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

Views
Thursday, April 14, 2016
What's the Meaning of American Failure?
The dishonesty of words illustrates the dishonesty of America’s wars. Since 9/11, can there be any doubt that the public has become numb to the euphemisms that regularly accompany U.S. troops, drones, and CIA operatives into Washington’s imperial conflicts across the Greater Middle East and Africa...
Read more
Views
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
America's Post-Democratic Military
In the decades since the draft ended in 1973, a strange new military has emerged in the United States. Think of it, if you will, as a post-democratic force that prides itself on its warrior ethos rather than the old-fashioned citizen-soldier ideal. As such, it’s a military increasingly divorced...
Read more
Views
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Imperial Affluenza: The Pentagon as the World's Deadliest Spoiled Brat
The word “ affluenza ” is much in vogue. Lately, it’s been linked to a Texas teenager, Ethan Couch , who in 2013 killed four people in a car accident while driving drunk. During the trial, a defense witness argued that Couch should not be held responsible for his destructive acts. His parents had...
Read more
Views
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Tourists of Empire: America’s Peculiar Brand of Global Imperialism
The United States is a peculiar sort of empire. As a start, Americans have been in what might be called imperial denial since the Spanish-American War of 1898, if not before. Empire -- us? We denied its existence even while our soldiers were administering “ water cures ” (aka waterboarding) to...
Read more
Views
Thursday, September 03, 2015
Training Wheels: The Fatal Flaw in U.S. Foreign Policy
You read it here first: the fatal flaw in U.S. foreign policy is training wheels . Yes, those supplemental wheels you add to your child's bike when she's first trying to learn how to balance herself as she pedals. How so? Listen closely to America's leaders as they talk about helping Iraqis,...
Read more
Views
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Time to Hold Military Boots to the Fire: On 70 Years of Military Mediocrity
Thomas Jefferson Hall , West Point’s library and learning center, prominently features two quotations for cadets to mull over. In the first, Jefferson writes George Washington in 1788: “The power of making war often prevents it, and in our case would give efficacy to our desire of peace.” In the...
Read more
Views
Monday, June 29, 2015
"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...
Read more
Views
Thursday, May 14, 2015
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...
Read more
Views
Monday, February 02, 2015
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...
Read more
Views
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
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...
Read more

Pages