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Tag: Tomdispatch


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



Can China and Russia Squeeze Washington Out of Eurasia?

A specter haunts the fast-aging “New American Century”: the possibility of a future Beijing-Moscow-Berlin strategic trade and commercial alliance.

Posted on Oct 6, 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 Wilderness Act Turns 50

The Wilderness Act of 1964 embodied a revolutionary act of justice. It legislated compassion toward the planet by insisting that we humans must stop and leave certain lands alone and not take anything more from them. It made a down payment on giving Earth its due.

Posted on Sep 29, 2014 READ MORE



Pirates of the Gulf of Guinea

If the Gulf of Guinea rings any bells at all, it’s probably because of the Ebola outbreak in, and upcoming U.S. military “surge” into, Liberia, the nation on the northern edge of that body of water. But for those in the know, the Gulf itself is an intractable hot spot on a vast continent filled with them and yet another area where U.S. military efforts have fallen short.

Posted on Sep 26, 2014 READ MORE



Apocalypse Now, Iraq Edition

As someone who cares deeply about this country, I find it beyond belief that Washington has again plunged into the swamp of the Sunni-Shiite mess in Iraq. A young soldier now deployed as one of the 1,600 non-boots-on-the-ground there might have been 8 years old when the 2003 invasion took place. What happened in the blink of an eye?

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 READ MORE



The Wheel Turns, the Boat Rocks, the Sea Rises

When we argue for change in response to climate change, we’re arguing against people who claim we’re disrupting a stable system. They insist we’re rocking the boat unnecessarily. I insist it’s a lifeboat, and that if we rock hard enough, maybe the people in it will wake up and start rowing instead of clinging to the wreckage of an old order.

Posted on Sep 19, 2014 READ MORE



A Global Warming President Presides Over Drill-Baby-Drill America

We should certainly be witnessing real progress toward a post-petroleum economy. But the opposite is occurring. U.S. oil consumption climbed by 400,000 barrels per day in 2013 alone and is set to rise again both this year and next.

Posted on Sep 4, 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 Fall and Rise of Investigative Journalism

Despite a long run of journalistic tough times, the loss of advertising dollars and the challenge of the Internet, there’s been a blossoming of investigative journalism across the globe from Honduras to Myanmar, New Zealand to Indonesia.

Posted on Aug 28, 2014 READ MORE



The Real Story Behind the ‘Invasion’ of the Children

Pitting the humanitarian imperative to help dislocated children against the plight of American communities places victimology in the service of party politics. Both Republicans and Democrats claim the moral high ground while conveniently avoiding the political economy of the problem they lament—and have collaborated in creating.

Posted on Aug 25, 2014 READ MORE



To Terrify and Occupy

Welcome to a new era of American policing, where cops increasingly see themselves as soldiers occupying enemy territory, often with the help of Uncle Sam’s armory, and where even nonviolent crimes are met with overwhelming force and brutality.

Posted on Aug 14, 2014 READ MORE



Blown Chances in Gaza

For the last eight years, Israel and the U.S. had repeated opportunities to opt for a diplomatic solution in Gaza. Each time, they have chosen war, with devastating consequences for the families of Gaza.

Posted on Aug 12, 2014 READ MORE



How Many Minutes to Midnight? Hiroshima Day 2014

Human history can be broken into two eras: BNW (before nuclear weapons) and NWE (the nuclear weapons era). The latter opened on Aug. 6, 1945. As we enter its 70th year, we should be contemplating with wonder that we have survived. We can only guess how many years remain.

Posted on Aug 7, 2014 READ MORE



China, America and a New Cold War in Africa?

For the last decade China has used aid, trade and infrastructure projects to set itself up as the dominant foreign player in Africa, while the U.S. has increasingly confronted the continent as a “battlefield.” These approaches have produced starkly contrasting results for the powers involved and the rising nations of the continent. The differences are perhaps nowhere as stark as in South Sudan, the world’s newest nation.

Posted on Aug 1, 2014 READ MORE



The Original Geo-Engineers: How to Save the Iconic West from the Cow

The great novelist Wallace Stegner sorted the conflicting impulses in his beloved American West into two camps: the “boomers” and the “nesters.” The modern version of the nesters are conservationists who try to partner with the ecosystems where they live. They understand that you cannot steer and control nature, but you might be able to dance with it.

Posted on Jul 31, 2014 READ MORE



The Path to a New 1914? How America Chose War After 9/11

The analogy between 1914 and 2001, like all measurements of the present with yardsticks from the past, is useful only for querying events, not for predicting them. There are equally important differences between the two moments, some of them obvious, others less so.

Posted on Jul 24, 2014 READ MORE


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