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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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.
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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
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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.
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Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Pentagon Church Militant and Us
When it comes to our nation's military affairs, ignorance is not bliss. What's remarkable then, given the permanent state of war in which we find ourselves, is how many Americans seem content not to know.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
A Very American Coup: Coming Soon to a Hometown Near You
The wars in distant lands were always going to come home, but not this way. It's September 2016, year 15 of America's " Long War " against terror. As weary troops return to the homeland, a bitter reality assails them: despite their sacrifices, America is losing.
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Wednesday, December 16, 2009
'They’re Wasted': The Price of Pushing Our Troops Too Far
When I was on active duty in the military, an Army friend used to remind me: "Any day you're not being shot at is a good Army day." Today's troops, especially if they're "boots on the ground" in Iraq and Afghanistan, don't have enough good Army days. Many of them are on their fourth or fifth deployments to a combat zone. They're stressed out and tired; they miss their spouses and families. And often they've seen things they wish they'd never seen.
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Friday, September 04, 2009
American Militarism on Steroids
I have a few confessions to make: After almost eight years of off-and-on war in Afghanistan and after more than six years of mayhem and death since "Mission Accomplished" was declared in Operation Iraqi Freedom, I'm tired of seeing simpleminded magnetic ribbons on vehicles telling me, a 20-year military veteran, to support or pray for our troops. As a Christian, I find it presumptuous to see ribbons shaped like fish, with an American flag as a tail, informing me that God blesses our troops.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009
Educating Ourselves to Oblivion
Hardly a week goes by without dire headlines about the failure of the American education system. Our students don't perform well in math and science. The high-school dropout rate is too high. Minority students are falling behind. Teachers are depicted as either overpaid drones protected by tenure or underpaid saints at the mercy of deskbound administrators and pushy parents.
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Friday, April 17, 2009
Regarding Afghanistan: Seven Lessons and Many Questions for the President
In 1967, outraged by the course of the Vietnam War, as well as her country's role in prolonging and worsening it, Mary McCarthy , novelist, memoirist, and author of the bestseller The Group, went to Saigon, then the capital of South Vietnam, to judge the situation for herself. The next year, she went to the North Vietnamese capital, Hanoi.
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Monday, February 16, 2009
Is the US Military Now an Imperial Police Force?
A leaner, meaner, higher tech force -- that was what George W. Bush and his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld promised to transform the American military into. Instead, they came close to turning it into a foreign legion. Foreign as in being constantly deployed overseas on imperial errands; foreign as in being ever more reliant on private military contractors; foreign as in being increasingly segregated from the elites that profit most from its actions, yet serve the least in its ranks.
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