Articles by Tom Engelhardt

We found 37 results.


Mapping a World from Hell: 76 Countries Are Now Involved in Washington’s War on Terror
Tom Engelhardt – TomDispatch, 8 Jan 2018

4 Jan 2018 – A glance at the map tells you that the war on terror, an increasingly complex set of intertwined conflicts, is now a remarkably global phenomenon.

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The Art of the Trumpaclysm: How the U.S. Invaded, Occupied, and Remade Itself
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 6 Mar 2017

We’re now living in Donald Trump’s America (which I certainly didn’t either predict or imagine in March 2015); we’re living, that is, in an ever more chaotic and aberrant land run (to the extent it’s run at all) by billionaires and retired generals, and overseen by a distinctly aberrant president at war with aberrant parts of the national security state.

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Washington’s Military Addiction – And the Ruins Still to Come
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 16 May 2016

But don’t bother to blame the politicians and national security nabobs in Washington for this [their solution — more of the same –militarism]. They’re addicts. They can’t help themselves. What they need is rehab. Instead, they continue to run our world. Be suitably scared for the ruins still to come.

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The Fog of Intelligence: Or How to Be Eternally “Caught Off Guard” in the Greater Middle East
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 19 Oct 2015

1,500. That figure stunned me. I found it in the 12th paragraph of a front-page New York Times story about “senior commanders” at U.S. Central Command playing fast and loose with intelligence reports to give their air war against ISIS an unjustified sheen of success: “CENTCOM’s mammoth intelligence operation, with some 1,500 civilian, military, and contract analysts, is housed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

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Who Counts? Body Counts, Drones, and “Collateral Damage” (aka “Bug Splat”)
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 4 May 2015

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.

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Edward Snowden and the Golden Age of Spying
Tom Engelhardt interviewing Laura Poitras – TomDispatch, 20 Oct 2014

19 Oct 2014 – Having seen her film in a packed house at the New York Film Festival, I sat down with Poitras in a tiny conference room at the Loews Regency Hotel in New York City to discuss just how our world has changed and her part in it.

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The Fourth Branch – The Rise to Power of the National Security State: Who Rules Washington?
Tom Engelhardt – TomDispatch, 15 Sep 2014

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 just not so.

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How America Made ISIS – Their Videos and Ours, Their “Caliphate” and Ours
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 8 Sep 2014

Looking back, it’s hard not to think of it as a kind of American jihadism and an attempt to establish what might have been an American caliphate in the region. In the process, the U.S. effectively dismantled and destroyed state power in the countries in which it intervened [Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya], while ensuring the destabilization of neighboring countries and finally the region itself.

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Why Our Debate about Surveillance Doesn’t Go Far Enough
Tom Engelhardt – Mother Jones, 20 Jan 2014

In the wake of Snowden’s revelations, we’ve been narrowly focused on whether or not we should have more security or more privacy. We need to start thinking about the problem differently.

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American Jihad 2014: The New Fundamentalists
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 6 Jan 2014

Imagine what we call “national security” as, at heart, a proselytizing warrior religion. It has its holy orders. It has its sacred texts (classified). It has its dogma and its warrior priests. It has its sanctified promised land, known as “the homeland.” It has its seminaries, which we call think tanks. It is a monotheistic faith in that it broaches no alternatives to itself. It is Manichaean in its view of the world. As with so many religions, its god is an eye in the sky, an all-seeing Being who knows your secrets.

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Why Washington Can’t Stop: The Coming Era of Tiny Wars and Micro-Conflicts
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 28 Oct 2013

Despite this stunning global power equation, for more than a decade we have been given a lesson in what a military, no matter how overwhelming, can and (mostly) can’t do in the twenty-first century, in what a military, no matter how staggeringly advanced, does and (mostly) does not translate into on the current version of planet Earth.

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Bragging Rights: Eight Exceptional(ly Dumb) American Achievements of the Twenty-First Century
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 30 Sep 2013

It’s indisputable that the bragging rights to American exceptionalism are Washington’s. For those who need proof, what follows are just eight ways (among so many more) that you can proudly make the case for our exceptional status, should you happen to stumble across, say, President Putin, still blathering on about how unexceptional we are.

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I Only Regret That I Have But One Life to Give for My Country: Yours
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 12 Aug 2013

The Crime of the Century – Hey, let’s talk spying! In Surveillance America, this land of spookery we all now inhabit, what else is there to talk about? In a sense, Manning and Snowden could be said to have “defected” — from the U.S. secret government to us. However informally or individually, they could nonetheless be imagined as the people’s spies.

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Terracide and the Terrarists – Destroying the Planet for Record Profits
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 27 May 2013

We have a word for the conscious slaughter of a racial or ethnic group: genocide. And one for the destruction of the environment: ecocide. But we don’t have a word for the conscious act of destroying the planet we live on. A possibility might be “terracide” from the Latin word for earth. The truth is, whatever we call them, it’s time to talk bluntly about the terrarists of our world. It has the right ring, given its similarity to the commonplace danger word of our era: terrorist.

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Filling the Empty Battlefield – Jeremy Scahill, Blowback Reporter
Tom Engelhardt – TomDispatch, 29 Apr 2013

There was a secret history of twenty-first-century American war crying out to be written. Now, we have it in the form of Scahill’s latest book, Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. Scahill has tracked, in particular, the rise of JSOC – Joint Special Operations Command. In Iraq, it grew into a kind of Murder Inc., “an executive assassination wing,” as Seymour Hersh once put it, operating out of Vice President Dick Cheney’s office. It next turned its hunter/killer methods on Afghanistan and then on the planet, as the special operations forces themselves grew into an expansive secret military cocooned inside the U.S. military.

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The Enemy-Industrial Complex
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 15 Apr 2013

How to Turn a World Lacking in Enemies into the Most Threatening Place in the Universe

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American Anniversaries from Hell: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 1 Apr 2013

It’s true that, last week, few in Congress cared to discuss, no less memorialize, the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Nonetheless, two anniversaries of American disasters and crimes abroad — the “mission accomplished” debacle of 2003 and the 45th anniversary of the My Lai massacre — were at least noted in passing in our world.

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Overwrought Empire: The Discrediting of U.S. Military Power
Tom Engelhardt – TomDispatch, 15 Oct 2012

The more dominant the U.S. military becomes in its ability to destroy and the more its forces are spread across the globe, the more the defeats and semi-defeats pile up, the more the missteps and mistakes grow, the more the strains show, the more the suicides rise, the more the nation’s treasure disappears down a black hole — and in response to all of this, the more moves the Pentagon makes.

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Monopolizing War? What America Knows How to Do Best
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 17 Sep 2012

Washington may be mobilized for permanent war. Special operations forces may be operating in up to 120 countries. Drone bases may be proliferating across the planet. We may be building up forces in the Persian Gulf and “pivoting” to Asia. Warrior corporations and rent-a-gun mercenary outfits have mobilized on the country’s disparate battlefronts. The American people, however, are demobilized and detached from the wars, interventions, operations, and other military activities done in their name

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A Message in Blood That No One Wants to Hear
Tom Engelhardt – Al Jazeera, 20 Aug 2012

Foreign troops are dying at the hands of their Afghan “allies” in large numbers, underscoring a lack of trust. Perhaps the sole historical example that comes close might be the Indian Rebellion of 1857. In reality, the American mission in Afghanistan failed years ago. It’s as if we refused to notice, but the Afghans we were training did. Now, they are sending a message that couldn’t be blunter or grimmer from that endlessly war-torn land.

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The Lessons Washington Can’t Draw From the Failure of the Military Option
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 9 Jul 2012

The Pentagon is, by now, a world unto itself, with a staggering budget at a moment when no other power or combination of powers comes near to challenging this country’s might. Even the once-civilian CIA has undergone a process of para-militarization and now runs its own “covert” drone wars in Pakistan and elsewhere. In a sense, even the military has been “militarized.” In these last years, a secret army of special operations forces, 60,000 or more strong and still expanding, has grown like an incubus inside the regular armed forces.

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The Obama Contradiction: Weakling at Home, Imperial President Abroad
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 30 Apr 2012

He has few constraints (except those he’s internalized). No one can stop him or countermand his orders. He has a bevy of lawyers at his beck and call to explain the “legality” of his actions. And if he cares to, he can send a robot assassin to kill you, whoever you are, no matter where you may be on planet Earth. He sounds like a typical villain from a James Bond novel.

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Dumb Question of the Twenty-first Century: Is It Legal?
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 6 Jun 2011

Is the Libyan war legal? Was Bin Laden’s killing legal? Is it legal for the president of the United States to target an American citizen for assassination? Were those “enhanced interrogation techniques” legal? These are all questions raised in recent weeks. Each seems to call out for debate, for answers. Or does it? My answer is this: they are irrelevant.

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Sleepwalking into the Imperial Dark
Tom Engelhardt – TomDispatch, 25 Apr 2011

But then, how often do empires end well, really? They live vampirically by feeding off others until, sooner or later, they begin to feed on themselves, to suck their own blood, to hollow themselves out. Sooner or later, they find themselves, as in our case, economically stressed and militarily extended in wars they can’t afford to win or lose.

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Goodbye to All That: Pox Americana
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 14 Feb 2011

As we’ve watched the dramatic events in the Middle East, you would hardly know that we had a thing to do with them. Oh yes, in the name of its War on Terror, Washington had for years backed most of the thuggish governments now under siege or anxious that they may be next in line to hear from their people.

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A World Made by War: How Old Will You Be When the American War State Goes Down?
Tom Engelhardt - TomDispatch, 18 Oct 2010

I’ve had two mobilized moments in my life. The first was in the Vietnam War years; the second, the one that leaves me as a nine-year-old, began on the morning of September 11, 2001. I turned on the TV while doing my morning exercises, saw a smoking hole in a World Trade Center tower, and thought that, as in 1945 when a B-25 slammed into the Empire State Building, a terrible accident had happened. Later, after the drums of war had begun to beat, after the first headlines had screamed their World-War-II-style messages (“the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century”), I had another thought. And for a reasonably politically sophisticated guy, my second response was not only as off-base as the first, but also remarkably dumb. I thought that this horrific event taking place in my hometown might open Americans up to the pain of the world. No such luck, of course.

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COULD U.S. AIR STRIKES PUSH PAKISTAN INTO KHMER ROUGE TYPE GENOCIDE?
Pratap Chatterjee and Tom Engelhardt - Tomdispatch.com, 9 Feb 2010

Almost every day, reports come back from the CIA’s “secret” battlefield in the Pakistani tribal borderlands.  Unmanned Aerial Vehicles — that is, pilot-less drones — shoot missiles (18 of them in a single attack on a tiny village last week) or drop bombs and then the news comes in:  a certain number of al-Qaeda or […]

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AN AMERICAN WORLD OF WAR – THE YEAR OF THE ASSASSIN
Tom Engelhardt and Nick Turse - TomDispatch, 9 Jan 2010

What to Watch for in 2010 According to the Chinese calendar, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger.  We don’t name our years, but if we did, this one might prospectively be called the Year of the Assassin.We, of course, think of ourselves as something like the peaceable kingdom.  After all, the shock of September […]

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WHILE YOU ARE MINDING YOUR OWN BUSINESS, THE U.S. IS CONSTANTLY MAKING WAR AROUND THE GLOBE
Tom Engelhardt, 23 Sep 2009

As much as it might seem that most of us are going along, living peaceful lives, there’s another kind of America that operates on the same soil — a warfare state."War is peace" was one of the memorable slogans on the facade of the Ministry of Truth, Minitrue in "Newspeak," the language invented by George […]

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FILLING THE SKIES WITH ASSASSINS – TERMINATOR PLANET: LAUNCHING THE DRONE WARS
Tom Engelhardt, 12 Apr 2009

In 1984, Skynet, the supercomputer that rules a future Earth, sent a cyborg assassin, a "terminator," back to our time. His job was to liquidate the woman who would give birth to John Connor, the leader of the underground human resistance of Skynet’s time. You with me so far? That, of course, was the plot […]

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A FALCON OF PEACE
Tom Engelhardt, 12 Mar 2009

How come they get to be the hawks? And we get to be the doves? A hawk is a noble bird. A dove – well, basically it’s a pigeon. The sort of bird that, in New York City anyway, messes your building’s window sills, is always underfoot, and, along with the city’s rats, makes a […]

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THE IMPERIAL UNCONSCIOUS
Tom Engelhardt, 3 Mar 2009

Afghan Faces, Predators, Reapers, Terrorist Stars, Roman Conquerors, Imperial Graveyards, and Other Oddities of the Truncated American CenturySometimes, it’s the everyday things, the ones that fly below the radar, that matter.     Here, according to Bloomberg News, is part of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s recent testimony on the Afghan War before the Senate Foreign […]

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WHISTLING PAST THE AFGHAN GRAVEYARD
Tom Engelhardt, 6 Feb 2009

Where Empires Go to Die It is now a commonplace — as a lead article in the New York Times’s Week in Review pointed out recently — that Afghanistan is "the graveyard of empires." Given Barack Obama’s call for a greater focus on the Afghan War ("we took our eye off the ball when we […]

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THE U.S. HAS 761 MILITARY BASES ACROSS THE PLANET, AND WE SIMPLY NEVER TALK ABOUT IT
Tom Engelhardt, Tomdispatch.com, 4 Jan 2009

Here it is, as simply as I can put it: In the course of any year, there must be relatively few countries on this planet on which U.S. soldiers do not set foot, whether with guns blazing, humanitarian aid in hand, or just for a friendly visit. In startling numbers of countries, our soldiers not […]

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9 IS NOT 11
Arundhati Roy and Tom Engelhardt, 13 Dec 2008

The single omnipresent historical reference in the American media immediately in the wake of September 11, 2001, was, of course, "Pearl Harbor" – and those code words for it, "infamy" and "day of infamy," splashed in mile-high letters across the front pages of papers. What we had experienced, it was commonly said then, was "the […]

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FLIGHT PATH TO DISASTER IN AFGHANISTAN
Tom Engelhardt, 17 Nov 2008

One of the eerier reports on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan appeared recently in the New York Times. Journalist John Burns visited the Russian ambassador in Kabul, Zamir N. Kabulov, who, back in the 1980s, when the Russians were the Americans in Afghanistan, and the Americans were launching the jihad that would eventually wend its […]

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GOING ON AN IMPERIAL BENDER HOW THE U.S. GARRISONS THE PLANET AND DOESN’T EVEN NOTICE
Tom Engelhardt, 14 Sep 2008

At the height of the Roman Empire, the Romans had an estimated 37 majormilitary bases scattered around their dominions. At the height of theBritish Empire, the British had 36 of them planetwide. Depending onjust who you listen to and how you count, we have hundreds of bases.According to Pentagon records, in fact, there are 761 […]

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