William Astore

William Astore

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), who has taught at the Air Force Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School, and now teaches History at the Pennsylvania College of Technology. He welcomes reader comments at wjastore@gmail.com.

Articles by this author

A state of permanent war is considered America’s new normal. (Photo: U.S. Army Photo by John Pellino/flickr) Views
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Killing Me Softly With Militarism
When Americans think of militarism , they may imagine jackbooted soldiers goose-stepping through the streets as flag-waving crowds exult; or, like our president , they may think of enormous parades featuring troops and missiles and tanks, with warplanes soaring overhead. Or nationalist dictators...
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The F-35 isn't simply a product of the naked greed and power of the military-industrial-congressional complex. In a strange way, it also reflects the ongoing love affair Americans have had with weaponry of every sort. It's about, you might say, the 1.5 trillion ways we worship warplanes and everything they mean to us. (Photo: Forsvarsdepartementet/flickr/cc) Views
Monday, September 16, 2019
The Ultra-Costly, Underwhelming F-35 Fighter: A Wasteful Weapon for America's Forever Wars
How are you with numbers? I can deal with $1.5 million. I think I can even imagine $1.5 billion, a sum a thousand times greater. But how about a million times greater: $1.5 trillion? That happens to be the estimated cost of the Pentagon's program to build, deploy, and maintain the no-longer-so-new...
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019
In Wars and Weapons We Trust: Military Strength Is America's National Religion
When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I looked to the heavens: to God and Christianity (as arbitrated by the Catholic Church) and to the soaring warbirds of the U.S. military, which I believed kept us safe. To my mind then, they were classic manifestations of American technological superiority over...
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Nineteen years into a new century, with its forever wars on terror still ongoing across startlingly large stretches of the planet, the U.S. military is now turning as well to preparations for future wars with its so-called peer competitors (China and Russia). (Photo: DVIDSHUB/flickr/cc) Views
Tuesday, July 09, 2019
The Riptide of American Militarism
Put up with me for just a moment while I wax literary. It turns out that, if French novelist Marcel Proust lived today, he might have had to retitle his Remembrance of Things Past as Remembrance of Things Present , or even more sadly, Things Future . As an ex-military man who lived through part of...
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Tuesday, June 04, 2019
The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War
From Syria to Yemen in the Middle East, Libya to Somalia in Africa, Afghanistan to Pakistan in South Asia, an American aerial curtain has descended across a huge swath of the planet. Its stated purpose: combatting terrorism. Its primary method: constant surveillance and bombing -- and yet more...
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Tuesday, April 30, 2019
How the Pentagon Took Ownership of Con Man Donald Trump
Donald Trump is a con man. Think of Trump University or a juicy Trump steak or can’t-lose casinos (that never won ). But as president, one crew he hasn't conned is the Pentagon. Quite the opposite, they've conned him because they've been at the game a lot longer and lie (in Trump-speak) in far...
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019
The Death of Peace: How the US Empire Starts Wars, But Refuses to End Them
“ Veni, Vidi, Vici ,” boasted Julius Caesar, one of history’s great military captains. “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed that famed saying when summing up the Obama administration’s military intervention in Libya in 2011 -- with a small alteration. “We...
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Turn now to the invasion of Iraq: in May 2003, President George W. Bush cockily announced “Mission Accomplished” from the deck of an aircraft carrier, only to see victory in Baghdad degenerate into insurgency and a quagmire conflict that established conditions for the rise of the Islamic State. (Photo: DVIDSHUB/flickr/cc) Views
Monday, January 28, 2019
The U.S. Military’s Lost Wars
One of the finest military memoirs of any generation is Defeat Into Victory, British Field Marshal Sir William Slim’s perceptive account of World War II’s torturous Burma campaign, which ended in a resounding victory over Japan. When America’s generals write their memoirs about their never-ending...
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If you ask—and few Americans do these days—why this country’s losing wars persist, the answer should be, at least in part: because there’s no accountability. (Photo:Flickr/cc) Views
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Why American Leaders Persist in Waging Losing Wars
As America enters the 18th year of its war in Afghanistan and its 16th in Iraq, the war on terror continues in Yemen , Syria, and parts of Africa, including Libya, Niger , and Somalia . Meanwhile, the Trump administration threatens yet more war, this time with Iran . (And given these last years,...
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"When we blur sports and the military, adding corporate agendas into the mix, we're not just doing a disservice to our troops and our athletes; we’re doing a disservice to ourselves.' (Photo: Shaun King/Facebook) Views
Monday, August 20, 2018
Why Can’t We Just Play Ball?
As long as I can remember, I’ve been a sports fan. As long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in the military. Until recently, I experienced those as two separate and distinct worlds. While I was in the military -- I served for 20 years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force -- I did, of course,...
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