The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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American Military

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fr-berlin-3
Old, New, and Improved
I have just finished reading William Shirer’s Berlin Diary. (This may not fascinate you, but I am coming to something.) I first encountered it in high school. It is of course Shirer's account as a correspondent in Germany of the rise of the Nazis. Most of it is well known to the educated. The Nazis,... Read More
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Another Entry in the Tourney of Damn Fool Ideas
I suppose that by now everyone has heard of Trump’s offer to send the American military to “wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth,” which he asserts can be done “quickly and effectively. “ Trump phrased this as an offer to help, not a threat to invade,... Read More
fredrecruitingbook
Why You Should Stay the Hell Away From the American Military
Some advice: Don't get shot in the face. I don't care what your friends tell you, it isn't a good idea. Further, avoid corneal transplants if you can. If you find a coupon for one, in a box of Cracker Jacks maybe, toss it. Transplants are miserable things. Unless you really need one. What am... Read More
fredmil-1
For a couple of decades I covered the military for various publications, as for example the Washington Times and Harper's, and wrote a military column for Universal Press Syndicate. I was following the time-honored principle of sensible reporters: “Ask not what you can do for journalism, but what journalism can do for you.” The military... Read More
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Soaring to New Lows
As obsolete tanks rolled in Washington for the Fourth, and fighter planes howled in adrenal provocation, and the truculent classes reveled, besotted by in America’s eternal martial priapism, the alert might have asked: What, exactly, has der carrot-topped Fuhrer actually accomplished? A look at Trump’s report card: North Korea: A negligible country of twenty-five million,... Read More
American Homeless picking their way through garbage
America as Others See it
Americans are brought up to believe that the United States is a shining city on a hill, a light to mankind, that the world envies us for our values and freedoms, and hates us because we have them. This is ground into us from birth. Those of us now long in the tooth remember the... Read More
The torture facility in Zacatecas, Mexico, a museum of  applied Christianity
There Are Christians Who Love and Christians Who Hate
Pompeo: “My Faith in Jesus Christ Makes a Real Difference” Pompeo says God may have sent Trump to save Israel from Iran “As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” said Mr Pompeo….”I am confident that the Lord is at work here,” Pence, a Catholic Evangelical who almost became a priest: “I made a commitment... Read More
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Many people I talk to seem to think American foreign policy has something to do with democracy, human rights, national security, or maybe terrorism or freedom, or niceness, or something. It is a curious belief, Washington being interested in all of them. Other people are simply puzzled, seeing no pattern in America’s international behavior. Really,... Read More
catmustache
Examining the Freak Show
American government has become a collection of sordid and dangerous clowns. It was not always thus. Until Bush II, those governing were never lunatics. Eisenhower, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Obama, Clinton had their defects, were sometimes corrupt, and could be disagreed with on many grounds. They weren’t crazy. Today’s administration would seem unwholesome in a... Read More
These Crazies Are Just Like Hitler
One often sees the silly assertion by right-wing extremists that feminists, social justice warriors, and other “cranks” are enstupidating American education. The purpose, according to these fascists, who are just like Hitler, is “to make historically incompetent groups look competent.” The racism in these absurd claims is obvious. In particular such Neo-Nazis say that mathematical... Read More
The current state of the American Army. Troops learn the hardships of pregnancy.
I’d Rather Be Ruled by Autistic Hamsters
The United States seems to be contemplating war with Russia, Iran, China, or all three. Washington pushes NATO ever closer to Russia, leaves the nuclear-missile treaty and tries to destroy both countries and China economically. Why the push for war? Simple. Asia is awakening. China (from which I have just returned) grows economically at a... Read More
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A Twelve-Toed Analysis
I’m trying to figure out politics. It’s slow going. I’m just a holler hopper out of West Virginia, and I guess I puzzle easy. Maybe you can help me. I reckon America is pretty much a dictatorship now. It’s because one man, just one, does anything he wants to other countries and to us and... Read More
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Brandishing the American Military
Why did the Cockatoo-in-Chief renege on the Iran deal deeply prized by Russia, China, France, Germany, England, and the European Union? Why did he deliberately damage relations with Europe and cost American workers many thousands of jobs at Boeing among others? Why do all of this to hurt a country that poses no danger to... Read More
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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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Disordered thoughts on the National Cockatoo’s latest antics. One: The aghastment and horrilation about the terrible, appalling, shocking etc nature of gas warfare is nonsense. There is nothing unusually hideous about the use of toxic chemicals. Hideous, yes, but not unusually hideous. Boring old workaday artillery, that nobody criticizes, leaves children watching as mommy frantically... Read More
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
The Human Race as Feral Dogs
As Washington bombs Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria, militarily threatens Russia, Venezuela, North Korea, and China, sanctions Cuba, North Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Iran..one may wonder: Why? Are wars about anything, or just wars? In modern times, a reason of sorts is thought decorous, yes: Ruritania is threatening us, or might, or does something wrong,... Read More
Three Men Soldier Statue at the Vietnam Wall Memorial in the Mall in Washington DC.
A Bad Mood, a Six-Pack, and a Typewriter
Harper’s, December, 1980 I begin to weary of the stories about veterans that are now in vogue with the newspapers, the stories that dissect the veteran’s psyche as if prying apart a laboratory frog — patronizing stories written by style-section reporters who know all there is to know about chocolate mousse, ladies’ fashions, and the... Read More
In the Reign of Kaiser Don
Why do those inadequate little men in Washington and New York dream of new wars? Because the empire is near a tipping point. Washington must either either start a war in Korea, or get faced down by the North, its carriers ignored, its bombers “sending signals” and making “shows of force” without result. For the... Read More
To one watching the advance of Chinese science and technology, or to me anyway, several things stand out. First, the headlong pace. Second, the amount of it that appears aimed at making China independent of the West technologically and getting the United States off Beijing’s back. Third, the apparent calculated focus. It looks like intelligent... Read More
robertelee
The man was perceptive. Amalgamation of the states under a central government has led to exactly the effects foreseen by General Lee. In, say, 1950, to an appreciable though imperfect extent America resembled a confederacy. Different regions of the America had little contact with each other, and almost no influence over one another. The federal... Read More
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More than I Can Take
Apparently I have missed Memorial Day by being on the road in Guanajuato. I gather I should have thanked Our Boys for their service to the exceptional nation. I will pass. My tolerance for nauseating twaddle has diminished with the years. To begin with, “Our Boys,” so affectionately denominated, are not our boys but suckers... Read More
If One Arm is Right, the Other Will Be Left, No?
This worthy and public-spirited column seldom dives into the thickets of military hardware, which it regards as excessively technical. However, the arms race between China and Washington is of enough gravity that its more exotic armaments may be of interest. Herewith, the truly dangerous weaponry of the contending sides. US Nuclear Weapon Upgrade Program: “CBO... Read More
Not Too Many Snowflakes
Boot camp. Yawning gateway to military life, an adventure outrageously funny and frightening, source of a lifetime of lies, all growing worse with each bull session. No one forgets boot. Get two GIs together over a bottle of gin, talking about old times, and sooner or later the talk will turn to tales of boot,... Read More
The Empire’s Nightmare
Methinks the insane hysteria over Russia needs to stop. It probably will not. For reasons of domestic and imperial politics the American public is again being manipulated into a war frenzy by Washington and New York. It is stupid, without justification, and dangerous. The silliness over Russia is, obviously, part of the Establishment’s drive to... Read More
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With Trump it is difficult to tell bluster and carney-barker showmanship from serious consideration or actual intention. While clearly a threat, the remark may have been intended only to intimidate, and the ascription of cowardice to the Mexican army only ill-bred. Trump’s military record leaves no doubt as to his own courage. Given his administration’s... Read More
Mock-up of planned Russian-Chinese airliner to compete with Boeing and Airbus. To enter service by 2025. Ambitious? Oh yes. Remember when we laughed at Toyota, Airbus, and Trump? Credit: Sputnik News.
Make Money, Not War
Is Washington really going to start a trade war with China, or is it just huffing and puffing for position? I don’t know. Mr. Trump has inexplicably failed to brief me. A point worth bearing in mind: The United States cannot compete commercially with a developed Asia, or China. America has nowhere to go. It... Read More
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Some Aspects of Irrationality
We’re all crazy. This explains everything. I will elaborate in hopes of joining Plato, Burke, and Hunter Thompson as a lighthouses of the intellects The human mind cannot think of more than a very few things at once. We cannot for example think of a billion citizens of China as individuals, so we say “China,“... Read More
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Bombing Everything, Gaining Nothing
What, precisely, is the US military for, and what, precisely, can it do? In practical terms, how powerful is it? On paper, it is formidable, huge, with carrier battle groups, advanced technology, remarkable submarines, satellites, and so on. What does this translate to? Military power does not exist independently, but only in relation to specific... Read More
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It was an epochal moment for the military and perhaps for all of society. Screwing up her courage, Air Force First Lieutenant Kara-Ann McBee walked into her commander’s office on the D-Ring of the Pentagon and announced that she was a giant squid. Kara was slender and tomboyish, with an upturned nose, freckles, and an... Read More
Vietnam War Montage, Credit: Wikimedia Commons
War may be thought of in two ways. First, as a football game between armies, in which the function of the citizenry is to cheer for the home team. In football, success is measured in points scored, yardage gained, brilliance of play, and time of possession. In war as football, it is battles won, enemies... Read More
“Cry havoc, and Let Slip the Frogs of Yore”
It is curious how little military men know about war. You would think they would think about it more. Yet, oddly, they regularly misjudge practically everything concerning the dismal trade. Their errors are not the sort that inevitably must occur in a contest, as when a quarterback doesn’t pick up a blitz. They are fundamental... Read More
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Those who try to understand military policy often confuse themselves by focusing on minor matters such as strategy, tactics, logistics, and armament. Here they err. For years the central goal of the military, the brass ring, has been independence from control by civilians. It has been achieved. In time of war, the first concern of... Read More
It appears that Washington, ever a seething cauldron of bright ideas, is looking for a shooting war with China, or perhaps trying to make the Chinese kowtow and back down, the pretext being some rocks in the Pacific in which the United States cannot possibly have a vital national interest. Or, really, any interest. And... Read More
Comedy in Uniform
The military, once again, puts women into jobs the cannot do–this time, the Army’s Rangers–to advance the careers of political generals–among others, Maj Gen. Scott Miller, who oversees Ranger School. Or what used to be Ranger School. Writes Susan Keating in People magazine: “A woman will graduate Ranger School,” a general told shocked subordinates this... Read More
A frequent theme nowadays is “Why do they hate us?” meaning why does so much of the world detest the United States. The reasons given are usually absurd: They hate our freedom or democracy. They hate us for our cultural superiority. They hate us because we are wonderful. No. Actually the reason is simple if... Read More
A Self-Indulgent Memoir
Those were wilder times, hardier times, memorable and loose. The veterans of Vietnam were not yet aged and, as happens after wars, did not settle easily into selling air filters at the NAPA outlet. They had lain atop Amtracs in the tropical night, with star shells blazing white in the sky and the smoke trailing... Read More
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On the Nobility of Motives
Aaaagh! Enough. I keep reading that I should Honor Our Troops. On airline flights, I am asked to applaud Our Young Men in Uniform. Why, for God’s sake? What have Our Troops done for me except cause me great embarrassment, cost money better spent on anything else, and kill millions of people that I have... Read More
A Cause of Delayed-Nausea Syndrome
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Unwelcome Facts from a Closet
Sigh. I have just read that a young woman named Sage Santangelo has failed the infantry-trainimg course for Marine officers at Quantico, bringing the rate of female failure to 29 out of 29. As an old hand with thirty years covering the military, I can attest that this vu is getting more deja all the... Read More
It is so easy to gull the: the pack, the herd. It just takes a bit of theater. A brass band on the Fourth of July, flags whipping in the wind, young soldiers marching down Main Street, rhythmic thump-thump-thump of boots. There comes that glorious sense of common purpose, the adrenal thrill of collective power,... Read More
Fred Reed
About Fred Reed

Fred, a keyboard mercenary with a disorganized past, has worked on staff for Army Times, The Washingtonian, Soldier of Fortune, Federal Computer Week, and The Washington Times.

He has been published in Playboy, Soldier of Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Harper's, National Review, Signal, Air&Space, and suchlike. He has worked as a police writer, technology editor, military specialist, and authority on mercenary soldiers.


Personal Classics
Not What Tom Jefferson Had in Mind
Sounds Like A Low-Ranked American University To Me
Very Long, Will Bore Hell Out Of Most People, But I Felt Like Doing It
It's Not A Job. It's An Adventure.
Cloudy, With Possible Tidal Wave