s secret world would be seen. But the Obama administration went after him anyway. No thought of future embarrassment stopped officials, nor possible resentments engendered by their heavy-handed pressure on numerous foreign governments.

Posted on Jul 17, 2013 READ MORE


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