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

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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,...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014
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
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
'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
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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