Lieutenant Alexander Bonnyman Jr. on Tarawa

Calling the troops ‘heroes’ is a lie that puts them — and democracy — in danger

Clay Bonnyman Evans This essay is adapted from a chapter in a book (not yet available) about Lt. Bonnyman and Tarawa, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Despite an overwhelming post-9/11 cultural consensus, serving in the military does not automatically make anyone a hero. That’s just an empty, self-regarding myth Americans tell themselves to soothe a guilty…

B-1 Bomber (NYT photo)

Still Pursuing the Dream of Bombing

W.J. Astore There you go again, President Obama, echoing a line delivered by that consummate actor, Ronald Reagan.  Yes, we’re bombing Iraq again, in the name of humanitarianism.  This time, we’re only getting the “bad” Iraqis, so it’s OK.  Right? The only “humanitarian” bombing I’ve ever heard of is in fiction; specifically, in Slaughter-House Five,…

Mary McCarthy

Afghanistan: Still Losing

W.J. Astore In April of 2009, I wrote the following article for TomDispatch.com on the situation in Afghanistan.  During his 2008 campaign for President, Obama had claimed that Afghanistan was the right war to be fighting, and that Bush and Company had taken their eye off the Afghan ball when they chose to invade Iraq…

pamphlet

My Opposition to the Vietnam War

My Opposition to the Vietnam War Greg Laxer.  Introduction by William Astore. This week, historians have marked the 100th anniversary of World War I, a cataclysm that resulted in the deaths of more than nine million soldiers and the collapse of four empires.  Yet there’s another grim anniversary that has gone mostly unmarked: the 50th…

us constitution

Dissent and Democracies

W.J. Astore Dissent is fundamental to democracy.  Or so we claim.  Until such dissent makes us angry or uncomfortable.  Then we yell at the dissenter to shut up; better yet, we denounce him or her as a traitor to … well, whatever fits. But responsible criticism of the actions of one’s government is not disloyalty;…

Big Bertha (wiki)

A Century of Mass Slaughter

W.J. Astore.  Also featured at Huffington Post. This August marks the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. That “Great War” was many things, but it was most certainly a war of machines, of dreadnought battleships and “Big Bertha” artillery, of newfangled airplanes and tortoise-like tanks. Industrial juggernauts like Great Britain, France, and…

Jacques Callot captured the miseries of the Thirty Years' War.  Here we see a mass hanging

A New Thirty Years’ War in the Middle East?

W.J. Astore The Middle East of the early 21st century is looking more and more like the Thirty Years’ War of the early 17th century that tore apart the Germanic states of the Holy Roman Empire.  Religious sectarianism?  In the 17th century, Catholics and Protestants killed each other with gusto.  Disunity?  Yes, within and among…