William J. Astore: We will get a narrow discussion of establishment views with considerable jousting and posturing (and perhaps some mugging from Trump), generating some heat but precious little light.
William J. Astore: We spend roughly $700 billion a year on national “defense” and wars, ensuring that we have “global reach, global power.” To what end?
William J. Astore: The Pentagon mantra is always for more and better, which often turns out to be for less and much more expensive, e.g. the F-35 fighter.
William J. Astore: My dad’s generation knew, like FDR knew, that the only thing they truly had to fear was fear itself. He became hardened to it, but the Depression indelibly marked him as well.
William J. Astore: If Hillary loses the election in November, it may very well come back to her “grossly generalistic” comments on September 9th, when she anointed herself as the judge of who is redeemable and who isn’t.
William J. Astore: Constant violence, repetitive bombing, and other forms of persistent meddling are accumulating in their effects, damaging the entire ecology of the Greater Middle East.
William J. Astore: Our government, our leaders, have essentially declared a forever war. Our military leaders have bought into it as well. The master narrative is one of ceaseless war against a shifting array of enemies.
William J. Astore: The wild overreactions of the Bush/Cheney administration, essentially continued by Obama and the present national security state, have played into the hands of those seeking a crusade/jihad in the Greater Middle East.
William J. Astore: What you got was two self-absorbed candidates, one wonkish, the other one clearly a wanker, both of them posing as warriors as long as someone else’s kids are doing the fighting.
William J. Astore: The United States continues to be driven by one that’s dominated by power, violence, and war. Is it any wonder, then, that the two major party candidates for the presidency, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, fit so easily and readily into this narrative?
Williams J. Astore: As cynical and opportunistic as Trump may be, his message of self-reliance, his blunt talk, his braggadocio, and his calls for action (no matter how stupid) do resonate with working-class voters.
William J. Astore: Perhaps there should be a “new rule” on the American military scene: When the B-52s are called out (Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan), it means America has well and truly lost.
William J. Astore: For clarity, it often helps to follow the money. Who profits from war? Addressing that question will explain many of the reasons why America’s wars have no promise of ending.