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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Sanguijuelas, Garrapatas, Piojos, Capulinas, Lampreys
A few thoughts on our disastrous trillion-dollar military: It is unnecessary. It does not defend the United States. The last time it did so was in 1945. The United States has no military enemies. No nation has anything even close to the forces necessary to invade America, and probably none the desire. A fifth of... Read More
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Blitzkrieg Overseas, Sitzkrieg in the Homeland
Overseas, the United States is engaged in real wars in which bombs are dropped, missiles are launched, and people (generally not Americans) are killed, wounded, uprooted, and displaced. Yet here at home, there’s nothing real about those wars. Here, it’s phony war all the way. In the last 17 years of “forever war,” this nation... Read More
Normalizing Budgetary Bloat
Imagine for a moment a scheme in which American taxpayers were taken to the cleaners to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars and there was barely a hint of criticism or outrage. Imagine as well that the White House and a majority of the politicians in Washington, no matter the party, acquiesced in... Read More
What company gets the most money from the U.S. government? The answer: the weapons maker Lockheed Martin. As the Washington Post recently reported, of its $51 billion in sales in 2017, Lockheed took in $35.2 billion from the government, or close to what the Trump administration is proposing for the 2019 State Department budget. And... Read More
Recently, the Pentagon’s top Asia official, Randall Schriver, told senators that the Afghan war would cost this country’s taxpayers $45 billion in 2018, including $5 billion for the Afghan security forces, $13 billion for U.S. forces in that country, and $780 million in economic aid. How the other $26 billion would be spent is unclear... Read More
Something for Everyone (in the Military-Industrial Complex)
Think of it as the chicken-or-the-egg question for the ages: Do very real threats to the United States inadvertently benefit the military-industrial complex or does the national security state, by its very nature, conjure up inflated threats to feed that defense machine? Back in 2008, some of us placed our faith, naively enough, in the... Read More
When it comes to the art of the deal, at least where arms sales are concerned, American presidents, their administrations, and the Pentagon have long been Trumpian in nature. Their role has been to beat the drums (of war) for the major American weapons makers and it’s been a highly profitable and successful activity. In... Read More
Brought to You By the Nuclear-Industrial Complex
[This piece has been updated and adapted from William D. Hartung’s “Nuclear Politics” in Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation, edited by Helen Caldicott and just published by the New Press.] Until recently, few of us woke up worrying about the threat of nuclear war. Such dangers seemed like Cold War relics, associated... Read More
Your Tax Dollars Support Troops of Defense Contractor CEOs
Here’s a question for you: How do you spell boondoggle? The answer (in case you didn’t already know): P-e-n-t-a-g-o-n. Hawks on Capitol Hill and in the U.S. military routinely justify increases in the Defense Department's already munificent budget by arguing that yet more money is needed to “support the troops.” If you’re already nodding in... Read More
I’m sure you’ve heard about the $65 million. Or was it $86 million? Or was it even more? You know, the funds the Pentagon sunk into that hotshot plane it was preparing for its Afghan drug interdiction program. You haven’t? Well, as Megan Rose reported at ProPublica, with its “electro-optical infra-red video capacity,” that counternarcotics... Read More
Flush With Cash, Running on Empty
One of the never ending claims made by proponents of the military technical revolution is that emerging complex weapons technologies create more combat power per unit of labor — that we are substituting capital for labor and technology-intensive capital goods are the key America’s competitive advantage, given America’s high cost labor. This claim is bullshit... Read More
My Safety ‘Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Security
From the time I was little, I went to the movies. They were my escape, with one exception from which I invariably had to escape. I couldn’t sit through any movie where something or someone threatened to jump out at me with the intent to harm. In such situations, I was incapable of enjoying being... Read More
Disaster Capitalism on the Battlefield and in the Boardroom
There is a new normal in America: our government may shut down, but our wars continue. Congress may not be able to pass a budget, but the U.S. military can still launch commando raids in Libya and Somalia, the Afghan War can still be prosecuted, Italy can be garrisoned by American troops (putting the “empire”... Read More
It’s no news (and in fact rarely makes it off the inside pages of our newspapers) that the U.S. dominates -- one might almost say monopolizes -- the global arms market. In 2011, the last year for which figures are available, U.S. weapons makers tripled their sales to $66.3 billion and were expected to remain... Read More
This may be a propitious moment to offer an up-to-date version of a classic riddle: Which came first, the chicken or the terrorist? For many in this country, the Kenyan mall horror arrived out of the blue, out of nowhere, out of a place and a time without context. Next thing you know, it’s all... Read More
How the Pentagon Is Using Your Tax Dollars to Turn Italy into a Launching Pad for the Wars of Today and Tomorrow
The Pentagon has spent the last two decades plowing hundreds of millions of tax dollars into military bases in Italy, turning the country into an increasingly important center for U.S. military power. Especially since the start of the Global War on Terror in 2001, the military has been shifting its European center of gravity south... Read More
Of Oodle-oops and Error
I recently found in The American Conservative a piece called Forty Years of the Fighter Mafia, this mafia being a subset of the “Military Reformers,” who have insisted for many years that weaponry used by the Pentagon “doesn´t work” because it is too complex. They additionally were the people who brought you the imaginary $600... Read More
An Inside Look at the Defense Industry
In early 2035, the thirty-fourth year of the war against Al Qaeda, the Pentagon issued a White Paper saying that the F22 Raptor, the front-line fighter plane of the United States, was nearing the end of its useful life and needed to be replaced. Not everyone agreed. Various budget-cutting organizations argued that the Raptor had... Read More
In the preface to his 1974 classic, The Permanent War Economy, Seymour Melman decried America’s choice of guns over butter. He wrote: The time couldn’t have looked riper for beating swords into plowshares. After more than 10 years, U.S. combat in Vietnam had ended and President Nixon had recently begun normalizing relationswith China, that Communist... Read More
Re-Purposing America's War Machine
A trillion dollars. It's a lot of money. In a year it could send 127 million college students to school, provide health insurance for 206 million people, or pay the salaries of seven million schoolteachers and seven million police officers. A trillion dollars could do a lot of good. It could transform or save a... Read More
NEW YORK – In the colorful, pithy Scottish language, there’s a delightful expression, “greet an’ gurn.” Which means to loudly moan and groan. That’s what’s happened this week across the United States as the fiscal Ides of March grow close. On March 1, unless Congress and the White House come to an agreement on cutting... Read More
Journalism Explained
I want my money back.I recently bought The Complex, by Nick Turse. It purports to deal with the militarization of American society, its economy, education, and so on. I can think of no more important topic. The militarization is happening. Huge sums go for weapons we don’t need to fight enemies we don’t have. Much... Read More
A Call to Democrats
The United States Military is the greatest destabilizing force in the world today. With over 700 bases in over 130 countries its tentacles extend to every corner of the earth. In its current incarnation, under the rubric of the war on terror, the military is being employed for the sole purpose of securing the world's... Read More
PastClassics
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.
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?