Did You Know We Won the Afghan War This Weekend?

By: Wednesday December 31, 2014 9:00 am

Winning wars used to be much cooler. But hey, did you know we won the war in Afghanistan this weekend? Or, at least we ended the war in Afghanistan this weekend? It is true. America’s longest war, clocking in at more than 13 years, (fun fact: the U.S. involvement in WWII, when we defeated the [...]

 

Why Iraq Paid for 50,000 Soldiers Who Didn’t Exist

By: Tuesday December 23, 2014 9:00 am

One of the latest stories from Iraq is that some 50,000 “ghost soldiers” haunt the rolls of the Iraqi Army. They have been added to the rosters so that someone can skim away all or part of their salaries. The story has been played for Daily Show-like laughs, has been cited as a cause for [...]

Obama Reverses Pledge On US Combat Role In Afghanistan

By: Monday November 24, 2014 7:03 am

Last May President Barack Obama announced that US forces in Afghanistan would finally be ending their combat mission and in 2015 would move to an advisory role. According to The New York Times that pledge has now been reversed with an order to continue combat missions against the Taliban and anyone else who threatens US forces in the country or the Afghan government. Rather than pull back from Afghanistan as President Obama promised, the US is doubling down.

Shrinking the Empire: A Session on the Imperial Couch

By: Wednesday November 12, 2014 5:58 pm

Doctor: Would you like to tell me why you’re here?

American Empire: Well, Doc, I’m feeling a little off. To tell you the truth, I’m kind of confused, even a little dizzy some of the time.

Doctor: When did you first experience symptoms of dizziness?

AE: I think it was all the pivoting that did it. First I was pivoting out of Iraq. Then I was pivoting out of Afghanistan. Then I was pivoting to Asia. Then I was secretly pivoting to Africa. Then all of a sudden I was pivoting into Iraq again, and Syria, and Afghanistan, and… well, you get the picture.

We Must Always Have War Because Magic

By: Saturday November 8, 2014 9:30 am

This advertisement for permanent war appeared in my local newspaper today.

By pointing out this fact I am neither opposing working with religious groups that favor peace nor asserting that Martin Luther King Jr. was a warmonger.

But religious peace activists could, as far as anyone can tell, be peace activists without the religion.

Rory Fanning: Why Do We Keep Thanking the Troops?

By: Monday October 27, 2014 6:30 pm

Last week, in a quiet indie bookstore on the north side of Chicago, I saw the latest issue of Rolling Stone resting on a chrome-colored plastic table a few feet from a barista brewing a vanilla latte. A cold October rain fell outside. A friend of mine grabbed the issue and began flipping through it. Knowing that I was a veteran, he said, “Hey, did you see this?” pointing to a news story that seemed more like an ad. It read in part:

“This Veterans Day, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Rihanna, Dave Grohl, and Metallica will be among numerous artists who will head to the National Mall in Washington D.C. on November 11th for ‘The Concert For Valor,’ an all-star event that will pay tribute to armed services.”

“Concert For Valor? That sounds like something the North Korean government would organize,” I said as I typed Concertforvalor.com into my MacBook Pro looking for more information…

The Pentagon and Big Oil: Militarism and Capital Accumulation

By: Sunday October 26, 2014 6:20 pm

There is no question that, in the immediate aftermath and for several years following US military conquests, wars, occupations and sanctions, US multi-national corporations lost out on profitable sites for investments. The biggest losses were in the exploitation of natural resources – in particular, gas and oil – in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf and South Asia.

As a result some observers speculated that there were deep fissures and contradictory interests within the US ruling class. They argued that, on the one hand, political elites linked to pro-Israel lobbies and the military industrial power configuration, promoted a highly militarized foreign policy agenda and, on the other hand, some of the biggest and wealthiest multi-national corporations sought diplomatic solutions.

A Different “War Is Good For Us” Argument

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 5:15 pm

The United States has a long history of overthrowing democracies and engineering military coups, from 1953 Iran up through present day Honduras, Venezuela, Ukraine, etc. The idea that so-called democracies don’t attack other democracies is often expanded, even further from reality, by imagining that this is because other democracies can be dealt with rationally, whereas the nations that ours attacks only understand the so-called language of violence.

Peter Van Buren: Seven Bad Endings to the New War in the Middle East

By: Thursday October 16, 2014 3:14 pm

You know the joke? You describe something obviously heading for disaster — a friend crossing Death Valley with next to no gas in his car — and then add, “What could possibly go wrong?”

Such is the Middle East today. The U.S. is again at war there, bombing freely across Iraq and Syria, advising here, droning there, coalition-building in the region to loop in a little more firepower from a collection of recalcitrant allies, and searching desperately for some non-American boots to put on the ground.

Here, then, are seven worst-case scenarios in a part of the world where the worst case has regularly been the best that’s on offer. After all, with all that military power being brought to bear on the planet’s most volatile region, what could possibly go wrong?

Lost Iraqi Billions Found?

By: Monday October 13, 2014 10:00 am

New information from the former Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGAR) Stuart Bowen, reported by perhaps the bravest journalist alive today, James Risen, shows that of the multi-billions of U.S. dollars cash literally shipped on pallets to Iraq in 2003, over one billion was traced into Lebanon (the other billions remain unaccounted for.)

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