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Tom Engelhardt
Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute's He is the author of Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World and The End of Victory Culture, a history of the American Age of Denial. The World According to TomDispatch: America in the New Age of Empire (Verso, 2008), a collection of some of the best pieces from his site and an alternative history of the mad Bush years, has recently been published.

Entries by Tom Engelhardt

The Pottery Barn Rule Updated

(0) Comments | Posted June 29, 2015 | 11:02 AM

It was the summer of 2002. The Bush administration's top officials knew that they were going into Iraq in a big way. They were then in planning mode, but waiting until fall to launch their full-throttle campaign to persuade Congress and the American people to back them. As White House...

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Why Is Up the Only Direction on the Ladder of Escalation?

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2015 | 11:45 AM

On June 13th, Greg Jaffe and Missy Ryan of the Washington Post reported what should have been big news (though it was hardly noted). In recent White House "debates" over a disastrously deteriorating situation in Iraq, President Obama's top military officials were dragging their feet on the question...

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An Election That Has Next to Nothing to Do With You

(2) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 11:13 AM

Money, they say, makes the world go round. So how's $10 billion for you? That's a top-end estimate for the record-breaking spending in this 1% presidential election campaign season. But is "season" even the right word, now that such campaigns are essentially four-year events that seem...

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Our Jihadis and Theirs: The Real (Armed) Dangers of American Life

(11) Comments | Posted June 22, 2015 | 9:16 AM

Cross-posted with

Consider this paragraph a holding action on the subject of getting blown away in America. While I write this dispatch, I’m waiting patiently for the next set of dispiriting killings in this country. And I have faith. Before I’m done, some angry -- or simply...

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Disappearing Bases: History Down the Memory Hole in Iraq

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 11:01 AM

In April 2003, with Baghdad occupied by American troops, the top officials of the Bush administration were already dreaming of building bases in Iraq that would be garrisoned more or less in perpetuity. Everyone was too polite to call them "permanent bases," so they were sometimes referred to by the...

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Hiding in Plain Sight: The Spectacle of Climate Denial

(2) Comments | Posted June 16, 2015 | 12:09 PM

When I go out with my not quite three-year-old grandson, his idea of a good time is hide-and-seek. This means suddenly darting behind a bush too small to fully obscure him or into a doorway where he remains in plain sight, while I wander around wondering aloud where in the...

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On Not Noticing America's Empire of Bases

(3) Comments | Posted June 15, 2015 | 10:56 AM

I'm sure that you've heard about the three bare-bones "staging outposts" or, in the lingo of the trade, "cooperative security locations" that the U.S. Marines have established in Senegal, Ghana, and Gabon. We're talking about personnel from Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa, a unit at present garrisoned...

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Regime Change in America

(1) Comments | Posted June 9, 2015 | 11:33 AM

They say that imperial wars come home in all sorts of ways. Think of the Michigan that TomDispatch regular Laura Gottesdiener describes today in "A Magical Mystery Tour of American Austerity Politics" as one curious example of that dictum. If you remember, in the spring of...

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Two Hundred Years of 'Containment' -- Imperial History Revisited

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2015 | 9:36 AM

Cross-posted with

It might have been the most influential single sentence of that era: "In these circumstances it is clear that the main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive...

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You've Been Scammed!

(8) Comments | Posted June 2, 2015 | 10:53 AM

Kept Politicians and Demobilized Americans in a System Without a Name 
Cross-posted with

It couldn’t be a sunnier, more beautiful day to exit your lives -- or enter them -- depending on how you care to look at it. After all, here...

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The Folly of the Sole Superpower Writ Small

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 4:33 PM

Think of this as a little imperial folly update -- and here's the backstory. In the years after invading Iraq and disbanding Saddam Hussein's military, the U.S. sunk about $25 billion into "standing up" a new Iraqi army. By June 2014, however, that army, filled with at least...

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Awaiting the Great Post-Orwellian Novel 2051

(2) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 1:17 PM

Today in "The Worst of All Possible Worlds," John Feffer, the director of Foreign Policy In Focus, offers a cunning bow to the convergence theorists of the Cold War era, a crew of thinkers who imagined that someday the two superpowers would merge into one conglomerate creature in strangely...

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How to Destroy the Arctic

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2015 | 12:18 PM

It isn't the best of times for the American Arctic and let me explain why.

The world is in the midst of an oil glut. In the last year, oil prices bottomed out before rising modestly. A NASA study just offered the news that a massive...

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Writing History Before It Happens

(23) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 12:24 PM

Nine Surefire Future Headlines From a Bizarro American World
Cross-posted with

It’s commonplace to speak of “the fog of war,” of what can’t be known in the midst of battle, of the inability of both generals and foot soldiers to foresee developments once fighting...

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The Marriage of War and Disney

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2015 | 1:01 PM

In September 2001, the Bush administration launched its "global war on terror," to which its supporters later tried to attach names like "the long war" or "World War IV." Their emphasis: that we were now engaged in nothing less than a multi-generational struggle without end. (World War III...

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Embedded With Afghanistan's Hard-Pressed Civil Society

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2015 | 1:34 PM

Soon after 9/11, Ann Jones went to Afghanistan to help in whatever way she could, "embedding" with civilians who had been battered by the rigors of that war-torn land. Out of that experience, especially dealing with the crises of women, she wrote a powerful and moving book, Kabul...

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The Militarization of American Streets

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 12:18 PM

In the part of Baltimore hardest hit by the recent riots and arson, more than a third of families live in poverty, median income is $24,000, the unemployment rate is over 50 percent, some areas burnt out in the riots of 1968 have never been rebuilt,...

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Who Counts?

(3) Comments | Posted May 4, 2015 | 8:40 AM

Body Counts, Drones, and “Collateral Damage” (aka “Bug Splat”)

Cross-posted with

In the twenty-first-century world of drone warfare, one question with two aspects reigns supreme: Who counts?

In Washington, the answers are the same: We don’t count and they don’t count.

The Obama administration has...

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With Allies Like These...

(0) Comments | Posted April 30, 2015 | 12:30 PM

Here's a punchline the Obama administration could affix to the Middle East right now: With allies like these, who needs enemies?

If you happen to be in that administration, that region must seem like an increasingly phantasmagorical place. America's closest allies, Israel and the Saudis, have been expressing something close...

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Assassination, American-Style

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2015 | 12:05 PM

James Bond or the Three Stooges?

No one can claim that plotting assassination is new to Washington or that, in the past, American leaders and the CIA didn't aim high: the Congo's Patrice Lumumba, Cuba's Fidel Castro, the Dominican Republic's Rafael Trujillo. The difference...

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