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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Monday, June 29, 2015 - 6:30am
"Hi, I'm Uncle Sam and I'm a War-oholic"
War on drugs . War on poverty . War in Afghanistan. War in Iraq. War on terror . The biggest mistake in American policy, foreign and domestic, is looking at everything as war. When a war mentality takes over, it chooses the weapons and tactics for you. It limits the terms of debate before you even...
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Thursday, May 14, 2015 - 9:00am
America's Mutant Military
It’s 1990. I’m a young captain in the U.S. Air Force. I’ve just witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, something I never thought I’d see, short of a third world war. Right now I’m witnessing the slow death of the Soviet Union, without the accompanying nuclear Armageddon so many feared. Still, I’m...
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Monday, February 2, 2015 - 7:00am
War Is the New Normal: Seven Deadly Reasons Why America’s Wars Persist
It was launched immediately after the 9/11 attacks, when I was still in the military, and almost immediately became known as the Global War on Terror, or GWOT. Pentagon insiders called it “ the long war ,” an open-ended, perhaps unending, conflict against nations and terror networks mainly of a...
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 11:15am
Investing in Junk Armies: Why American Efforts to Create Foreign Armies Fail
In June, tens of thousands of Iraqi Security Forces in Nineveh province north of Baghdad collapsed in the face of attacks from the militants of the Islamic State (IS or ISIS), abandoning four major cities to that extremist movement. The collapse drew much notice in our media , but not much in the...
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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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