The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Show by  
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
 Most RecentHistory Archive
/
TomDispatch

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
The War on Terror as the Launching of an American Crusade
America may be sinking ever deeper into the moral morass of the Trump era, but if you think the malevolence of this period began with him, think again. The moment I still dwell on, the moment I believe ignited the vast public disorder that is now our all-American world, has been almost completely forgotten here.... Read More
shutterstock_107269241
(And How We Might Have Avoided Him)
The present arrives out of a past that we are too quick to forget, misremember, or enshroud in myth. Yet like it or not, the present is the product of past choices. Different decisions back then might have yielded very different outcomes in the here-and-now. Donald Trump ascended to the presidency as a consequence of... Read More
shutterstock_395622142
And It’s Not the War on Terror
Vietnam: it’s always there. Looming in the past, informing American futures. A 50-year-old war, once labeled the longest in our history, is still alive and well and still being refought by one group of Americans: the military high command. And almost half a century later, they’re still losing it and blaming others for doing so.... Read More
More than three decades ago, my aunt Hilda wrote an account of her father’s voyage to and life in America for my daughter to read “someday.” She began it this way: “Your great grandfather, Moore Engelhardt, a boy of 16, arrived in New York from Europe in March 1888. It was during the famous blizzard... Read More
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Say It Again: The Enemy of Our Enemy Is Still a War Criminal
He received a prestigious award from the West Point Association of Graduates. He published a “runaway” bestselling autobiography. Last February, a lavishly produced book celebrating his paintings of Americans who served in the military was, as Time put it, “burning up the Amazon charts.” Still, the liberal media wasn’t ready to embrace George W. Bush... Read More
Who even remembers that, back in September 2002, Lawrence Lindsey, then President George W. Bush’s chief economic adviser, offered an upper limit estimate on the cost of a future war in Iraq at $100 billion to $200 billion? He also suggested that the “successful prosecution” of such a war “would be good for the economy.”... Read More
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
George W. Bush Receives a Character Award at West Point
In George W. Bush’s home state of Texas, if you are an ordinary citizen found guilty of capital murder, the mandatory sentence is either life in prison or the death penalty. If, however, you are a former president of the United States responsible for initiating two illegal wars of aggression, which killed 7,000 U.S. servicemen... Read More
shutterstock_125767211
Or How to Further Enrich “The Masters of the Universe”
[This interview has been excerpted from Global Discontents: Conversations on the Rising Threats to Democracy, the new book by Noam Chomsky and David Barsamian to be published this December.] David Barsamian: You have spoken about the difference between Trump’s buffoonery, which gets endlessly covered by the media, and the actual policies he is striving to... Read More
shutterstock_579499459
Or How I Learned Not to Love Big Brother
[This piece has been adapted and expanded from the introduction to Alfred W. McCoy’s new book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power.] In the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Washington pursued its elusive enemies across the landscapes of Asia and Africa, thanks in part to... Read More
shutterstock_58294111
How Americans Remember (and Forget) Their Wars
Some years ago, a newspaper article credited a European visitor with the wry observation that Americans are charming because they have such short memories. When it comes to the nation’s wars, however, he was not entirely on target. Americans embrace military histories of the heroic “band of [American] brothers” sort, especially involving World War II.... Read More
Our lives are, of course, our histories, which makes us all, however inadvertently, historians. Part of my own history, my other life -- not the TomDispatch one that’s consumed me for the last 14 years -- has been editing books. I have no idea how many books I’ve edited since I was in my twenties,... Read More
Whose Streets? (Then and Now)
On a glorious afternoon in August 1963, after the massive March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom wrapped up on the national mall, President John F. Kennedy, prodded by Attorney General Robert Kennedy, welcomed John Lewis, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, and other march organizers to the White House for a discussion of proposed... Read More
It’s easy to forget just how scary the “good times” once were. I’m talking about the 1950s, that Edenic, Father-Knows-Best era that Donald Trump now yearns so deeply to bring back in order to “make America great again.” Compared to the apocalyptic fears of those years, present American ones would seem punk indeed, if it... Read More
shutterstock_346954079
The Dark History of the “Nation of Immigrants”
Liberal Americans like to think of Donald Trump as an aberration and believe that his idea of building a great wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent immigrants from entering the country goes against American values. After all, as Hillary Clinton says, “We are a nation of immigrants.” In certain ways, in terms of the... Read More
Carsten Reisinger / Shutterstock.com
An Ode to Ike and Adlai
My earliest recollection of national politics dates back exactly 60 years to the moment, in the summer of 1956, when I watched the political conventions in the company of that wondrous new addition to our family, television. My parents were supporting President Dwight D. Eisenhower for a second term and that was good enough for... Read More
shutterstock_339572288
How I Met the Ghosts of My Own Work in a Local Multiplex
Some time ago I wrote a book about one of the great crimes of the last 150 years: the conquest and exploitation of the Congo by King Leopold II of Belgium. When King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa was published, I thought I had found all the major... Read More
At almost 72, I recently went to The Legend of Tarzan, the IMAX version, with a screen so big I almost stepped inside it and a soundscape so all-enveloping that my already pathetic hearing might have been blown away for good. Still, however “immersive” the experience was meant to be, I found it so much... Read More
shutterstock_22561885
Life on an Increasingly Improbable Planet
Vladimir Putin recently manned up and admitted it. The United States remains the planet’s sole superpower, as it has been since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. “America,” the Russian president said, “is a great power. Today, probably, the only superpower. We accept that.” Think of us, in fact, as the default superpower in an... Read More
If you happen to be a potential American war criminal, you've had a few banner weeks. On May 9th, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter presented former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger with the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Award, that institution's “highest honorary award for private citizens.” In bestowing it on... Read More
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: On this Memorial Day weekend dedicated to remembering those who died in America’s wars, TomDispatch brings back a powerful 2008 Nick Turse piece about two civilians, two Vietnamese, who did not, in fact, die in the long ago American conflict in their country, but did lose parts of themselves. We hope... Read More
America's Forgotten Vietnamese Victims
Nguyen Van Tu asks if I'm serious. Am I really willing to tell his story -- to tell the story of the Vietnamese who live in this rural corner of the Mekong Delta? Almost 40 years after guerrilla fighters in his country threw the limits of U.S. military power into stark relief -- during the... Read More
So much that matters in our world and on our planet happens in and remains in the shadows. This website is dedicated to shining at least a small light into some of those shadows. Commenting recently on the failure of the U.S. war on terror as well as the war against the Islamic State, Andrew... Read More
Or How Texaco Supported Fascism
[This piece has been adapted from Adam Hochschild's new book, Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939.] “Merchants have no country,” wrote Thomas Jefferson in 1814. “The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.” The former president was... Read More
shutterstock_245965219
In Praise of Impractical Movements
Bernie Sanders's insurgent presidential campaign has opened up a debate about how social change happens in our society. The official version of how progress is won -- currently voiced by mainstream pundits and members of a spooked Democratic Party establishment -- goes something like this: politics is a tricky business, gains coming through the work... Read More
In the muddled midst of last week’s mass killing in San Bernardino, California, a few words skittering across my Twitter feed gave me pause. “On this awful shooting: Is U.S. culture evil? Enemy of our civilization? Must all Americans apologize? Should we bar U.S. tourists as dangerous?” asked Simon Kuper, a columnist with the Financial... Read More
360b / Shutterstock.com
How Diplomacy by Air Power Became an All-American Tradition
In April 2014, ESPN published a photograph of an unlikely duo: Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and former national security adviser and secretary of state Henry Kissinger at the Yankees-Red Sox season opener. In fleece jackets on a crisp spring day, they were visibly enjoying each other’s company, looking for all the... Read More
shutterstock_81258478-2
What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me About the American Empire
[Republished from April 1, 2008] With an occupying army waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan, with military bases and corporate bullying in every part of the world, there is hardly a question any more of the existence of an American Empire. Indeed, the once fervent denials have turned into a boastful, unashamed embrace of the... Read More
How Henry Kissinger Helped Create Our “Proliferated” World
The only person Henry Kissinger flattered more than President Richard Nixon was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. In the early 1970s, the Shah, sitting atop an enormous reserve of increasingly expensive oil and a key figure in Nixon and Kissinger’s move into the Middle East, wanted to be dealt with as a serious... Read More
Why do I always seem to be writing about Henry Kissinger? I once listened to the man who helped prolong the Vietnam War for half a decade declare that its “tragedy” lay in the fact “that the faith of Americans in each other became destroyed in the process.” I later took to the (web)pages of... Read More
The Search for Terrestrial Intelligence
They were the “best and the brightest” but on a spaceship, not planet Earth, and they exemplified the liberal optimism of their era. The original Star Trek,whose three-year TV run began in 1966, featured a talented, multiethnic crew. The indomitable Captain Kirk had the can-do sex appeal of a Kennedy; his chief advisor, the half-human,... Read More
shutterstock_81270088
Obama’s Geopolitical Strategy for Containing China
In ways that have eluded Washington pundits and policymakers, President Barack Obama is deploying a subtle geopolitical strategy that, if successful, might give Washington a fighting chance to extend its global hegemony deep into the twenty-first century. After six years of silent, sometimes secret preparations, the Obama White House has recently unveiled some bold diplomatic... Read More
War, Sunny Side Up, and the Summer of Slaughter (Vietnam and Today)
Let me tell you a story about a moment in my life I’m not likely to forget even if, with the passage of years, so much around it has grown fuzzy. It involves a broken-down TV, movies from my childhood, and a war that only seemed to come closer as time passed. My best guess:... Read More
The nuclear age. Doesn’t that phrase seem like ancient history? With the twin anniversaries of the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki coming around again, this is its 70th birthday. Just a year younger than me, it was my age-mate, my companion all those years I was growing up. Those unshakeable fears, the “unthinkable,” turned out... Read More
The Nagasaki Experience
[This essay has been adapted from chapters 1 and 2 of Susan Southard’s new book, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, with the kind permission of Viking.] Korean and Chinese workers, prisoners of war, and mobilized adults and students had returned to their work sites; some dug or repaired shelters, others piled sandbags against the windows... Read More
So many decades later, it’s hard to remember the kind of nuclear thinking top American officials engaged in during the Cold War. In secret National Security Council documents of the early 1950s, for instance, the country’s top strategists descended willingly into the charnel house of futuristic history, imagining life on this planet as an eternal... Read More
Or How Patriotism Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry
By Christian Appy “Never, never waste a minute on regret. It's a waste of time.” -- President Harry Truman Here we are, 70 years after the nuclear obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and I'm wondering if we've come even one step closer to a moral reckoning with our status as the world's only country to... Read More
shutterstock_285888347
U.S.-Iranian Relations Emerge from a 30-Year Cold War
Don't sweat the details of the July nuclear accord between the United States and Iran. What matters is that the calculus of power in the Middle East just changed in significant ways. Washington and Tehran announced their nuclear agreement on July 14th and yes, some of the details are still classified. Of course the Obama... Read More
[The following passages are excerpted from Eduardo Galeano’s history of humanity, Mirrors (Nation Books).] Origin of Freedom of Oppression Opium was outlawed in China. British merchants smuggled it in from India. Their diligent efforts led to a surge in the number of Chinese dependent on the mother of heroin and morphine, who charmed them with... Read More
Recently, Susan Bergholz, the devoted literary agent of the late Uruguayan writer and planetary great Eduardo Galeano, sent me this brief email: “A friend of Eduardo's and mine called yesterday to tell me, ‘Now we know where Eduardo went: he became pope!’” Somehow, that thought raised my spirits immeasurably. I was about to turn 71... Read More
A Cheer for Irma the Caricaturist
Almost three quarters of a century ago, my mother placed a message in a bottle and tossed it out beyond the waves. It bobbed along through tides, storms, and squalls until just recently, almost four decades after her death, it washed ashore at my feet. I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. Still, what happened, even stripped... Read More
The Fall of Richard Nixon
[This essay has been adapted from chapters 1 and 22 of Tim Weiner’s new book, One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon, with the kind permission of Henry Holt and Company.] Richard Nixon saw himself as a great statesman, a giant for the ages, a general who could command the globe, a... Read More
Let me give you a reason that’s anything but historical for reading Tim Weiner’s remarkable new book, One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon. Mind you, with the last of the secret Nixon White House tapes finally made public some 40 years after the first of them were turned over to courts,... Read More
“They finally shot the nigger!” the sparrow-slight soldier whooped. Nicknamed “Georgia” for the obvious reason, that’s what he apparently ran around shouting once word of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination wound its way out into the electric-green paddy fields of South Vietnam. I was told the story more than once by a member of his... Read More
(But Not the Civil War)
The Pentagon just can’t let go. In the wake of the Charleston Massacre, Amazon and Walmart have announced that they will no longer sell Confederate flag merchandise. Ebay says it will stop offering Confederate items for electronic auction. Mississippi's Republican speaker of the housecalls his state flag, which includes the Stars and Bars in the... Read More
A Palestinian Family’s Struggle to Stay on Their Land
Nasser Nawaj’ah held Laith’s hand as, beside me, they walked down the dirt and pebble path of Old Susya. Nasser is 33 years old, his son six. Nasser’s jaw was set and every few moments he glanced over his shoulder to see if anyone was approaching. Until Laith piped up with his question, the only... Read More
Washington Versus China in the Twenty-First Century
For even the greatest of empires, geography is often destiny. You wouldn’t know it in Washington, though. America’s political, national security, and foreign policy elites continue to ignore the basics of geopolitics that have shaped the fate of world empires for the past 500 years. Consequently, they have missed the significance of the rapid global... Read More
It might have been the most influential single sentence of that era: “In these circumstances it is clear that the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies.” And it originated in an 8,000 word telegram --... Read More
LEE SNIDER PHOTO IMAGES / Shutterstock.com
The Secret Origins of the CIA’s Torture Program and the Forgotten Man Who Tried to Expose It
The witness reported men being hung by the feet or the thumbs, waterboarded, given electric shocks to the genitals, and suffering from extended solitary confinement in what he said were indescribably inhumane conditions. It’s the sort of description that might have come right out of the executive summary of the Senate torture report released last... Read More
Rambo! In my Reagan-era youth, the name was synonymous with the Vietnam War -- at least the Vietnam War reimagined, the celluloid fantasy version of it in which a tanned, glistening, muscle-bound commando busted the handcuffs of defeat and redeemed America’s honor in the jungles of Southeast Asia. Untold millions including the Gipper himself, an... Read More
shutterstock_82709644-2
Did Market Leninism Win the Cold War?
Imagine an alternative universe in which the two major Cold War superpowers evolved into the United Soviet Socialist States. The conjoined entity, linked perhaps by a new Bering Straits land bridge, combines the optimal features of capitalism and collectivism. From Siberia to Sioux City, we’d all be living in one giant Sweden. It sounds like... Read More
Category Classics
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
Confederate Flag Day, State Capitol, Raleigh, N.C. -- March 3, 2007