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An American Century of Carnage


An American Century of Carnage

John Dower

[This essay is adapted from “Measuring Violence,” the first chapter of John Dower’s new book, The Violent American Century: War and Terror Since World War Two.]


The American Century = “good intentions”

“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”


" Such stratospheric numbers defy easy comprehension, but one does not need training in statistics to bring them closer to home. Simple arithmetic suffices. The projected bill for just the 30-year nuclear modernization agenda comes to over $90 million a day, or almost $4 million an hour. The $1 trillion price tag for maintaining the nation’s status as “the most powerful nation on Earth” for a single year amounts to roughly $2.74 billion a day, over $114 million an hour."

The math being documented is so important. Linking it to the scurrilous dog whistle of “the most powerful nation on Earth” even more so.

So when is the next march? Here is an essential placard just waiting to be written and with which to open conversations.

This information is something akin to deciding to take a hike out the ’ tall grass’ to the top of a set of foothills for a better view of REAL landscape to await the rest of the countless others to scale the mountains between suffering and the ocean.

Seeing the numbers, I always remind myself that they ALSO conceal entire hushed international corporate ‘externalized costs’ of ‘doing business’, translating into land grabbing, fomenting of organized crime, ecological destruction, genocide, ethnocide and a vast array of abuses including human trafficking and with these killing off the diversity - utterly denied by the economic model - that are essential for life on the planet.

So, on that basis, I’d guestimate the actual functional numeric power to be somewhere around double what the author cites.


A comprehensive summary but not something that was unknown at least here and on Tom Dispatch. Professors like to teach but they are most useful when their students don’t already know the information.

We are treated to many comprehensive summaries about issues which is why people read sites like CD or buy the good professor’s book but at this point, we need a different form of instruction. Instead of telling us yet again facts that we mostly know already, progressives need to go back to school and learn what they can do to change the facts (such as were presented by the good professor) that we all see need to be changed.

Examples : we may learn ever more reasons why Trump is unsuitable to lead the country but the essential question remain… how do we remove the boor from office?

We may recognize the appalling loss to our prosperity and the savaging results in the rest of the world from the wasted trillions spent for this unnecessarily gargantuan military budget but the ways and means to reduce it are a mystery to most citizens. Just how do we get our congress to reduce the military budget? We need to know how in real terms! Teach us the process.

Here on CD many people like to show how much they know but do not take it any further. We need that ‘further’ desperately. Even CD readers will continually offer summaries of facts as their responses as if the CD readership is a competitive classroom. We all need more than just a listing of facts. We need to learn what to do about them!

Trump didn’t arrive in a vacuum of facts. My point is that listing the facts didn’t prevent his ascendency to this ersatz throne that he now occupies. We knew all the facts as to why he wasn’t a good choice. Yet he got in anyway!

What we needed to learn was how to prevent his gaining the office. What we need are instructions as to how to remove Trump from office. How tos of impeachment. How tos of how to communicate our feelings to Congress. How tos to boycott and maybe a general strike and non violent civil disobedience.

We need to learn stuff that we don’t already know.


A long, but very good, informative read.

“The projected Bill for just (the Military’s) 30 year Nuclear Modernization comes to $90 Million a day, or $4 Million an HOUR. The $1Trillion Dollar Price Tag for maintaing the Nation’s Status as “the Most Powerful Nation on Earth” for a single year amounts to roughly $2.74 Billion a day, over $114 Million an HOUR”

This appropriation of our Wealth and our Governance got it’s Kickstart with the Dallas Coup in 1963, and is the answer to virtually any question we can come up with as to why we have no Health Care, no Constitutional Rights, no Interest on our Savings, no Public Airwaves, no Viable Representation in our Government…

At this point, it is pointed out in Mr. Dower’s article, the Military is sucking a Sweet $1Trillion a year out of our Pockets, with no freaking end in sight.

[If someone gave you $1 Billion, (which is $1,000 Million), every day, it would take Three Years before you would be given $1 Trillion.]


“The Way of Life Cleaves Itself”
Lao T’su

Our role on CD is to put the Truth out there, as best we can, which in 2017 America is no small contribution.

That it may Disseminate, far and wide is our Goal. and Take Root in many diverse places, we know not where, but must have faith that it will.


I have never seen war numbers presented in such an educating fashion. Sitting here in my home on a snowy day and letting them slowly sink in is numbing. Only one word can describe these numbers, insanity!


Sorry for repeating some of what theoldgoat had already Posted
When I started to compose my response there were no Comments, yet


Many of us already know these statistics, have seen pictures of the resulting horror and sit stunned by it all knowing full well what is needed in order to provide a better future for our children and a chance for their survival. Most bury their heads in their own day-to-day survival as their surroundings get picked clean by all those responsible for the insanity. Revolution is never easy.




No need apologizing. These words must be repeated over and over until people begin to hear.


Thanks, notwistalemon.


As soon as someone starts using the word ‘revolution’ in the context of our current political situation, it becomes instantly obvious that they are pretty much talking about a cartoonish if intellectual fantasy ( maybe even while sitting at home in a comfy chair)!

To be blunt, it is not about an economic ‘revolution’ where capitalism is replaced by …um…well by something! When it comes to economic revolution advocates are long on theory and philosophy and astoundingly short on the practical and immediate. Who employs the millions ( much less feeds them ) while capitalism is replaced? Do stores keep open? Does manufacturing continue? Shipping? Transportation? When there is a revolution does one go to work on Monday morning like always?

Sure we need a revolution in theory. In the meantime, we need to make our imperfect real world system work properly. Besides it takes years to change something although destroying something instead is faster. Revolution is akin to regime change in many ways. It is easier for Trump to undo what is already established even if only by disruption and destruction than it is to create something new that works. You can break something a lot easier than you can make something. Trump uses what exists to support his agenda while he undermines it. Nevertheless, salaries are paid and things can go on like usual. A revolution substitutes one system for another. How long does that take and within what context? Who pays the salaries? Who pays the grocery bills? Will there be revolutionary grocery stores that won’t be capitalistic?

For example, when everything is broken and unworkable say after the apocalypse or some other such inconvenience, I suppose a revolution would then be more logical. However until the collapse of civilization is nigh, civilization is what we’ve got to work with such as it is. I mean you can’t get all the people to fit some theoretical solution, especially if a lot of them don’t even want to.

Revolution can only succeed while capitalism continues to function otherwise you need everyone (and I mean most everybody) to be wiling to do things differently. Don’t like capitalism? Fine, let’s change it but I still need to get that weekly paycheck while we do away with our corrupt system and so will they.

We need to change things of that there is no doubt. I suggest we make things work better, be more efficient, be environmentally sustainable rather than destructive. Trump is creating a destructive ‘revolution’ that would disrupt things like by a return to coal instead of growing the economy of the future with alternative energy jobs etc.

“You say you want a revolution!” Went the lyrics to a famous song. The truth is that a revolution takes a hell of a lot of work by an immense number of people and it all has to be paid for and them to get paid.

It is easier to fix what we have instead. Impeaching Trump would be a good start, for example!


At this point impeaching Trump would be experiencing a coup. The only good thing might be the revolution it could possibly spark. The world is experiencing the apocalypse you are noting. The climate is in free fall and animals are going extinct, above and below the oceans. Try living in the war zones created by US imperialism and possibly those areas could be described as an apocalypse? Your points about jobs, transportation, etc, are well made and thoughts I have had myself. Who knows what would happen. Life is precious when you have it. We, so far, are physically fortunate to live where we do. Emotionally, I can only speak for myself. Murder is murder. When you know it is happening and you do nothing to stop it, emotional life becomes difficult. Individually we cannot do much, as even JFK and MLK discovered. As a population, we can stop the murder. We will eventually do so. Probably not until, as history has proven time and again, things start happening to us by us in the US. Unfortunately, all those oligarchic, plutocratic, kleptocrats will have lived out their normal life spans.


I agree except your statement that we are in the apocalypse. We progressives who read the scientific truth of things understand that in fact that we are in the midst of an unprecedented catastrophe in progress but for most people they are only just beginning to understand what is happening or soon to happen in the environment. Nor do they feel the war zones or famine areas they may or may not see on the TV news!

Most people have only a vague idea of what is really happening. That is starting to change at least about the environment. I would say that most people understand that climate change is a reality but as yet they really don’t ‘feel’ it. There have been droughts and floods and warm winters before so they tend to pass off experiencing them so often. But they know. They know something is happening but when they try to get the truth what do they find?

NPR will describe a 65F degree day in January in the north east region as another beautiful day. Cheery and bright, what could be wrong when that is the weather report? No hint of it being scary. No mention of the anomalous nature of the days 50F degrees warmer than they should be! Can you blame people when they are betrayed like that? I like to say >>> “Nice weather for the end of a planet!”

I’ve said that line since the 80’s.

In my opinion and yours and that of scientists and informed people, we are presently experiencing the beginning of a terrible apocalypse. While it may be possible that someday we can alleviate the worst of the damage to the planet but one has to wonder when we proceed so blindly and recklessly like we do. However when the sh*t has continued to hit the fan so much that the fan has stopped working entirely, that will be when we will need that fan the most. That will be when most people truly realize what they have lost. Right now everything is much the same as it always was. Excepting of course that we are losing a sense of winter and summers are becoming hotter and deadlier than ever before for seniors and infants etc.

We are on the cusp of catastrophe as yet. We still have time to live normally while things change around us. It is unfortunate that this last grace period is being wasted by the right wing and the grossly greedy. When these last ‘normal’ days are gone then I believe social chaos will be fueled by climate chaos.

A world of unrest and want. Such terrible misery lies ahead if we don’t make the effort needed to avert it while we can.

And yet we are not. We will not under Trump.

We await the apocalypse… how odd that it feels so normal!

The end is nigh … close enough anyway.


“Nice weather for the end of a planet!”

I’ve said that line since the 80’s.

I love it. Hope you don’t mind my borrowing that one! People where I live, actually in a beautiful part of Colorado, are always telling me, “don’t be so negative all the time; just look around at what a beautiful place we all live!” Murder, murder everywhere, but what a place to ski! Gotta run. Be well.


Long article-but if we are talking century lets include “War is a Racket” by General Butler—the US at the turn of the last century 1900 was an agriculture economy and people did not want to go fight foreign wars------So if Germany had won WWI what would we have today the EU???

Donald Trump=Fox “news” viewers—no don’t impeach Trump—we have a completely corrupt political class—and a dumbing down of America-----this needs to play out-

I watched Tucker Carlson Friday on Fox ,the day the republicans pulled their healthcare bill—Carlson started the program about immigration,then discussed if Obama wiretapped Trump (Carlson isn’t sure it this is true)-then he went to some quick report on the healthcare bill and then went back to immigration.???

I have yet to see any real analysis about this major defeat for a party that holds all the power. And to date I only see a few articles about the debt ceiling and the gov running out of money 4/28.

Will democrats support increased spending for the military----it sounds like they will support this spending if they get money for their programs.

Here is an idea democrats -----take that 52 billion increase in (WAR) defense spending and put it towards community health centers------this would create thousands of jobs and benefit all kinds of communities.


As a Marine Vietnam Veteran for Peace I ask you and your colleagues to write about how do ordinary Americans WAGE PEACE and document how other nations do so? Your insights must be actionable, or they just add to noise of critical debate.

As we reflect on Dr. King’s Radical Revolution of Values noted in his speech “Beyond Vietnam” We The People must determine how to Organize and Occupy the US Folly Policy decision making process and decide who serves, sacrifices, suffers and dies, and who pays?

This is with the comprehensive and deep understanding that WAR PROFITEERS are the existential threat to our humanity. “War is a Racket” according to USMC Major General Smedely Butler, recipient of two Medals of Honor and anti-Fascist.

Wage Peace & Semper Fidelis,

David DeChant
Combat Intelligence NCO
Assigned to Scouts