William Astore

William J. Astore, a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and professor of history, is a TomDispatch regular.  He welcomes reader comments at wjastore@gmail.com. To listen to Timothy MacBain's latest TomCast audio interview in which Astore discusses the difficulty of speaking one’s mind in the military, click here, or download it to your iPod here.

 

Articles by this author

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 9:45am
The American Cult of Bombing: Why You Should Expect More Bombs to be Dropped Everywhere
When you do something again and again, placing great faith in it, investing enormous amounts of money in it, only to see indifferent or even negative results, you wouldn’t be entirely surprised if a neutral observer questioned your sanity or asked you if you were part of some cult. Yet few...
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Thursday, June 12, 2014 - 12:00pm
Uncle Sam Doesn’t Want You — He Already Has You
I spent four college years in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and then served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. In the military, especially in basic training, you have no privacy. The government owns you. You’re “government issue,” just another G.I., a number on a dogtag that has your...
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Monday, October 21, 2013 - 6:40am
'Shock Doctrine' Americana: Endless War as the Ultimate Business Model
There is a new normal in America: our government may shut down, but our wars continue. Congress may not be able to pass a budget, but the U.S.
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Monday, March 25, 2013 - 7:21am
Drone Warfare is Neither Cheap, Nor Surgical, Nor Decisive
Today’s unmanned aerial vehicles, most famously Predator and Reaper drones, have been celebrated as the culmination of the longtime dreams of airpower enthusiasts, offering the possibility of victory through quick, clean, and selective destruction. Those drones, so the (very old) story goes, assure the U.S. military of command of the high ground, and so provide the royal road to a speedy and decisive triumph over helpless enemies below.
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Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 11:43am
Sucking Up to the Military Brass
Few things have characterized the post-9/11 American world more than our worshipful embrace of our generals. They’ve become our heroes, our sports stars, and our celebrities all rolled into one. We can’t stop gushing about them .
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Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 12:10pm
The National Security State Wins (Again)
Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, the media is already handicapping the presidential election big time, and the neck-and-neck opinion polls are pouring in. But whether President Obama gets his second term or Romney enters the Oval Office, there’s a third candidate no one’s paying much attention to, and that candidate is guaranteed to be the one clear winner of election 2012: the U.S.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 10:13am
Fighting 1% Wars: Why Our Wars of Choice May Prove Fatal
America’s wars are remote. They’re remote from us geographically, remote from us emotionally (unless you’re serving in the military or have a close relative or friend who serves), and remote from our major media outlets, which have given us no compelling narrative about them, except that they’re being fought by “America’s heroes” against foreign terrorists and evil-doers. They’re even being fought, in significant part, by remo
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011 - 11:07am
Siamese Twins Sharing the Same Brain: How the Military and the Civilian Are Blurring in Washington
I have a fairy tale for you. Once upon a time, a representative democracy was established with a constitution that distilled the wisdom of the ages. Its foundational principles included civilian control of the military and a system of checks and balances that encouraged vigorous public debate as a basis for effective policy-making.
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Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 10:48am
The Crash and Burn of Old Regimes: Washington Court Culture and Its Endless Wars
The killing of Osama bin Laden, “a testament to the greatness of our country” according to President Obama, should not be allowed to obscure a central reality of our post-9/11 world. Our conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya remain instances of undeclared war, a fact that contributes to their remoteness from our American world.
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Monday, February 21, 2011 - 8:01am
The Cost of Our Wars
“Support our troops” is an unconditional American mantra. We’re told to celebrate them as warrior-liberators , as heroes , as the finest fighters the world has ever known.
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