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July 24, 2016
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By Chris Abani

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Tag: Tomdispatch


Letting Tarzan Swing Through History

Tarzan’s remarkable foresight in vanquishing the Belgian evildoers before the worst of King Leopold II’s reign of terror opens the door for his future films, where our hero stops historical catastrophes in their early stages.

Posted on Jul 20, 2016 READ MORE


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An Illegal Military Strategy Disguised as Technological Advance

However they are achieved, the United States has now embraced extrajudicial executions on foreign soil. And most of the discussion has focused more on the new instrument—drone technology—than on its purpose: assassination.

Posted on Jul 18, 2016 READ MORE



Hooked on Fossil Fuels Forever

Whatever the advances of renewable energy, projections suggest fossil fuels will continue to dominate the global landscape for decades to come, accelerating the pace of global warming and ensuring the intensification of climate-change catastrophes.

Posted on Jul 15, 2016 READ MORE



We Have Met the Alien, and He Is Us

Only when we see the evidence of our own invasive nature can we begin to become the kind of land we say we want to be.

Posted on Jul 14, 2016 READ MORE



Donald Trump’s Anti-Establishment Scam

Donald Trump’s going to need the establishment if he’s to have a hope of raising the money and organizing the troops effectively enough to be elected. But power brokers don’t suffer the slings of “outsider” scorn lightly.

Posted on Jul 11, 2016 READ MORE



Where Did the American Century Go?

If huge swaths of the world have begun to disintegrate in an era when minority insurgencies and terror outfits are the worst opponents the U.S. faces, consider what chaos could come to regions where a potentially hostile power remains.

Posted on Jul 9, 2016 READ MORE



Leaker, Speaker, Soldier, Spy: The Charmed Life of David Petraeus

It seems a robust Rolodex with the right global roster, a marquee name and a cultivated geopolitical brand covers a multitude of sins. And that’s precisely the type of firepower that Petraeus brings to the table.

Posted on Jul 6, 2016 READ MORE



We Live in an Age of Disintegration

Nowhere is the process of destabilization more evident than in the Greater Middle East and Africa, in places where it is possible to doubt that civilization will ever return.

Posted on Jun 30, 2016 READ MORE



The Numbers Racket: U.S. Africa Command Clams Up After Contradictory Statements to Congress

Somehow, between 2015 and 2016, more than 200 AFRICOM missions from 2014 simply vanished. And the Senate Armed Services Committee apparently hasn’t bothered to ask for clarification.

Posted on Jun 29, 2016 READ MORE



Dominating the Skies—and Losing the Wars

U.S. pilots have total mastery of the fabled “high ground” of war. And yet throughout the Greater Middle East, America’s conflicts rage on with no endgame in sight.

Posted on Jun 22, 2016 READ MORE



Should George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Others Be Jailed for War Crimes?

We need a full and public accounting of the CIA’s activities, the doings of military and civilian agencies and outfits, the White House’s drone assassination program, and the illegal, devastating invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Posted on Jun 8, 2016 READ MORE



How the Age of Acquiescence Came to an End

The larger-than-life presence of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump on the national stage may be the most improbable political development of the last half-century. It suggests that we are entering a new phase in our public life.

Posted on Jun 2, 2016 READ MORE



A Multitrillion-Dollar Bridge to Nowhere in the Greater Middle East

The assassination of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan is the latest item on a long list of milestones briefly heralded as significant achievements only to prove much less than advertised.

Posted on Jun 1, 2016 READ MORE



The Desperate Plight of Petrostates

Once so wealthy from oil sales that they could finance wars, megaprojects, and domestic social peace simultaneously, Russia, Saudi Arabia and others are now beset by internal strife or are on the brink of collapse as oil prices remain at ruinously low levels.

Posted on May 26, 2016 READ MORE



How to Disappear Money, Pentagon-Style

By keeping us in the dark about how it spends our money, the Pentagon has made it virtually impossible for anyone to hold it accountable for just about anything.

Posted on May 25, 2016 READ MORE



Will the Millennial Movement Rebuild the Ivory Tower or Be Crushed by It?

College administrators tend to shine bright lights on the politics of student protesters that can be absorbed into the system’s business model, while ignoring or downplaying students’ more structural or economically challenging demands.

Posted on May 23, 2016 READ MORE



Do the Bundys Signal the End of the Great American West?

When public land is transferred to states, significant portions end up being sold off to private interests—and that means less wild nature for all Americans to enjoy.

Posted on May 18, 2016 READ MORE



Poof! It’s Forgotten: The Snapchat Version of American Victory

I hope you’ll forgive me if I suggest that the Iraq-Syria War against Islamic State is being conveyed to us via Snapchat. Important things happen, they appear in front of us, and then ... POOF! They’re gone.

Posted on May 16, 2016 READ MORE



The Costs of Violence: Masters of Mankind (Part 2)

Returning to the opening question “Who rules the world?” we might also want to pose another question: “What principles and values rule the world?”

Posted on May 12, 2016 READ MORE



American Power Under Challenge: Masters of Mankind (Part 1)

We cannot gain a realistic understanding of who rules the world while ignoring the “masters of mankind,” as Adam Smith called them: in his day, the merchants and manufacturers of England; in ours, multinational conglomerates, huge financial institutions, retail empires and the like.

Posted on May 11, 2016 READ MORE



Gimme Shelter (From the Tax Man): Disappearing Money and Opportunistic Candidates

While the two leading candidates for the presidency, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, have indeed suggested cosmetic fixes for a situation that only grows more extreme with the passage of time, they have themselves taken advantage of numerous tax “efficiency” strategies that make money evaporate.

Posted on May 9, 2016 READ MORE



What Trumps the Horrors of the South Sudanese Hellscape? The Donald

In a place where catastrophic food insecurity may tip into starvation at any time, where armed men still arrive in the night to steal and rape, a local aid worker wants—seemingly needs—to know if Donald Trump could actually be elected president of the United States.

Posted on May 6, 2016 READ MORE



Donald Trump Is a Sign of American Decline (but Not in the Way You Think)

Donald Trump is the first presidential candidate to run openly and without apology on a platform of American decline.

Posted on Apr 27, 2016 READ MORE



What Really Stands in the Way of Closing Gitmo

With nine months left until a new president is inaugurated, it has to be asked: Can the U.S.’ signature war-on-terror prison at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay ever be closed?

Posted on Apr 21, 2016 READ MORE



Donald Trump and the New ‘News’ Zone

This presidential season’s relentless flood of “news” about Trump may actually be the opposite of news. Believe it or not, there is still a world out there filled with problems we know so much less about than we should because we’re all immersed in the same Trump soup.

Posted on Apr 20, 2016 READ MORE



A Dictionary of Euphemisms for Imperial Decline

Cloaking violent, even murderous actions in anodyne language might help a few doubting functionaries sleep easier at night, but it should make the rest of us profoundly uneasy.

Posted on Apr 18, 2016 READ MORE



Make Trump Great Again! Taking The Donald to Toddler Town

“I almost feel sorry for Trump, because a man so programmed to grab for every headline and steal every show and say whatever he can to keep the hot lights of the media on him undoubtedly wasn’t listened to as a kid.”

Posted on Apr 15, 2016 READ MORE



Talking to the Young in a World That Will Never Truly Be ‘Postwar’

Speaking about my own experiences to high school students heavily propagandized by the U.S. military on the charms and positives of war, American-style, has been changing my life.

Posted on Apr 7, 2016 READ MORE



How the United States Became a Prisoner of War and Congress Went MIA

Through inaction, the legislative branch has surrendered the final remnant of authority it retained on matters relating to whether, when, against whom, and for what purpose the United States should go to war.

Posted on Apr 6, 2016 READ MORE



A Nuclear Armageddon in the Making in South Asia

The nuclear competition between India and Pakistan has entered a spine-chilling phase with Islamabad’s decision to deploy low-yield tactical nuclear arms at its forward-operating military bases along its entire frontier with India.

Posted on Apr 4, 2016 READ MORE



The Inequality Sweepstakes

When you press Democrats on their lousy trade deals or their flaccid response to Wall Street misbehavior, they automatically reply that those awful Republicans wouldn’t let the really good legislation get through. So let’s go to a place where Democratic rule is virtually unopposed and see if the excuse holds.

Posted on Mar 30, 2016 READ MORE



Entering Uncharted Territory in Washington

The new American system that’s been emerging from its chrysalis in recent years already had demagogic, authoritarian and autocratic tendencies. So don’t blame it all on Donald Trump.

Posted on Mar 28, 2016 READ MORE



The Oilman Who Loved Dictators, or How Texaco Supported Fascism

Not one of the hundreds of foreign correspondents who chronicled the bombing of Madrid during the Spanish Civil War looked up at the ominous V-shaped formations of Hitler’s bombers and wondered: Whose fuel is powering those aircraft?

Posted on Mar 21, 2016 READ MORE



Pentagon Excess Has Fueled a Civil-Military Crisis

Like climate change, lymphoma or a termite infestation that destroys from within, an unrecognized and unattended crisis in civil-military relations afflicts the United States.

Posted on Mar 17, 2016 READ MORE



Been There, Done That: The American Way of War as a Do-Over

Yearly do-overs are a hell of a way to run a war, but they’re a great mechanism for ensuring that no one will need to take responsibility for a disaster of 14 years and counting.

Posted on Mar 12, 2016 READ MORE



Energy Wars of Attrition: The Irony of Oil Abundance

The oil attrition wars may not lead us into a future of North American triumphalism or even to a more modest Saudi version of the same but into a strange new world in which an unlimited capacity to produce oil meets an increasingly crippled capitalist system without the capacity to absorb it.

Posted on Mar 11, 2016 READ MORE



In Praise of Impractical Movements

Social movements turn issues and demands considered both unrealistic and politically inconvenient into matters that can no longer be ignored. They succeed, that is, by championing the impractical.

Posted on Mar 10, 2016 READ MORE



Donald Trump and the Remaking of America

Trumpism is not a program or an ideology. It is an attitude or pose that feeds off of, and then reinforces, widespread anger and alienation.

Posted on Mar 3, 2016 READ MORE



Turning American Communities Into War Zones, Death By Death

A crowd of people watched as what CNN described as “a sea of police officers” surrounded Mario Woods and shot him dead. At least two people recorded cellphone videos of what looks eerily like an execution by firing squad.

Posted on Feb 24, 2016 READ MORE



How a Pink Flower Defeated the World’s Sole Superpower

In the American failure in Afghanistan lies the greatest policy paradox of the century: Washington’s massive military juggernaut has been stopped dead in its steel tracks by a pink flower, the opium poppy.

Posted on Feb 22, 2016 READ MORE



Welcome to the United States of Flint

The children of Flint, Mich., are hardly the only ones threatened by lead. There’s a crisis in Baltimore, Herculaneum, Mo., Sebring, Ohio, and even the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. And that’s just to begin the list.

Posted on Feb 11, 2016 READ MORE



‘The Finest Fighting Force in the History of the World’

Here’s my 21st century rule of thumb about this country: If you have to say it over and over, it probably ain’t so.

Posted on Feb 10, 2016 READ MORE



How the Media Hide Undocumented Workers

The Boston Globe presented its recent decision to contract out its delivery service as a clean, technical move to deliver newspapers at lower cost. But that deceptively simple task is in fact provided by some of society’s most exploited and marginalized workers, many of them immigrants and undocumented.

Posted on Feb 4, 2016 READ MORE



The Most Expensive Election Ever Is a Billionaire’s Playground (Except for Bernie Sanders)

Given that our brand of democracy is cold hard cash, let’s examine the relationships between our 21st-century plutocrats and the contenders for the White House.

Posted on Feb 1, 2016 READ MORE



American Democracy Down for the Count?

Most Americans are either overworked or hurting for jobs; housing is overpriced; hospitals, crowded and understaffed. Opioid or heroin overdose is a common way of death. Did the American soldiers I covered in Afghanistan know they were fighting for this?

Posted on Jan 28, 2016 READ MORE



Six National Security Questions the Presidential Candidates Don’t Want to Answer

Instead of considered discussion of first-order security concerns, the candidates have regularly opted for bluff and bluster, their chief aim being to remove all doubts regarding their hawkish bona fides.

Posted on Jan 27, 2016 READ MORE



Failed States and States of Failure

Here, amid Washington’s remarkably unwinnable wars, interventions, and conflicts, is a range of tomorrow’s headlines that could be written today and stand a painfully reasonable chance of coming true.

Posted on Jan 25, 2016 READ MORE



Will American ‘Successes’ Lead to More Iraqi Military Failures?

There’s good news coming out of Iraq ... again. The efforts of a 65-nation coalition and punishing U.S. airstrikes have helped local ground forces roll back gains by Islamic State.

Posted on Jan 22, 2016 READ MORE



Night of the Living Dead, Climate Change-Style

Even as the global warming crisis makes it clear that coal, natural gas and oil are yesterday’s energy, the momentum of two centuries of fossil fuel development means new projects keep emerging in a zombie-like fashion.

Posted on Jan 21, 2016 READ MORE



You Won’t Like It, but Here’s the Answer on Islamic State

Some advice for your presidential candidate of choice—whoever he or she might be. Just don’t expect it to necessarily be an easy sell to all Americans.

Posted on Jan 20, 2016 READ MORE


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