U.S. Military

Welcome to Base Nation

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Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2015), 432 pages. There is much in U.S. history that Americans should not be proud of. Chattel slavery. The genocide of indigenous populations. Jim Crow. The U.S. war on terror currently under way and still with no end in sight. But few ... [click for more]

The Inherent Criminality of Air Power

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Constant American bombing of much of the world ought to raise questions about the morality (if any) of air power, even if few Americans bother to confront them. (Indeed, many moral theorists would rather apply their theorizing and “intuitions” to runaway trolley cars than to the real-world problem posed here.) Air power first showed its long-imagined potential in World War ... [click for more]

Militarism: Our Civic Religion

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Militarism, U.S.A by Col. James Donovan; Foreword by Gen. David Shoup (Scribner’s 1970), 265 pages Today the United States is engaged in seemingly winless wars without end in Iraq and Afghanistan and has been engaging in interventions in places such as Libya, which seem to result in nothing but chaos. Libya has descended into civil war and the rise ... [click for more]

How the Pentagon Really Gets Funded

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Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert Gates (Knop 2014), 640 pages. The most interesting parts of former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s memoir, Duty, are about how he navigated the Department of Defense (DoD) bureaucracy and the special interests who live off it. A recurring theme is the difficulty Gates had in getting the DoD ... [click for more]

The U.S. Base on Diego Garcia: An Overlooked Atrocity

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The largest criminal organizations in the world are governments. The bigger they are, the more capable of perpetrating atrocities. Not only do they obtain great wealth through compulsion (taxation), they also have an ideological mystique that permits them uniquely to get away with murder, torture, and theft. The U.S. government is no exception. This is demonstrated by, among many other ... [click for more]

TGIF: So What If Freedom Isn’t Free?

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“Freedom isn’t free.” We’ve all heard this glib line. It usually is uttered as an admonition to those who criticize some government imposition that is defended in the name of national security. The last time I heard it I had just condemned military conscription — the draft — as slavery. It’s also brought out to rebut those who refuse to ... [click for more]

Identity Politics Über Alles

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Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is backing a bill to reinstate the draft, but he wants to include women this time. Gender and liberal feminists are responding in various ways, but they seem to have arrived at the same conclusion: an endorsement of drafting women. The why of it Many gender and liberal feminists view female conscription as a Left ... [click for more]

Reviving a Peculiar Institution

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In a recent New York Times op-ed column, Thomas Ricks called for reinstating military conscription. He quoted Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who said at the 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival, “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, and every city needs to be at risk. You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.” Ricks, ... [click for more]

Soldier of Empire

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Soldier, soldier, how you soar Aloft in that elevated status Reserved to those who trade In war and oppression. Soldier, soldier, do not fear; You’ll never hear an unkindness — Insulated from the truth Of murder and rapine. Soldier, soldier, may you take This blue-blood daughter’s hand? Honored would her father be To hear tales of empire. Soldier, soldier, how is it that Across the spectrum of politeness We speak of hope and ... [click for more]

The U.S. Military and Massacres

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The murderous rampage of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales in Afghanistan has received much deserved media attention. Sgt. Bales’s shooting spree, killing 17 Afghan civilians, was quickly condemned by the Obama administration as a horrible incident and an aberration that was in no way representative of the “exceptional character” of the U.S. military. It is a matter of state ... [click for more]

Blue Angels Budget Blues

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The Navy's Blue Angels flight-demonstration team is in trouble. And not because their commander resigned earlier this year after flying his F/A-18 Hornet below minimum altitude at an air show in Virginia and causing a month-long safety stand-down. Headquartered at the Pensacola Naval Air Station, the Blue Angels have been flying and thrilling audiences for more than 60 years. The ... [click for more]

Veterans Day: Thanks but No Thanks

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Veterans Day honors those citizens who fought in the U.S. governments wars wars supposedly waged to preserve Americans liberty. Most Americans uncritically accept this last part, and believe they owe the U.S. military a debt of gratitude for their freedom and independence. This belief is so widely held that it has become a tenet of the country's civic faith. However, ... [click for more]
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