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Tom Engelhardt

Entries by Tom Engelhardt

Washington Gripped by Madness: When War Is Not War, Combat Is Not Combat, and Boots Are Never on the Ground

(1) Comments | Posted September 23, 2014 | 9:38 AM

On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King delivered a speech at Riverside Church in New York City titled "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence." In it, he went after the war of that moment and the money that the U.S. was pouring into it as symptoms of...

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Power Drain

(2) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 9:39 AM

Mysteries of the 21st Century in a Helter-Skelter World

Cross-posted with

It’s possible I’ve lived most of my life on the wrong planet -- and if that sounds like the first sentence of a sci-fi novel maybe, in its own way, it is. I thought...

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No to the Criminals of History and Yes to the Children to Come

(2) Comments | Posted September 15, 2014 | 8:43 AM

Mutual Assured Destruction in the Age of Climate Change

Cross-posted from

It was June 12, 1982. My daughter was still in her stroller, my son as yet unborn, when my wife and I, six friends, and another child in a stroller joined an

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American Politics as a Billionaire's Playground

(0) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 9:32 AM

Think of this as the year that democracy of, by, and for the billionaires shall not perish from the Earth -- not when we're on a new electoral playing field in a political world in which distinctions are no longer made between unlimited money and unlimited speech. In other words,...

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Build We Must -- Abroad But Not at Home

(2) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 8:31 AM

Cross-posted with

In light of recent history, perhaps it's time to update that classic U.S. Army recruitment campaign slogan from "be all that you can be" to "build all that you can build." Consider it an irony that, in an era when Congress struggles to...

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Gas in Tanks and Cows in Clouds

(1) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 9:43 AM

Whatever you may imagine, "peak oil" has not been discredited as a concept, a statement no less true for "peak fossil fuels." Think of them instead as postponed. We are, after all, on a finite planet that, by definition, holds a finite amount of oil, natural gas, and coal. Sooner...

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How America Made ISIS

(128) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 9:49 AM

Their Videos and Ours, Their “Caliphate” and Ours

Cross-posted with

Whatever your politics, you’re not likely to feel great about America right now.  After all, there’s Ferguson (the whole world was watching!), an increasingly unpopular president, a Congress whose approval ratings...

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How the Border Debate Was Militarized

(3) Comments | Posted August 25, 2014 | 9:26 AM

The militarization of the police has been underway since 9/11, but only in the aftermath of the six-shot killing of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, with photos of streets in a St. Louis suburb that looked like occupied Iraq or Afghanistan,...

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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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