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Tom Engelhardt

Entries by Tom Engelhardt

Was ISIS George and Dick's 'Gift' to the World?

(10) Comments | Posted August 21, 2014 | 9:52 AM

Think of the new "caliphate" of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's gift to the world (with a helping hand from the Saudis and other financiers of extremism in the Persian Gulf). How strange that they get...

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A Bombing Program Designed for the Weapons Industry

(0) Comments | Posted August 19, 2014 | 9:47 AM

Bombing Iraq, as retired Air Force lieutenant colonel William Astore indicates today in "The American Cult of Bombing," has become a national pastime. (These days, you can't be president without sending in the bombers and drones.) So let's try to get our heads around the latest U.S. air...

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Welcome to Kabul, USA

(3) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 9:53 AM

Think of it as a different kind of blowback. Even when you fight wars in countries thousands of miles distant, they still have an eerie way of making the long trip home.

Take the latest news from Bergen County, New Jersey, one of the richest counties in the country. Its...

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Into the Maelstrom

(0) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 9:27 AM

The carnage in the Gaza Strip has been horrendous: more than 1,900 dead, mainly civilians; its sole power plant destroyed (and so electricity and water denied and a sewage disaster looming); 30,000 to 40,000 homes and buildings damaged or destroyed; hundreds of thousands of residents put...

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Is the Apocalypse Us?

(1) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 9:38 AM

Think of it as the true end of the beginning. Last week, Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, the final member of the 12-man crew of the Enola Gay, the plane (named after its pilot's supportive mother) that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died at age 93. When that...

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The Fourth Branch

(3) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 7:51 AM

The Rise to Power of the National Security State

Cross-posted with

As every schoolchild knows, there are three check-and-balance branches of the U.S. government: the executive, Congress, and the judiciary. That’s bedrock Americanism and the most basic high school civics material. Only one problem: it’s...

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The Obama Administration's All-of-the-Above Energy Policy

(5) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 9:17 AM

Cross-posted with

Call it the energy or global warming news of recent weeks. No, I'm not referring to the fact this was globally the hottest June on record ever (as May had been before it), or that NASA launched the first...

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Living in a Photographically Redacted Post-9/11 World

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 10:41 AM

Cross-posted with

What a world we're in. Thanks to smartphones, iPads, and the like, everyone is now a photographer, but it turns out that, in the public landscape, there's ever less to photograph. So here are a few tips for living more comfortably in a photographically redacted...

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Requiem for the American Century

(1) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 8:44 AM

Turning 70, Paragraph by Paragraph

Cross-posted with

First Paragraphs on Turning 70 in the American Century That Was

* Seventy-three years ago, on February 17, 1941, as a second devastating global war approached, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, called on...

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The Strangest Disaster on the Planet Right Now

(2) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 10:04 AM

Who even knows what to call it? The Iraq War or the Iraq-Syrian War would be far too orderly for what's happening, so it remains a no-name conflict that couldn't be deadlier or more destabilizing -- and it's in the process of internationalizing in unsettling ways. Think of it as...

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An Exceptional Decline for the Exceptional Country?

(53) Comments | Posted July 14, 2014 | 8:33 AM

The Empire as Basket Case

Cross-posted with

For America’s national security state, this is the age of impunity.  Nothing it does -- torture, kidnapping, assassination, illegal surveillance, you name it -- will ever be brought to court.  For none of its beyond-the-boundaries acts will anyone be...

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They Kidnap, We Render

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2014 | 10:08 AM

It sounded like the beginning of a bad joke: a CIA agent and a U.S. Special Operations commando walked into a barbershop in Sana...

That's the capital of Yemen in case you didn't remember and not the sort of place where armed Americans usually wander out alone just to get...

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A Formula for the Production of Violent Emotions, Dead Bodies, and a Particularly Nasty World

(0) Comments | Posted July 8, 2014 | 10:09 AM

Call it a double whammy for the planet or simply irony with a capital "I." As the invaluable Michael Klare, author of The Race for What's Left, points out today in "21st-Century Energy Wars," if you scan the planet for conflict, what you'll find from Syria...

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The Great Exception (That Wasn't)

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2014 | 9:40 AM

It goes without saying that the honchos of the national security state weren't exactly happy with Edward Snowden's NSA revelations. Still, over the last year, the comments of such figures, politicians associated with them, and retirees from their world clearly channeling their...

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Saying No to Kerry: It's Getting to Be a Habit in the Middle East

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2014 | 8:47 AM

Cross-posted with

When it comes to pure ineptness, it's been quite a performance -- and I'm sure you've already guessed that I'm referring to our secretary of state's recent jaunt to the Middle East. You remember the old quip about jokes and timing. (It's all in the...)...

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Surveillance: It's Worse Than You Think

(1) Comments | Posted June 26, 2014 | 10:07 AM

When it comes to spying, surveillance, and privacy, a simple rule applies to our world: However bad you think it is, it's worse. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we've learned an enormous amount about the global surveillance regime that one of America's 17 intelligence outfits has created...

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Send in the Drones (With Apologies to Stephen Sondheim)

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 10:29 AM

Imagine the president, speaking on Iraq from the White House Press Briefing Room last Thursday, as the proverbial deer in the headlights -- and it's not difficult to guess just what those headlights were. Think of them as Benghazi on steroids. If the killing of an American ambassador,...

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Who Won Iraq?

(33) Comments | Posted June 19, 2014 | 9:25 AM

Lost Dreams, Lost Armies, Jihadi States, and the Arc of Instability

Cross-posted with

As Iraq was unraveling last week and the possible outlines of the first jihadist state in modern history were coming into view, I remembered this nugget from the summer of 2002. ...

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In America, It's Always Torture Approval Month

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2014 | 9:29 AM

I'll bet you didn't know that June is "torture awareness month" thanks to the fact that, on June 26, 1987, the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment went into effect internationally. In this country, however, as a recent Amnesty International...

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Freedom of the Pressed

(0) Comments | Posted June 15, 2014 | 9:56 PM

Cross-posted with

Here's what passes for good news when it comes to a free press these days: two weeks ago, the Supreme Court refused without comment to hear a case involving New York Times reporter James Risen. It concerned his unwillingness to testify before a grand jury...

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