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Tag: Tomdispatch


A Letter of Apology to My Grandson

When I stumbled into the future in all its grim horror, I felt an urge that seemed uncomplicated: not to hand your mother and uncle a degraded country, planet, new century without lifting a finger in opposition, without at least trying. I felt the need to mobilize myself in a new way for the future I’d seen.

Posted on Apr 23, 2015 READ MORE



Sex, Drugs and Dead Soldiers: What the U.S. Africa Command Doesn’t Want You to Know

As American military operations have ramped up across Africa, reports of excessive drinking, sex with prostitutes, drug use, sexual assaults, and other forms of violence by AFRICOM personnel have escalated, and many of them have been kept under wraps.

Posted on Apr 22, 2015 READ MORE



The Continuing Depopulation of Detroit

The city that was the arsenal of the 20th century may also provide the blueprint for a more precarious era: 100,000 of its residents are on what many call an eviction “conveyor belt.”

Posted on Apr 20, 2015 READ MORE



Transition From Fossil Fuel to Green Energy Is Gaining Traction

Four key trends could speed the transition to renewables: the world’s growing determination to put a brake on climate change; a sea change in China’s stance on growth and the environment; the increasing embrace of green energy in the developing world; and the growing affordability of renewable energy.

Posted on Apr 16, 2015 READ MORE



Manhunters Inc.: How the Predator Became Washington’s Calling Card

The metamorphosis of the drone from eye to weapon came about almost by chance as the new millennium began. Barely two months after the outbreak of hostilities in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush declared: “It is clear the military does not have enough unmanned vehicles.”

Posted on Apr 9, 2015 READ MORE



Plutocracy the First Time Around

Aversion to the new industrial order and a “democratic feeling” in the late 19th century brought workers, storekeepers, lawyers and businessmen of all sorts together, appalled by the behavior of large industrialists who often enough didn’t live in those communities and so were the more easily seen as alien beings.

Posted on Apr 3, 2015 READ MORE



The Great Game in Afghanistan: a 21st Century Update

As the chances for peace talks between the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the unbeaten Taliban brighten, the Obama administration finds itself gradually but unmistakably reduced to the status of bystander.

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 READ MORE



On Women Who Refused to Live in Silence and Be Consigned to Oblivion

In 1919 Rosa Luxemburg, the revolutionary, was murdered in Berlin. Her killers bludgeoned her with rifle blows and tossed her into the waters of a canal. Along the way, she lost a shoe.

Posted on Mar 30, 2015 READ MORE



Your Money at War Everywhere

President Obama wants to raise the Pentagon’s budget for fiscal year 2016 by $35 billion more than the law currently allows. Sen. John McCain wants to see Obama’s $35 billion and raise him $17 billion more.

Posted on Mar 26, 2015 READ MORE



Pleading Guilty (to Insubordination)

In the current age of “lean-in” feminism at one end of the spectrum and an “anti-respectability” discourse at the other, an essay by Howard Zinn reminds us of an earlier meaning of women’s liberation.

Posted on Mar 25, 2015 READ MORE



The New American Order

Political campaigns and elections; the privatization of Washington; the de-legitimization of traditional governance; the national security state as an untouchable fourth branch of government; the demobilization of “we the people.” These are five areas in which the outlines of the new U.S. order are emerging.

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 READ MORE



The Big Dick School of American Patriotism

The BDSP is based on a bedrock belief in how America should work: that the only strength that really matters is military and that a great country is one with the capacity to beat the bejesus out of everyone else.

Posted on Mar 18, 2015 READ MORE



Rationalizing Lunacy: The Intellectual as Servant of the State

Let me propose an experiment: Put our policy intellectuals on furlough. Not permanently—just until the last of the winter snow finally melts in New England. Let’s see if we are able to make do without them for a month or two.

Posted on Mar 9, 2015 READ MORE



To Drill or Not to Drill—That Is the Question

Major oil company Royal Dutch Shell wants to drill in the Chukchi Sea this summer. In the long term, that could spell doom for one of the last great relatively untouched oceanic environments on the planet.

Posted on Mar 4, 2015 READ MORE



Ten Commandments for a Better American World

My suspicion is that what’s right and moral is also what’s practical and realistic. In that light, let me offer Ten Commandments for a better world in general.

Posted on Mar 2, 2015 READ MORE



The Great Game in the Holy Land

Almost all the current wars, uprisings and other conflicts in the Middle East are connected by an increasingly frenzied competition to find, extract and market fossil fuels whose future consumption is guaranteed to lead to a set of cataclysmic environmental crises.

Posted on Feb 27, 2015 READ MORE



Watching the Same Movie About American War for 75 Years

“American Sniper,” which started out with the celebratory tagline “the most lethal sniper in U.S. history” and now has the tagline “the most successful war movie of all time,” is just the latest in a long line of films that have kept Americans on their war game.

Posted on Feb 20, 2015 READ MORE



Walking Back the American 21st Century?

Not so long ago, that 9/11 “changed everything” seemed like the hyperbolic cliché of a past era. From the present moment, however, it looks ever more like a sober description of what actually happened.

Posted on Feb 19, 2015 READ MORE



Once White in America

The second and third times I fell in love with black bodies I became a black body, in a way I’d say without shame and some humor, for mine is dark tan called white. But I am the carrier, I am the body who carried them, released on a river of blood.

Posted on Feb 16, 2015 READ MORE



Saying No to Torture

Why was it again that, as President Obama said, “we tortured some folks” after the 9/11 attacks? Oh, right, because we were terrified.

Posted on Feb 12, 2015 READ MORE



Burying Vietnam, Launching Perpetual War

How do you commemorate the Vietnam War, the signature catastrophe of the 1960s? You probably know the answer: leave out every troubling memory and simply say: “Let’s honor all our military veterans for their service and sacrifice.”

Posted on Feb 9, 2015 READ MORE



The Lone-Wolf Terror Trap

The shadow of a new threat seems to be darkening the national security landscape: the lone-wolf terrorist. But most of what pundits and officials claim about it simply isn’t true.

Posted on Feb 5, 2015 READ MORE



Why There Is No Massive Anti-War Movement in America

I.F. Stone’s sign-off, that medic’s song, and my letter all are documents from a time when Americans could be in opposition to, while also feeling in service to, their country. They are documents from a lost world and so would, I suspect, have little meaning to the young of the present moment.

Posted on Feb 3, 2015 READ MORE



Save Us From Washington’s Visionaries

En route back to Washington at the tail end of his most recent overseas trip, John Kerry, America’s peripatetic secretary of state, stopped off in France “to share a hug with all of Paris.” Whether Paris reciprocated the secretary’s embrace went unrecorded.

Posted on Jan 30, 2015 READ MORE



Gaza in Arizona

In October 2012, a brigadier general for the Israel Defense Forces explained his country’s border policing strategies at a border technology conference in El Paso, Texas. “We have learned lots from Gaza,” he told the audience. “It’s a great laboratory.”

Posted on Jan 26, 2015 READ MORE



The Golden Age of Black Ops

Just 66 days into fiscal 2015—America’s most elite troops had already set foot in 105 nations, approximately 80 percent of 2014’s total. This secret war across much of the planet remains unknown to most Americans.

Posted on Jan 20, 2015 READ MORE



Your Home Is Your Prison

On January 27th, domestic violence survivor Marissa Alexander will walk out of Florida’s Duval County jail—but she won’t be free.

Posted on Jan 19, 2015 READ MORE



Is This Country Crazy?

I still remember a time when to be an American was to be envied. The country where I grew up after World War II seemed to be respected and admired around the world for way too many reasons to go into here.

Posted on Jan 12, 2015 READ MORE



Carbon Counterattack

Instead of retreating from a moral assault that portrays them as the enemies of humankind, the major oil, gas and coal companies have gone on the offensive, extolling their contributions to human progress and minimizing the potential for renewables to replace fossil fuels in just about any imaginable future.

Posted on Jan 9, 2015 READ MORE



The War to Start All Wars

As we end another year of endless war in Washington, it might be the perfect time to reflect on the War That Started All Wars—or at least the war that started all of Washington’s post-Cold War wars: the invasion of Panama.

Posted on Dec 22, 2014 READ MORE



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



Go West, Young Han

The new Yiwu-Madrid railway across Eurasia is the first building block on China’s “New Silk Road,” conceivably the project of the new century and undoubtedly the greatest trade story in the world for the next decade.

Posted on Dec 18, 2014 READ MORE



The Abolition of Abolition

A long-dreaded transformation from hope to doom is taking place as President Obama ushers the world onto the no-turning-back road of nuclear perdition.

Posted on Dec 12, 2014 READ MORE



No Exit In Gaza

What struck me most about the tribulation of the Awajah family during the military invasion that Israel called Operation Cast Lead was the demand of the children regarding the reconstruction of their home: they insisted that the house have two doors.

Posted on Dec 8, 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



The Outpost That Doesn’t Exist in the Country You Can’t Locate

Recent contracting documents indicate that the U.S. military is building something in Chad. Not a huge facility, not a mini-American town, but a small camp. The revelation suggests yet another potential source of blowback from America’s efforts in Africa which have backfired, gone bust, and sown strife.

Posted on Nov 21, 2014 READ MORE



The Bases of War in the Middle East

There is almost no way to overemphasize how thoroughly the U.S. military now covers the Greater Middle East. After 35 years of base-building there, it’s long past time to look carefully at how this garrisoning affects the region, the U.S., and the world.

Posted on Nov 14, 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



Four Months Into Iraq War 3.0, the Cracks Are Showing

What happens to a war in the absence of coherent state policy? Washington’s Iraq War 3.0, Operation Inherent Resolve, is what happens. As the mission enters its fourth month it may be time to ask, in all seriousness: What could possibly go right?

Posted on Nov 10, 2014 READ MORE



Uncle Sam’s Databases of Suspicion

The Chico Police Department was secretly keeping tabs on Gill as a suspected terrorist. Yet nowhere in a suspicious activity report was there a scintilla of evidence that he was engaged in any kind of criminal activity whatsoever. Nevertheless, that report was uploaded to the federal government’s domestic intelligence-sharing network.

Posted on Nov 7, 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



The Missing Women of Afghanistan

On Sept. 29 Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as president of Afghanistan. What he had to say in his inaugural speech about his wife, Rula Ghani, sent his nation’s progressive women over the moon. (At right, an Afghan.)

Posted on Oct 30, 2014 READ MORE



Thank You for Your Valor, for Your Service, Thank You, Thank You ...

My heart sank, my shoulders slumped. Special guests at the Concert for Valor were to include: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg. The mission of the concert, according to a press release, was to “raise awareness” of veterans issues and “provide a national stage for ensuring that veterans and their families know that their fellow Americans’ gratitude is genuine.”

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 READ MORE



The Importance of Being Exceptional

Why is it immoral for a person to treat himself as an exception? The reason is plain: because morality, by definition, means a standard of right and wrong that applies to all persons without exception. Yet to answer so briefly may be to oversimplify.

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 READ MORE



Will the War on Terror Be the Template for the Ebola Crisis?

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that, while President Obama was sending at least 1,600 military personnel to fight ISIS, his first response to the Ebola crisis was also to send 3,000 troops into Liberia in what the media has been calling an “Ebola surge.”

Posted on Oct 23, 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



Seven Worst-Case Scenarios in the Battle With Islamic State

The U.S. is again at war in the Middle East, bombing freely across Iraq and Syria and searching desperately for some non-American boots to put on the ground. Here are seven worst-case scenarios in a part of the world where the worst case has regularly been the best that’s on offer.

Posted on Oct 17, 2014 READ MORE



A Trip to Kuwait (on the Prairie)

At 9 p.m. on that August night, when I arrived for my first shift as a cocktail waitress at Whispers, one of the two strip clubs in downtown Williston, I didn’t expect a 25-year-old man to get beaten to death outside the joint. Then again, I didn’t really expect most of the things I encountered reporting on the oil boom in western North Dakota this past summer.

Posted on Oct 13, 2014 READ MORE



Obama’s New Oil Wars

The Obama administration is wielding the oil weapon against two of the world’s leading producers, Iran and Russia. These efforts, which include embargoes and trade sanctions, are likely to have a great impact on world output, reflecting White House confidence that, in the pursuit of U.S. strategic interests, anything goes.

Posted on Oct 10, 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


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