America is Losing these Wars and Occupations because it is the Victim of the Military Industrial Complex which costs us so dearly every single day

May 15, 2018
Tomgram: Engelhardt, A Staggeringly Well-Funded Blowback Machine.

[Note to TomDispatch Readers: Today’s post is an excerpt from my newest book, A Nation Unmade by War, my personal portrait of our increasingly mad world. It’s just hitting the bookstores, so do support this site (and me) by picking up a copy. Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian John Dower says, “Since September 11th, no one has had a keener eye for American militarism, hypocrisy, and flat-out folly than Tom Engelhardt.” For a donation of $100 ($125 if you live outside the U.S.), I’ll send you a signed, personalized copy of the book. Be the first on your block to get it! Check out our donation page for the details and my thanks in advance to all of you who help keep TomDispatch afloat in tough times. Tom]

An Empire of Nothing at All?
The U.S. Military Takes Us Through the Gates of Hell
By Tom Engelhardt

[This essay is the introduction to Tom Engelhardt’s new book, A Nation Unmade by War, a Dispatch Book published by Haymarket Books.]

As I was putting the finishing touches on my new book, the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute published an estimate of the taxpayer dollars that will have gone into America’s war on terror from September 12, 2001, through fiscal year 2018. That figure: a cool $5.6 trillion (including the future costs of caring for our war vets). On average, that’s at least $23,386 per taxpayer.

Keep in mind that such figures, however eye-popping, are only the dollar costs of our wars. They don’t, for instance, include the psychic costs to the Americans mangled in one way or another in those never-ending conflicts. They don’t include the costs to this country’s infrastructure, which has been crumbling while taxpayer dollars flow copiously and in a remarkably — in these years, almost uniquely — bipartisan fashion into what’s still laughably called “national security.” That’s not, of course, what would make most of us more secure, but what would make them — the denizens of the national security state — ever more secure in Washington and elsewhere. We’re talking about the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. nuclear complex, and the rest of that state-within-a-state, including its many intelligence agencies and the warrior corporations that have, by now, been fused into that vast and vastly profitable interlocking structure.

In reality, the costs of America’s wars, still spreading in the Trump era, are incalculable. Just look at photos of the cities of Ramadi or Mosul in Iraq, Raqqa or Aleppo in Syria, Sirte in Libya, or Marawi in the southern Philippines, all in ruins in the wake of the conflicts Washington set off in the post–9/11 years, and try to put a price on them. Those views of mile upon mile of rubble, often without a building still standing untouched, should take anyone’s breath away. Some of those cities may never be fully rebuilt.

And how could you even begin to put a dollars-and-cents value on the larger human costs of those wars: the hundreds of thousands of dead? The tens of millions of people displaced in their own countries or sent as refugees fleeing across any border in sight? How could you factor in the way those masses of uprooted peoples of the Greater Middle East and Africa are unsettling other parts of the planet? Their presence (or more accurately a growing fear of it) has, for instance, helped fuel an expanding set of right-wing “populist” movements that threaten to tear Europe apart. And who could forget the role that those refugees — or at least fantasy versions of them — played in Donald Trump’s full-throated, successful pitch for the presidency? What, in the end, might be the cost of that?

Click here to read more of this dispatch.  

  1. This has become the way we assume the American military will be discussed by … The Senate did the same the next day—and then both houses adjourned early, … Through the decade after World War II, when so many American families had at …. to war, and to keep losing, than one thatwrestles with long-term questions of …

  2. United States occupation of Haiti – Wikipedia

    The United States occupation of Haiti began on July 28, 1915, when 330 US Marines landed at … The occupation ended on August 1, 1934, after President Franklin D. … Because of this, they were regarded as a threat to American businessmen’s … In December 1914, the U.S. military seized the Haitian government’s gold …

  3. the lost american HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN THE POST-COLD WAR ERA by … Each of these presents new opportunities, as well as posing new constraints on … without the loss of onecoalition soldier demonstrated that joint military and … Its massive military industrial complex lays idle, its currency is regarded …


  4. Jun 7, 2013 *The American Yawp is an evolving, collaborative text. … The Cold War reshaped the world, and in so doing forever altered American … of an occupation regime that would initially be divided into American, … The Soviets rejected it all. …… recent development, thismilitaryindustrial complex” had cultivated … 

  5. Aug 28, 2017 The Cold War as a system of states ended on a cold and gray … On the Americanside, not so much changed on that day. … from both parties believed that the United States could then, at minimal cost or risk, act on its own imperatives. … on it, then the Soviet Union, or rather Russia, lost it, and lost it big.

  6. Since World War II, U.S. military leaders, including Omar Bradley, Douglas …. In doing all of thesethings, American decison makers committed to an … in early 1966, asserted that, “Vietnam is not a region of major military, industrial importance. … afford to give up additional real estate to communism; to do so would invite a …

  7. Mar 6, 2017 The U.S. officials who administer the system that Putin sees as such … As early as2007, Trump declared that Putin was “doing a great job in … For those interested in active measures, the digital age presented …. “We said they were doing it, so everybody had the basis to know that all the WikiLeaks material …

  8. May 2, 2017 President Trump’s first 100 days in office are officially over. Here are … L.A. Times columnist Doyle McManus gave Trump a D for his performance.

  9. American Labor and Working-Class History, 1900–1945 – Oxford …

    Early 20th century American labor and working-class history is a subfield of American … By 1920, half of all Americans lived in growing urban neighborhoods , and for many of … Workers had littlepower in either the Democratic or Republican party. … Yet American labor emerged from World WarII with the main sectors of the …

  10. Apr 26, 2017 His actions and those of his administration have been characterized by … As a candidate, Trump promised the American people that we were … as high fees from conflicted advice result in savers losing $17 billion in … Veterans receive a strong hiring preference for federal jobs, and roughly one-third of all

About eslkevin

I am a peace educator who has taken time to teach and work in countries such as the USA, Germany, Japan, Nicaragua, Mexico, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman over the past 4 decades.
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