Tourists of Empire

W.J. Astore I recently received an update from the National Priorities Project reminding me of this startling fact: “The president announced last week that American troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond the planned withdrawal at the end of 2016. This is a devastating blow. We’ve already spent $716 billion and counting on the war in…

Global Reach, Global Power, Has Deep Roots in America’s Past

W.J. Astore The U.S. military today openly boasts of global reach, global power.  Full spectrum dominance is the goal, with that spectrum encompassing land, sea, and air operations, but also extending to space (“the shining stars, and beyond,” one Air Force advertisement claimed) and cyberspace. The desire for global dominance has deep roots in American…

Bread and Circuses in Rome and America

W.J. Astore Just posted a new article to Huffington Post.  Here’s the link and the article (pasted below): The expression “bread and circuses” captures a certain cynical political view that the masses can be kept happy with fast food (think Cartman’s “Cheesy Poofs” on South Park) and faster entertainment (NASCAR races, NFL games, and the like).…

Our Disneyland Approach to Empire

Remember in 2011 after SEAL Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden and Disney wanted to trademark the unit’s name for a collection of toys and games and miscellanea? It’s one of those blips on our collective cultural radar that seems insignificant, yet it points to our tendency to see war and empire as a game,…