WJ Astore: Not so incredibly, the Democratic establishment would rather lose to Trump with a candidate like Biden than win with a candidate like Bernie.
WJ Astore: If only retired generals would do what they used to do way back when, such as fishing and golfing, enjoying a sinecure or two but otherwise doing no harm.
WJ Astore: Bleier’s return to Vietnam was emotional and revealing, but in a way that is one-sided, privileging the American experience of that war.
W.J. Astore: Part of the persistence of war, in other words, stems from the ignorant passions of those who most eagerly seek it and trumpet its heroic wonders even as they stand (and strive to remain) safely on the sidelines.
WJ Astore: We believe in wars. We may no longer believe in formal declarations of war (not since December 1941 has Congress made one in our name), but that sure hasn’t stopped us from waging them.
WJ Astore: Accusing your political rivals of deliberately trying to harm America, which Trump routinely does when he denounces Democrats at his rallies, could be construed as a form of treason.
WJ Astore: So, while it’s nice to hear that President Trump is calling a temporary trade and tariff truce with China, I have to say the Chinese already own us.
WJ Astore: The only direct mention of the military-industrial complex that I recall hearing was by Bernie Sanders. Otherwise, the tacit assumption was that soaring defense budgets are appropriate and, at least in these debates, unassailable.
WJ Astore: As the Trump administration appears to promise more wars in the future, perhaps in Venezuela or Iran, we need to be on guard against this idea that supporting wars is patriotic.
WJ Astore: Put differently, most Americans express support for single-payer health care, a higher minimum wage, higher taxes on the richest Americans, climate-friendly policies, and so on, but our bought-and-paid-for politicians act against the people’s wishes.
WJ Astore: Bewildered by Vietnam, Westy fell back to what he (and the Army) knew best: massive firepower, search and destroy tactics, and made-up metrics like “body count” as measures of “success.”
WJ Astore: Trump’s win—and continued tolerance of his bullying, boastful, and bellicose manner—give the lie to the decline of masculinity narrative in America. Why does it persist, then?
WJ Astore: These MAGA uniforms and hats seem to say the Army and America are currently not great, and that the path to greatness is a retrograde one, a return to the past.