Tom Engelhardt

American writer

Thomas M. "Tom" Engelhardt (born 1944) is an American writer and editor. He is the creator of The Nation Institute's tomdispatch.com, an online blog. He is also the co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author several books including most recently The United States of Fear (2011), Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single Superpower World (2014) and A Nation Unmade by War (2018).

QuotesEdit

(most recent first)

  • Addicted to war? Not us. Still, all in all, it’s quite a record and let’s not forget that looming on the horizon is another possible war, this time with Iran, a country that the men overseeing the invasion of Iraq in 2003 (including present National Security Advisor John Bolton) were eager to go after even then. “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad,” so the saying reputedly went in Washington at the time. “Real men want to go to Tehran.” And it’s just possible that, in 2019, Bolton and crew will be able to act on that much delayed urge. Considering the history of American wars in these years, what could possibly go wrong?
 
[The United States] ...has a continent-wide Africa Command (aka AFRICOM), founded in 2007 ...troops, thousands of them, its planes, and other equipment... you name it... AFRICOM’s outgoing commanding general... recently told Congress why it’s bound to be a forever outfit...
  • To sum up, no one should ever claim that we Americans aren’t “at home” in the world. We’re everywhere, remarkably well funded and well armed and ready to face off against the aggressors and provocateurs of this planet. Just one small suggestion: thank the troops for their service if you want, and then, as most Americans do, go about your business as if nothing were happening in those distant lands. As we head into election season 2020, however, just don’t imagine that we’re the good guys on Planet Earth. As far as I can tell, there aren’t many good guys left.
  • The late Chalmers Johnson would have understood President Trump perfectly. The Donald clearly arrived on the scene as blowback — the CIA term of tradecraft Johnson first put into our everyday vocabulary — from at least two things: an American imperium gone wrong with its never-ending wars, ever-rising military budgets, and ever-expanding national security state, and a new “gilded age” in which three men (Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett) have more wealth than the bottom half of society and the .01% have one of their own, a billionaire, in the Oval Office. (If you want to add a third blowback factor, try a media turned upside down by new ways of communicating and increasingly desperate to glue eyes to screens as ad revenues, budgets, and staffs shrank and the talking heads of cable news multiplied.)
  • Now, I don’t mean to sell Donald Trump short in any way. Give that former reality TV star credit. Unlike either Hillary Clinton or any of his Republican opponents in the 2016 election campaign, he sensed that there were voters in profusion in the American heartland who felt that things were not going well and were eager for a candidate just like the one he was ready to become.
  • In the United States, such collusion with the destroyers of human life on Planet Earth is written all over their actions. It’s beyond evident in the appointment of former oil and gas lobbyists and fellow travelers to positions of power... We are, of course, talking about nothing short of the ultimate crime, but on any given day of our lives, you’d hardly notice that it was underway. Even for an old man like me, it’s a terrifying thing to watch humanity make a decision, however inchoate, to essentially commit suicide. In effect, there is now a suicide watch on Planet Earth. Let’s hope the kids can make a difference.
  • The Global War on Terror has become the Pentagon’s greatest tool in waging endless military campaigns. And now, on a planet of outrageous tweets and murderously angry white men, you probably didn’t even notice... American air strikes in… yep, Somalia, are precipitously on the rise. Last year’s 47 strikes, aimed at the leaders and fighters of al-Shabaab, an Islamist terror outfit, more than tripled the ones carried out by the Obama administration in 2016 (themselves a modest increase from previous years). And in 2019, they’re already on pace to double again, while Somali civilians—not that anyone (other than Somali civilians) notices or cares—are dying in significant and rising numbers. And with 500 troops back on the ground there and Pentagon estimates that they will remain for at least another seven years, the US military is increasingly Somalia-bound, Congress hasn’t uttered a peep on the subject, and few in this country are paying the slightest attention.
  • The US military just can’t get enough of Somalia.... When it comes to the US military... It’s all of Africa. After all, this country’s military uniquely has a continent-wide Africa Command (aka AFRICOM), founded in 2007.... that command now has its troops, thousands of them, its planes, and other equipment spread across the continent, north to south, east to west—air bases, drone bases, garrisons, outposts, staging areas, you name it. Meanwhile, AFRICOM’s outgoing commanding general Thomas Waldhauser, only recently told Congress why it’s bound to be a forever outfit—because, shades of the Cold War, the Ruskies are coming! (“Russia is also a growing challenge and has taken a more militaristic approach in Africa.”)


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