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 U.S. military's new emphasis on near-peer conflicts will undoubtedly help funnel trillions of dollars into yet more weaponry, including a revamped nuclear arsenal," writes Astore, "but it does not bode well for reasoned diplomacy or anything like peace on this planet." (Image: CodePink) Views
Thursday, April 08, 2021
Back to the Future—and the Cold War—at the Pentagon
The future isn’t what it used to be. As a teenager in the 1970s, I watched a lot of TV science fiction shows, notably Space: 1999 and UFO , that imagined a near future of major moon bases and alien attacks on Earth. Movies of that era like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey envisioned colossal...
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U.S. Air Force Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning stealth fighter flies over the San Francisco Bay on October 13, 2019. (Photo: Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images) Views
Thursday, March 04, 2021
Rewarding Failure: Why Pentagon Weapons Programs Rarely Get Canceled Despite Major Problems
Cancel culture is a common, almost viral, term in political and social discourse these days. Basically, somebody expresses views considered to be outrageous or vile or racist or otherwise insensitive and inappropriate. In response, that person is "canceled," perhaps losing a job or otherwise...
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Then Vice President Joseph Biden attending a dignified transfer for Army Pfc. Tyler R. Lubelt of Tamaroa, Illinois, at Dover Air Force Base November 15, 2016 in Dover, Delaware. Lubelt, 20, died November 12 of injuries sustained from a suicide bomb attack at Bagram Airfield near Kabul in Afghanistan. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images) Views
Tuesday, February 02, 2021
A Ten-Point Plan to Make Joe Biden a Peace-Time President
When it comes to war, if personnel is policy, America is yet again in deep trouble. As retired Army Major Danny Sjursen recently pointed out at TomDispatch , when it comes to foreign policy, President Joe Biden’s new cabinet and advisers are well stocked with retired generals , reconstituted...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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