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

The next time you see a POW/MIA flag outside a federal building, don’t dismiss it as a relic of America’s past.  Think about its meaning and relevance in an era of constant global warfare and colossal military spending. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, January 12, 2021
We're All Prisoners of War Now
"POWs Never Have A Nice Day." That sentiment was captured on a button a friend of mine wore for our fourth grade class photo in 1972. That prisoners of war could never have such a day was reinforced by the sad face on that button. Soon after, American POWs would indeed be released by their North...
Read more
We lost the Iraq War the moment we invaded in 2003 and found none of the weapons of mass destruction that Bush and his top officials had sworn were there. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Robert Reeves) Views
Tuesday, December 08, 2020
Spilling Ink and Spilling Blood: Fighting and Writing Against America’s Forever Wars
If you have a moment, how about joining two retired officers, Bill Astore and me, Danny Sjursen, as we think about this country’s catastrophic forever wars that, regardless of their deadly costs and lack of progress, never seem quite to end ? Recently, in a podcast chat about our very different but...
Read more
How sad that we don’t have a leader like George McGovern in the White House as a daunting new year looms. (Photo: Former Sen. George McGovern, April 18, 2009. (AP/Bill Haber) Views
Monday, November 09, 2020
Reclaiming American Idealism
As I lived through the nightmare of the election campaign just past, I often found myself dreaming of another American world entirely. Anything but this one. In that spirit, I also found myself looking at a photo of my fourth-grade class, vintage 1972. Tacked to the wall behind our heads was a...
Read more
The United States has been the imperial power of record on this planet since World War II. (Photo: urbantimes.co) Views
Thursday, October 01, 2020
America's Dark Side in the Age of Trump
What pops into your head when you hear the number 1,000 in a political-military context? Having studied German military history, I immediately think of Adolf Hitler’s confident boast that his Third Reich would last a thousand years. In reality, of course, a devastating world war brought that Reich...
Read more
A state of permanent war is considered America’s new normal. (Photo: U.S. Army Photo by John Pellino/flickr) Views
Monday, July 27, 2020
Killing Democracy in America
The phrase "thinking about the unthinkable" has always been associated with the unthinkable cataclysm of a nuclear war, and rightly so. Lately, though, I’ve been pondering another kind of unthinkable scenario, nearly as nightmarish (at least for a democracy) as a thermonuclear Armageddon, but one...
Read more
When military "battle rattle" becomes the standard gear for street cops, should we be that surprised to hear the death rattle of black men like George Floyd? (Photo:  Apu GOMES / AFP via Getty Images) Views
Monday, June 08, 2020
'Light Em Up': Warrior Cops When the Wars Come Home
From their front porches, regular citizens watched a cordon of cops sweep down their peaceful street in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Rankled at being filmed, the cops exceeded their authority and demanded that people go inside their houses. When some of them didn’t obey quickly enough, the order—one...
Read more
During the COVID-19 coronavirus emergency, tourists on the quay of the port of Naples are checked with a thermo scanner by Civil Protection personnel, dressed in overalls and masks to protect themselves. (Photo: Marco Cantile/LightRocket via Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
What My Father Taught Me About Living Through Coronavirus Hard Times
My dad was born in 1917. Somehow, he survived the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, but an outbreak of whooping cough in 1923 claimed his baby sister, Clementina. One of my dad’s first memories was seeing his sister’s tiny white casket. Another sister was permanently marked by scarlet fever. In...
Read more
Most of the time, those overseas conflicts are literally out of sight (and largely out of mind). (Photo:Reuters) Views
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
America’s Endless Wars Persist Because They Don’t Exist (For Americans)
There is no significant anti-war movement in America because there’s no war to protest. Let me explain. In February 2003, millions of people took to the streets around the world to protest America’s march to war against Iraq. That mass movement failed. The administration of George W. Bush and Dick...
Read more
The U.S., after all, hasn’t won a major conflict since World War II, when it was aided by a grand alliance that included Soviet dictator Josef Stalin’s godless communists. (Photo by Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, February 04, 2020
The Art of the Deal, Pentagon-Style
The expression " self-licking ice cream cone " was first used in 1992 to describe a hidebound bureaucracy at NASA . Yet, as an image, it’s even more apt for America’s military-industrial complex, an institution far vaster than NASA and thoroughly dedicated to working for its own perpetuation and...
Read more
"For a select few, war pays dividends in ways that peace doesn't," writes Astore. "In a nutshell, or perhaps an artillery shell, war is anti-democratic, anti-progressive, anti-intellectual, and anti-human." (Photo: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images) Views
Monday, December 02, 2019
American Exceptionalism Is Killing Planet Earth
Ever since 2007, when I first started writing for TomDispatch , I’ve been arguing against America’s forever wars, whether in Afghanistan , Iraq , or elsewhere . Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that, despite my more than 60 articles, American blood is still being spilled in war after war across the...
Read more

Pages