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Consider the latest news from America's war zones, still spreading across the Greater Middle East and Africa. The U.S. military is now reportedly building up its troop strength (mostly Special Operations forces) in Somalia. Their number has already doubled, reaching 500, while U.S. airstrikes are increasing against al-Shabab, the well-entrenched Islamist terror outfit in that... Read More
After 19 al-Qaeda militants armed only with box-cutters and knives hijacked four American commercial airliners, the U.S. military moved with remarkable efficiency to rectify the problem. In the years since, in its global war on terror, the Pentagon has ensured that America’s enemies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere have regularly been able to arm... Read More
You would barely know it, living in this country, but the essence of modern warfare is what our military tends to call “collateral damage”: the killing or wounding of civilians, not combatants. The Global War on Terror -- more than 15 years later a no-name set of conflicts still spreading across the Greater Middle East,... Read More
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And The Ruins Still to Come
There are the news stories that genuinely surprise you, and then there are the ones that you could write in your sleep before they happen. Let me concoct an example for you: Oh wait, that was actually the lead sentence in a May 3rd Washington Times piece by Carlo Muñoz. Honestly, though, it could have... Read More
“We Destroyed the Cities to Save Them” and Other Future Headlines
One of the charms of the future is its powerful element of unpredictability, its ability to ambush us in lovely ways or bite us unexpectedly in the ass. Most of the futures I imagined as a boy have, for instance, come up deeply short, or else I would now be flying my individual jet pack... Read More
Last Tuesday night, President Obama gave his final State of the (Dis)Union address. It was clearly meant to sweep Donald Trump preemptively into the dustbin of history. In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s no need to “make America great again.” From environmental achievements to less than $2 gas at the pump, job creation to military... Read More
Putting Threats into Perspective for 2016
It’s time to panic! As 2015 ended, this country was certifiably terror-stricken. It had the Islamic State (IS) on the brain. Hoax terror threats or terror imbroglios shut down school systems from Los Angeles to New Hampshire, Indiana to a rural county in Virginia. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra, citing terror attacks in Paris and San... Read More
Who can’t feel that something’s in the air? Some mood of fear, panic, and pure meanness ratcheting up in the planet’s “exceptional” nation. Or at least exceptionally jumpy nation. In the wake of the San Bernardino slaughter and news of an online pledge of loyalty to the Islamic State (IS) by one of the killers,... Read More
Let’s consider the two parties in Washington. I’m not referring to the Republican and Democratic ones, but our capital’s war parties (there being no peace party, of course). They might be labeled the More War Party and the Much (or Much, Much) More War Party. Headed by President Obama, the first is distinctly a minority... Read More
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It’s the Islamic State’s Dream and Marco Rubio Agrees
Honestly, I don’t know whether to rant or weep, neither of which are usual impulses for me. In the wake of the slaughter in Paris, I have the urge to write one of two sentences here: Paris changed everything; Paris changes nothing. Each is, in its own way, undoubtedly true. And here’s a third sentence... Read More
Whatever happened to the “imperial presidency”? In mid-September, in the midst of theserial collapse of a $500-million Pentagon program to train “moderate” Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State (ISIS), President Obama suddenly claimed, through White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, that it wasn’t really either his program or his fault. He was only the... Read More
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Or How to Be Eternally “Caught Off Guard” in the Greater Middle East
1,500. That figure stunned me. I found it in the 12th paragraph of a front-page New York Times story about “senior commanders” at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) playing fast and loose with intelligence reports to give their air war against ISIS an unjustified sheen of success: “CENTCOM’s mammoth intelligence operation, with some 1,500 civilian, military,... Read More
Let’s take a moment to consider failure and its options in Washington. The U.S. has been warring with the Islamic State (IS) for more than a year now. The centerpiece of that war has been an ongoing campaign of bombings and air strikes in Syria and Iraq, thousands upon thousands of them. The military claims... Read More
Think of this as a little imperial folly update -- and here's the backstory. In the years after invading Iraq and disbanding Saddam Hussein’s military, the U.S. sunk about $25 billion into “standing up” a new Iraqi army. By June 2014, however, that army, filled with at least 50,000 “ghost soldiers,” was only standing in... Read More
Call it what you will -- Iraq War 3.0, the war against ISIS, the new Syrian War -- it was regularly headline-making news in this country in the second half of last year: the stunning advances of the Islamic State (IS) movement; its newly proclaimed “caliphate”; the collapse of the Iraqi Army; the Obama administration’s... Read More
The Phantasmagoric World of Washington
Sometimes it seemed that only two issues mattered in the midterm election campaigns just ended. No, I’m not talking about Obamacare, or the inequality gap, or the country’s sagging infrastructure, or education, or energy policy. I mean two issues that truly threaten the wellbeing of citizens fromKansas, Colorado, and Iowa to New Hampshire and North... Read More
It was May 23, 2012, and President Obama was giving a graduation speech at the Air Force Academy when he told the assembled cadets that they should "never bet against the United States of America... [because] the United States has been, and will always be, the one indispensable nation in world affairs." On that basis,... Read More
America’s Soundtrack of Hysteria
It happened so fast that, at first, I didn’t even take it in. Two Saturdays ago, a friend and I were heading into the Phillips Museum in Washington, D.C., to catch a show of neo-Impressionist art when we ran into someone he knew, heading out. I was introduced and the usual chitchat ensued. At some... Read More
On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King delivered a speech at Riverside Church in New York City titled “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence.” In it, he went after the war of that moment and the money that the U.S. was pouring into it as symptoms of a societal disaster. President Lyndon Johnson’s poverty... Read More
Their Videos and Ours, Their “Caliphate” and Ours
Whatever your politics, you’re not likely to feel great about America right now. After all, there’s Ferguson (the whole world was watching!), an increasingly unpopular president, a Congress whoseapproval ratings make the president look like a rock star, rising poverty, weakening wages, and a growing inequality gap just to start what could be a long... Read More
Think of the new “caliphate” of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's gift to the world (with a helping hand from the Saudis and other financiers of extremism in the Persian Gulf). How strange that they get so little credit for its... Read More
Who even knows what to call it? The Iraq War or the Iraq-Syrian War would be far too orderly for what’s happening, so it remains a no-name conflict that couldn’t be deadlier or more destabilizing -- and it’s in the process of internationalizing in unsettling ways. Think of it as the strangest disaster on the... Read More
Tom Engelhardt
About Tom Engelhardt

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the Tomdispatch.com website, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Tomdispatch.com is the sideline that ate his life. Before that he worked as an editor at Pacific News Service in the early 1970s, and, these last three decades, as an editor in book publishing. For 15 years, he was Senior Editor at Pantheon Books where he edited and published award-winning works ranging from Art Spiegelman's Maus and John Dower's War Without Mercy to Eduardo Galeano's Memory of Fire trilogy. He is now Consulting Editor at Metropolitan Books, as well as co-founder and co-editor of Metropolitan's The American Empire Project. Many of the authors whose books he has edited and published over the years now write for Tomdispatch.com. He is married to Nancy J. Garrity, a therapist, and has two children, Maggie and Will.

His new book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World (Haymarket Books), has just been published.


Personal Classics
Eight Exceptional(ly Dumb) American Achievements of the Twenty-First Century
How the Security State’s Mania for Secrecy Will Create You
Delusional Thinking in the Age of the Single Superpower