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, November 29, 2012
Sucking Up to the Military Brass
Few things have characterized the post-9/11 American world more than our worshipful embrace of our generals. They’ve become our heroes, our sports stars, and our celebrities all rolled into one. We can’t stop gushing about them .
Read more
Views
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The National Security State Wins (Again)
Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, the media is already handicapping the presidential election big time, and the neck-and-neck opinion polls are pouring in. But whether President Obama gets his second term or Romney enters the Oval Office, there’s a third candidate no one’s paying much attention to, and that candidate is guaranteed to be the one clear winner of election 2012: the U.S.
Read more
Views
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Fighting 1% Wars: Why Our Wars of Choice May Prove Fatal
America’s wars are remote. They’re remote from us geographically, remote from us emotionally (unless you’re serving in the military or have a close relative or friend who serves), and remote from our major media outlets, which have given us no compelling narrative about them, except that they’re being fought by “America’s heroes” against foreign terrorists and evil-doers. They’re even being fought, in significant part, by remo
Read more
Views
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Siamese Twins Sharing the Same Brain: How the Military and the Civilian Are Blurring in Washington
I have a fairy tale for you. Once upon a time, a representative democracy was established with a constitution that distilled the wisdom of the ages. Its foundational principles included civilian control of the military and a system of checks and balances that encouraged vigorous public debate as a basis for effective policy-making.
Read more
Views
Thursday, May 12, 2011
The Crash and Burn of Old Regimes: Washington Court Culture and Its Endless Wars
The killing of Osama bin Laden, “a testament to the greatness of our country” according to President Obama, should not be allowed to obscure a central reality of our post-9/11 world. Our conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Libya remain instances of undeclared war, a fact that contributes to their remoteness from our American world.
Read more
Views
Monday, February 21, 2011
The Cost of Our Wars
“Support our troops” is an unconditional American mantra. We’re told to celebrate them as warrior-liberators , as heroes , as the finest fighters the world has ever known.
Read more
Views
Thursday, January 06, 2011
Freedom Fighters for a Fading Empire
Words matter, as candidate Barack Obama said in the 2008 election campaign. What to make, then, of President Obama's pep talk last month to U.S.
Read more
Views
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
The Rich Get Richer, the Poor Poorer
More tax breaks for the rich in exchange for another year's worth of unemployment benefits for the desperate: Now there's a compromise that makes me proud to be an American. My father wouldn't have been surprised. He grew up during the Great Depression and worked in factories before he was drafted and served in the Army during World War II. Dad told me that the harder he worked (physically), the less he got paid. And he told me there was nothing like repetitive and physically-grueling factory work to make you want to improve yourself.
Read more
Views
Monday, November 01, 2010
The New American Isolationism: The Cost of Turning Away from War’s Horrific Realities
A new isolationism is metastasizing in the American body politic. At its heart lies not an urge to avoid war, but an urge to avoid contemplating the costs and realities of war. It sees war as having analgesic qualities -- as lessening a collective feeling of impotence, a collective sense of fear and terror. Making war in the name of reducing terror serves this state of mind and helps to preserve it. Marked by a calculated estrangement from war's horrific realities and mercenary purposes, the new isolationism magically turns an historic term on its head, for
Read more
Views
Thursday, July 22, 2010
“Our American Heroes”: Why It’s Wrong to Equate Military Service with Heroism
When I was a kid in the 1970s, I loved reading accounts of American heroism from World War II.
Read more

Pages