Fighters of the Islamic State (Associated Press)

War Again in Iraq and the American Desire Never to be Labeled a Loser

W.J. Astore In April 2009, I wrote an article for TomDispatch.com recounting Mary McCarthy’s critique of the American experience in Vietnam, and how her lessons applied to President Obama’s “surge” in Afghanistan.  A central lesson cited by McCarthy was the American desire never to be labeled a loser.  That desire explains, at least in part,…

Who Is Listening to You?

Fascist America?

By KokonutGrove As a student of American history and politics, in my lifetime I’ve witnessed a dangerous erosion of civil and personal liberties.  Such an erosion is the hallmark of fascism. Back in the 1970s and ‘80s when my father was stationed in Berlin, he often discussed the totalitarian police state the East Germans created as…

There's no shortage of tanks in the USA

What Americans Value

W.J. Astore A sentiment attributed to Vice President Joe Biden is, Show me what’s in your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.  These words resonate with me whenever I consider the yearly budget for the Department of Defense (DoD), Homeland Security, the Department of Energy (which handles nuclear weapons), and the various intelligence…

Obama "consults" with Congress before ordering more bombing.  Note the irony of George Washington's portrait, the man who warned us to avoid foreign entanglements

Obama’s Speech on ISIS: More of the Same, As in Military Action (Updated)

W.J. Astore President Obama’s speech tonight on the Islamic State (or ISIS) promises more military action.  More airstrikes, more boots on the ground (mainly Special Forces), more training for the Iraqi military (who have endured more than a decade’s worth of U.S. military training, with indifferent results), and more weapons sales (which often end up…