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 TeasersTom Engelhardt Blogview

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He was a graduate student when, in the midst of the Vietnam War, he started to explore the history behind the heroin epidemic then infecting the U.S. Army in Vietnam. He soon found himself, almost inadvertently, on the heroin trail across Southeast Asia and deep into the CIA’s involvement in an earlier version of America’s drug wars. In a shadow world of black ops, mercenaries, and drug lords he hadn’t even known existed, he first stumbled upon some of the secrets of the U.S. national security state. It proved a tale fit for a John le Carré novel or, better yet, a seedy bar where the air is hot and still, the customers rough, and the drinks strong. If TomDispatch regular and historian Alfred McCoy had told you his story over a whiskey, you’d be obliged to buy the next round. It’s that kind of an account and, in fact, he did tell some of the story to this site’s readers back in August 2017 (and in his recent hit book, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. Global Power).

It was and is a hell of a tale (and one he almost died telling) and then, when he turned it into his first book, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, the CIA tried (unsuccessfully in the end) to suppress it. That was 1972. Nearly half a century later, McCoy returns to the subject that launched (and almost ended) his career: America’s drug wars. If this isn’t the subject from hell, then what is in an America that, year after year, leads the world in the number of people it incarcerates, no small thanks to its never-ending drug wars? Settle back and consider the madness of it all, so many years later, with McCoy.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Drug Laws 

Once upon a time, it was an “invisible government” — or, at least, that’s what David Wise and Thomas Ross called it in their famed 1964 book of that title. Those two journalists, shining a bright light into “the shadows” of the Cold War, found the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies working assiduously to shape the world. The opening lines of their book were memorable: “There are two governments in the United States today. One is visible. The other is invisible.” Wise and Ross began, then added, “The first is the government that citizens read about in their newspapers and children study about in their civics books. The second is the interlocking, hidden machinery that carries out the policies of the United States in the Cold War. This second, invisible government gathers intelligence, conducts espionage, and plans and executes secret operations all over the globe.”

That was then, of course, and this is now. The U.S. Intelligence Community, or IC (as it likes to call itself), has almost doubled its membership since then. Its budget only continues to rise as part of a trillion-dollar-plus national security state that, in our era, has been ominously dubbed — by President Trump’s supporters and others — “the deep state.” It’s a phrase that still implies 1960s-style invisibility, a vast, increasingly powerful structure somehow entombed in the bedrock of the capital that you might miss entirely.

Today, TomDispatch regular Andrew Bacevich explores some of the myths of our time that the Trump presidency has, however inadvertently, helped expose. I’d like to add one of my own: that modern version of the “invisible government.” To my mind, what Trump’s moment has helped illuminate is that all those intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, and the rest of that national security state might as well be called the shallow state or perhaps, with Wise and Ross in mind, the visible government. That staggeringly funded fourth branch of government now looms so large that it regularly proves capable of thwarting the will and wishes of this or any other president when it wants its way. Its retired officials — take as an example former CIA Director John Brennan, now an MSNBC/NBC News national security analyst — are no longer living lives modestly off the grid. They are now TV personalities, chattering their heads off, extremely visible emissaries from that very visible government that remains remarkably unaccountable to anyone, Donald Trump included.

Now, let Bacevich take you on a tour of some of the other phenomena of our increasingly bizarro American world that Donald Trump has helped make all too visible.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, CIA 

There are a few genuinely upbeat news stories when it comes to this planet and people trying to figure out how to save us from ourselves and our fossil-fuel addiction. This at a moment of record global surface temperatures and record ocean heating when, despite the Paris climate accord of 2015, carbon dioxide from those fossil fuels is once again entering the atmosphere in record amounts. Take little Costa Rica, where Claudia Dobles, an urban planner who just happens to be the wife of the country’s president, has launched a model national decarbonization plan aimed at fully weaning that country off even the slightest reliance on fossil fuels by 2050. Or consider Copenhagen, Denmark’s capital, whose mayor, Frank Jensen, is working to make it “carbon neutral” by 2022. Or think about the scientists now exploring far more controversial and futuristic geo-engineering schemes to try to deal with a world that could, in the decades to come, run amuck in global-warming terms — including the possibility of spraying planet-cooling aerosols like sulfur dioxide (in imitation of the gases emitted by volcanoes) into the atmosphere to reverse the effects of global warming.

Of course, while all of the above are hopeful, none of them offer full-scale solutions to a crisis that threatens to quite literally sink not just cities, but potentially civilization itself. As it happens, there is an obvious solution to the climate-change crisis staring us all in the face, one that TomDispatch regular Dilip Hiro (author of a particularly timely new book, Cold War in the Islamic World: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Struggle for Supremacy), brings up today. Forget Costa Rica, Copenhagen, aerosols, even that climate accord. Forget Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Forget it all. On a planet that’s teetered at the edge of one kind of nuclear holocaust or another since mid-last century, there’s always the possibility that nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, so often near, or in, conflict, could go to war and it might prove to be the war to end all wars.

At any moment, as Hiro explains, some act of terror could set them off in a way that would lead to the planet’s first actual nuclear war. And here’s the thing: scientists believe that such a war in South Asia could not only kill millions in those two countries, but throw enough smoke and soot particulates into the atmosphere to cause a global nuclear winter. In that case, it’s estimated that somewhere between one and two billion inhabitants of this planet could die (mainly due to crop failures and starvation). But one problem created, another solved: climate change would, at least for the immediate future, be a thing of the past (as would a significant part of humanity). With that in mind, read Hiro, and think about a species that might have to rely on nuclear war to solve its problems.

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: India, Nuclear War, Pakistan 

Charles W. Engelhard, Jr., was “the platinum king” of South Africa (and was evidently the model for Ian Fleming’s James Bond nemesis Goldfinger). He lived mainly in a “Rhinelike castle, turrets and all,” in Far Hills, New Jersey, but did shuttle via his own fleet of aircraft among four other palatial homes in Johannesburg, South Africa, Boca Grande, Florida, the Gaspé Peninsula, Canada, and the Waldorf Towers in my hometown, New York City, and he had business dealings in 50 countries. He was not my father.

My dad, Charles L. Engelhardt, known all his life as “Len” for his middle name, “Leonard,” lived in a rent-controlled apartment at 40 East 58th Street in Manhattan that he and my mother had found after he was demobilized from World War II. For part of my childhood, he shuttled between there and the gas station he ran on Governor’s Island, an Army base just off the southern tip of Manhattan — until, for a terrible period in the golden 1950s, he was largely out of work and shuttled between nowhere (except possibly bars and home).

Still, I did manage to cross paths with the other Charles, the incredibly rich one, several times in my life. There was that moment when his wife’s hat bill was mistakenly delivered to our house in the worst of economic times and my dad briefly went nuts. There was the butcher in my neighborhood decades later who, if I gave him a check, always said with a little mischievous smile, “Engelhardt… I should have invested in platinum when I had the chance!” And there was, of course, Yale, my personal introduction to big-time inequality in a society that, compared to the present gilded age described so vividly by TomDispatch regular Rajan Menon today, would look like a nirvana of economic equality.

At the time, Yale was still a prime staging ground for the WASP elite. I was a Jewish kid from New York applying (under pressure from my Charles Engelhardt, who saw it as the upward-mobile route to another universe) just at the moment when that school was finally removing its quotas on Jews. That was in every way another age. With the recent set of scandals over college admissions in mind, I was certainly typical in 1961 when I simply walked into my SAT tests one day — no preparation, no courses beforehand, no tutors, no special payments, little understanding of what they even were. Later that year, I had an interview with some Yale alum and bumped into the other Charles for the last time. I no longer remember the context, but my interviewer somehow brought up that Engelhard (no “t”) and ever after I wondered whether he had confused the scions of two very unequal Engelhard(t) families. (It’s unlikely, since I got into Yale off the waiting list and went there — to my deep disappointment– under strong pressure from my parents who could, then, ill afford it.)

And that was how my introduction to what inequality meant in this country began. Keep in mind that I attended Yale with George W. Bush and what seemed like a bevy of other George W.s, future CEOs standing around beer kegs. Despite a genuinely fine education, when I left, I felt like I had been freed from jail and yet, as Menon points out today, when it comes to gilded ages and gilded cages, those of more than half a century ago were pikers compared to the present moment.

  • Money Talks, Big Time
    1% Politics and the Scandals of A New Gilded Age
    Rajan Menon • April 2, 2019 • 2,800 Words
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Academia, Inequality 

It turns out that I can thank former Army colonel and historian Andrew Bacevich for the fact that U.S. Army Major Danny Sjursen began his article-writing career at TomDispatch. That was in February 2017. His first piece was headlined “Mission Unaccomplished, 15 Years Later” and it began this way: “The United States has already lost — its war for the Middle East, that is. Having taken my own crack at combat soldiering in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that couldn’t be clearer to me. Unfortunately, it’s evidently still not clear in Washington.” More than two years later, of course, it still isn’t.

With this post, his 19th at TomDispatch, Sjursen is now officially a retired Army major who now writes for such varied non-mainstream sites as Truthdig and In his latest piece, he offers his very personal goodbye to all that — if not, unfortunately, to America’s forever wars. Back in 2017, he arrived at this website in a relatively rare fashion — over the transom. So it seemed appropriate at the moment when he’s finally left the military to ask him about how exactly he stumbled upon TomDispatch. Here’s his account:

“The way it shook out is: when I was a cadet at West Point, I took an elective from the guy who’s now the head of its history department and he had us read excerpts from Andrew Bacevich’s The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War. That work challenged everything I had been taught there. It was the only dissenting document I read then and, since it was from another soldier, another graduate of West Point, it was mind-blowing. Soon after, I disappeared into the Army. For the next eight years, I basically didn’t do anything academic, but I did keep up with Bacevich’s latest work. After being posted to Afghanistan, a country I left in 2012 more antiwar than I had ever been, I was sick, emotionally and morally, and in a bad place personally. And yet professionally, I was having an amazing year because I had just been selected to teach history at West Point, which Bacevich did as well. That meant I took off my uniform and went to a civilian graduate school for two years first.

“While I was there, I had an enormous amount of time on my hands and started writing angry little essays just for myself and reading dissenting material. I also started Googling anything by Bacevich I could find, which led me to TomDispatch. And then I started reading everything at TomDispatch and searching out its authors’ work at other sites and so was introduced to the world of non-mainstream antiwar dissent. In my last civilian semester before West Point, I madly wrote my own book on my experiences in Iraq in four months and it got published, but I still hadn’t written a single article for publication.

“When I left West Point in 2017, I suddenly found myself back in the real Army, which seemed a bereft and boring place to be. I had all this time on my hands and so I wrote my first article-length piece, which, at its original 4,000 words, seemed too long for anyplace but you. I emailed you (and other sites, too) and you wrote back…”

And the rest, as they say, is history — as now is Danny Sjursen’s Army career, but not his life at TomDispatch. Think of this, in fact, as the first installment in the next chapter of that life.

  • Goodbye to All That
    The Forever Wars Go On Without Me
    Danny Sjursen • March 31, 2019 • 2,900 Words
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military 
The Reign of King Toot

Recently, I did something rare in my life. Over a long weekend, I took a few days away and almost uniquely — I might even say miraculously — never saw Donald Trump’s face, since I didn’t watch TV and barely checked the news. They were admittedly terrible days in which 50 people were slaughtered in New Zealand. Meanwhile, the president indulged in another mad round of tweeting, managing in my absence to lash out at everything and everyone in sight (or even beyond the grave) from John McCain, Saturday Night Live, and the Mueller “witch hunt” to assorted Democrats and even Fox News for suspending host Jeanine Pirro’s show. In his version of the ultimate insult, he compared Fox to CNN. And I was blissfully ignorant of it all, which left me time to finally give a little thought to… Donald Trump.

And when I returned, on an impulse, I conjured up the initial Trumpian moment of our recent lives. I’m aware, of course, that The Donald first considered running for president in the Neolithic age of 1987. He tried to register and trademark “Make America Great Again,” a version of an old Reagan campaign slogan, only days after Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential election to a charismatic, young, black senator. He then rode that new president’s “birth certificate” into the post-Apprentice public spotlight amid a growing wave of racism in a country founded on slavery that has never truly grappled with that fact.

Still, the 47 minutes and eight seconds that I was thinking about took place more recently. On June 16, 2015, Donald and Melania Trump stepped onto a Trump Tower escalator and rode it down to the pounding beat of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” (a song the singer would soon demand, without success, that the presidential hopeful not use). A minute and a half later, they arrived in the Trump Tower lobby. There, a clapping Ivanka greeted her father with a kiss on each cheek — the first signal of the corporatist, family-style presidency to come. Then, The Donald stepped to the microphone and promptly launched his run into fake-news history.

Sometimes, the only way to go forward, or at least know where you are in the present, is to go back. Yes, Donald Trump garnered much news with his announcement that day and was already visibly having the time of his life, but no one in or out of the media then thought he had a shot at being president. Even he was only burnishing his brand. As Michael Wolff reported in his book Fire and Fury, even on election night 2016, almost a year and a half later, with the possible exception of Steve Bannon, no one in the Trump camp, including The Donald, had the slightest expectation of his winning the presidency. All of them were just burnishing their future brands.

And yet, in the spring of 2019, those largely forgotten 47 minutes are worth another look because, in retrospect, they provide such a vivid window into what was to come, what’s still coming. They offer the future president not naked at last, but naked at first, and so represent an episode of revelatory wonder (and, had anyone then believed that he might actually win the presidency, of revelatory dread as well).

The Candidate Naked as a Jaybird

Having taken another look at that first speech, I now think of the Trump era so far as the 47-minute presidency. It’s nothing short of wondrous just how strikingly that de-escalatory ride and the Trumpian verbal strip tease that followed before a cheering crowd revealed, point by point, the essence of his presidency to come. And by the way, it was certainly indicative of that future presidency that the audience (reporters aside) listening to him in the lobby of Trump Tower seems largely to have been made up of out-of-work actors being paid \$50 a pop to cheer him on. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the email sent out by Extra Mile Casting to recruit those extras read in part: “We are looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement. We understand this is not a traditional ‘background job,’ but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought.”

And given what would happen, never has an audience been bought more cheaply or effectively.

It’s hardly news today that Donald Trump would prove a unique candidate in American presidential history. On that first day, the most uniquely unique aspect of his speech (and, in the age of Trump, I offer no apologies for such an over-the-top superlative) was the utter, even brutal, honesty with which he presented — or perhaps the better word would be displayed — himself to the American people. To paint an even more honest picture, the one thing he might have done was ride that escalator up, not down, to his announcement. After all, his would be an escalation presidency of the first order. In crisis — and when is The Donald not in crisis? — it’s in his nature to escalate.

So bear with me here as I take us back almost four years to look once again at how it all began, at the way in which, after those 47 minutes, you could have turned off your TV, blocked out all those cable news talking heads, and never looked at the man again. After all, by then you knew everything you truly needed to know (except one thing that I’ll return to below) in order to grasp the Trumpian moment to come. In that sense, I think it’s fair to say, without a hint of Trump Tower-style exaggeration, that The Donald was the most honest presidential candidate we’ve ever had.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump 

Who now remembers the classic 1956 sci-fi movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers? In it, alien spores drop to earth in… yes, California (undoubtedly not too far from the Mexican border)… and develop into seed pods that can replicate and then take over any nearby sleeping human being. What a nightmarish film. It certainly scared the hell out of 12-year-old me! What a terrifying, fantastical vision of alien “invasion” and “invaders,” terms that are now as comfortable for President Trump and his base as they were for the murderous Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand recently. In fact, both men used similar terms on the same day. Tarrant posted a 74-page white-nationalist screed in which he swore that his killing spree was “to show the invaders that our lands will never be their lands.” The president, vetoing a Congressional attempt to block his national emergency to build his “great, great wall,” claimed that “people hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is.”

Of course, Trump, who has long wanted to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border and raised the possibility of sending troops there in the first days of his presidency (finally doing so last year), has regularly claimed that the citizens of this country face a literal “invasion” of aliens. As he tweeted last October, “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” He was then focused on one of the “caravans” of several thousand refugees from various devastated Central American countries who wanted to reach the border safely to present themselves as candidates for asylum here. Significantly — as TomDispatch regular and border expert William deBuys points out today — the cast of “invaders” crossing that border in recent years, like those filling the caravans, has increasingly been made up of parents (often mothers) and children.

In New Zealand, Tarrant’s response to such “invaders” — Muslims, not Mexicans or Central Americans — was to slaughter 50 people, the youngest a three year old, the oldest 78. In the U.S., it’s been other kinds of cruelty, but in both cases, the perpetrators are living in a distinctly sci-fi world in which modern versions of those body snatchers are the norm and, to take but one example, El Paso, Texas, was essentially the crime capital of the United States until it got its border wall. (It wasn’t faintly, but no matter.) So believe me, it’s a relief to leave the Trumpian body-snatching version of the border behind for a moment as deBuys explores what the realities of those borderlands actually are.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Immigration 

I remember him (barely) as a thin, bald, little old man with a white mustache and a cane. As I write this, I’m looking at a photo of him in 1947, holding the hand of little Tommy Engelhardt who had just turned three that very July day. They’re on a street somewhere in Brooklyn, New York, Tommy in shorts and a T-shirt and his grandfather, Moore (that wasn’t his original name), wearing a suit and tie. It’s hard to imagine him as the young Jewish boy from the Austro-Hungarian Empire who ran away from home — somewhere in modern-day Poland — after reportedly “pulling the Rabbi’s whiskers” in a dispute. By his own account, he spent two desperate years working to scrape together the money for passage alone in the steerage of a ship from Hamburg to America and finally made it here in the early 1890s with the equivalent of a 50-cent piece in his pocket. And he was a lucky man.

He died when I was five, but sometimes I try to imagine him arriving in New York harbor and seeing that lady, the Statue of Liberty, for the first time. A century and a quarter later, I still wonder what, at that moment, he dreamed of when it came to the country that would indeed welcome him (though his life, in those early years, was — at least as family stories had it — anything but easy). How could I imagine myself as I am now (a bald little old man with a white mustache) without him, without that moment? So today, as Donald Trump does his best to keep every imaginable modern version of my grandfather out of this country and eject so many of those “Moores” now living here, I wonder about the grim cruelty of our world.

I wrote this about my grandfather early last year and, of course, it still applies:

“In other words, my grandfather was a kind of nineteenth-century equivalent of a DACA kid (though without even parents to bring him here). Like so many other immigrants of that era, he made it to the United States from a shithole part of Europe… and he was lucky… A few decades later, Jews like him, or Slavs, or Italians, or Asians of any variety — the Haitians, Salvadorans, and Nigerians of that era — would essentially be put under the early twentieth-century equivalent of Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ and largely kept by law from entering the country. In those days, the analog to Trump’s bitter complaints about Muslims and others of color was: Europe was ‘making the United States a dumping ground for its undesirable nationals.’ (So said Henry Fairfield Osborn, the then-president of New York’s American Museum of Natural History, in 1925.)”

So, as I focused on today’s chilling piece by TomDispatch regular Karen Greenberg on the Trumpian assault on citizenship and so much else, I couldn’t help thinking about those 16-year-olds of our moment so desperately trying to make it to this country across our southern border, often alone, and just how they’ve been “welcomed,” as well as about the future Tom Engelhardts who will never come to be, at least not here in this — as Greenberg points out — increasingly walled-in and xenophobic land.

• Category: History, Ideology • Tags: Donald Trump, Immigration 

How appropriate, don’t you think? America’s longest war, the Afghan one, now heading into its 18th year, may set another kind of record — for the longest withdrawal ever. The Pentagon recently revealed news of its daring “plan” to end that war. It will take up to five years to get 14,000 U.S. troops (and unknown numbers of private contractors), military equipment, and the like out of that country successfully, ensuring a war of perhaps 23 years (without, of course, a victory in sight). To add to the cheery news, just about everyone’s on board with the plan, except perhaps for one recalcitrant individual. As the New York Times recently reported:

“So far, the plan has been met with broad acceptance in Washington and NATO headquarters in Brussels. But American officials warned that Mr. Trump could upend the new plan at any time.”

In other words, when it comes to setting records in Afghanistan (USA! USA!), the news couldn’t be more upbeat if the president doesn’t interfere (and his administration’s peace talks with the Taliban don’t somehow get in the way). In fact, there might be even better news lurking just offstage. The Pentagon’s “plan,” after all, looks strangely like an effort to simply outlast the Trump era in hopes that a future president might be far more intent on record-setting than the present one. General Joseph Votel, who heads U.S. Central Command, which oversees Washington’s never-ending wars across the Greater Middle East, may be typical of top U.S. commanders when it comes to such matters. He’s not just against the president’s urge to withdraw American troops from Syria but envisions a permanent war with ISIS into the distant future — and he imagines something similar in Afghanistan. As he told the House Armed Services Committee early this month, speaking of a possible U.S. withdrawal from that country, “The political conditions, where we are in the reconciliation right now, don’t merit that.”

So there’s no end to the records that could still be set, if it’s up to the generals, who — as TomDispatch regular and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and historian William Astore points out today — are filled with similar wisdom when it comes to what Pentagon officials have taken to calling “infinite war.”

  • Whose Blood, Whose Treasure?
    America’s Senior Generals Find No Exits From Endless War
    William J. Astore • March 19, 2019 • 2,500 Words
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Afghanistan, American Military 

Yes, it’s happening. It really is. And I’m not just thinking about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal and the support it’s getting from Democratic presidential candidates or the controversy it’s generating. I’m also thinking about Washington State Governor Jay Inslee’s entry into the 2020 presidential race on a platform that boils down to a climate-change crusade. I’m thinking about the way Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer — not your usual definition of a radical thinker or activist — is now planning to make global warming a key issue in the 2020 elections. I’m thinking about the fact that some Democrats suddenly are convinced the subject will be a winner on the campaign trail. I’m thinking about the fact that a book on climate change, David Wallace-Wells’s The Uninhabitable Earth, has just hit the bestseller list. I’m thinking about the strike-for-the-future movement, all those Generation Z kids that TomDispatch regular Frida Berrigan writes about today who have started a wave of global protests about the increasingly degraded world they’re likely to inherit.

And I’m also thinking about the fact that every new study of climate change seems to offer worse news about the fate of the planet — greater potential temperature rises; more drought and famine; larger population displacements; faster-melting Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets leading to radically rising sea levels; more unexpected climate feedback loops that will only heighten the ravages of global warming; record levels of greenhouse gases still entering the atmosphere; and, most recently, the unexpected phenomena of heat waves not on land (yes, they’re coming, too, and they’re likely to be devastating) but in the planet’s oceans that could, among other things, significantly reduce fish populations and so humanity’s food supplies yet more.

In other words, don’t think of the recent rise in climate-change attentiveness and concern among Americans as a passing thing. It’s not for the simplest of reasons: climate change itself isn’t passing. Human-caused it may be, but it’s not faintly part of human history in terms of its potential time scale, and whatever effects we’re already feeling are essentially nothing compared to what’s likely to come. So in a country that, in 2016, elected history’s greatest crew of climate-change aiders and abettors, men who may one day be seen as the worst criminals in history, something’s finally starting to happen, even if just what it is still isn’t exactly clear. Under the circumstances, parents like Frida Berrigan have a tough job ahead. They’re going to have to explain to their children just how we adults have so royally screwed up this planet, the one that should have been their birthright. And that, as she makes clear today, is the necessary conversation from hell.

• Category: Ideology • Tags: Global Warming 
Tom Engelhardt
About Tom Engelhardt

Tom Engelhardt created and runs the 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. 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 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