The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's
Since 2001, Tom Engelhardt has written regular reports for his popular site TomDispatch that have provided badly-needed insight into U.S. militarism and its effects, both at home and abroad. When others were celebrating the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, he warned of the enormous dangers of both occupations.
In The American Way of War, Engelhardt documents Washington’s ongoing commitment to military bases to preserve—and extend—its empire; reveals damning information about the American reliance on airpower, at great cost to civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan; and shows that the US empire has deep historical roots that precede the Bush administration—and continue today into the presidency of Barack Obama.
"Tom Engelhardt provides a clear-eyed examination of U.S. foreign policy in the Bush and Obama years, and details unsparingly how Obama has inherited -- and in many cases exacerbated -- the ills of the Bush era.... an important book for anyone hoping to understand how the U.S. arrived at its current predicament during the Bush years, and how it remains in this predicament despite Obama's best efforts -- or perhaps because of them."
—Daniel Luban, Inter-Press Service
“Tom Engelhardt is among our most trenchant critics of American perpetual war. Like I. F. Stone in the 1960s, he has an uncanny ability to ferret out and see clearly the ugly truths hidden in government reports and statistics. No cynic, he always measures the sordid reality against a bright vision of an America that lives up to its highest ideals.”
—Juan R. Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan
the Pentagon attempts to close some of the vast numbers of them scattered across this country. Then, the fear of lost jobs and lost income in local communities leads to headlines and hubbub. In purely practical terms, though, Americans are unlikely to be able to shoulder forever the massive global role the Pentagon and successive administrations have laid out for us. Sooner or later, cutbacks will come and the sun will slowly begin to set on our base-world abroad. In the meantime, occupying the
placed on the balconies of Baghdad hotels for the shock-and-awe son-et-lumière show—dramatic explosions in the night (only lacking a score to go with it). Does no one remember air force claims that airpower alone could win wars? Is there some secret I’m missing here? Doesn’t anyone find it strange that, back in 1995, our papers—from their front pages to their editorial and op-ed pages—were convulsed by a single contested air-war exhibit being mounted at the Smithsonian National Air and Space
operatives were torturing, abusing, and killing Iraqis as part of a systematic targeted assassination program on a large scale. It was, for those who remember the Vietnam era, a mini-Phoenix program in which possibly hundreds of enemies were assassinated: al-Qaeda-in-Iraq types, but also Sunni insurgents, and Sadrists (not to speak of others, since informers always settle scores and turn over their own personal enemies as well). Although he’s being touted in the press as the man to bring the real
entertainment has been sent offshore—like imprisonment and punishment. Hollywood has launched it into a nether-world of aliens, superheroes, and robots. Something indelibly American, close to a national religion, has gone through the wormhole and is unlikely to return. Joe lives. So does war, American-style, the brutal, real thing in Afghanistan and Iraq, at Guantánamo and Bagram, in the Predator- and Reaper-filled skies over the Pakistani tribal borderlands, among the Blackwater (now Xe)
and intelligence counterparts, has been in an almost constant state of surge since the last days of the Bush administration. Unfortunately, while information on this is available, and often well reported, it’s scattered in innumerable news stories on specific aspects of the war. You have to be a media jockey to catch it all, no less put it together. What follows, then, is my attempt to make sense of the nine fronts on which the Unites States has been surging as part of Obama’s widening war. 1.