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An "Exceptional” Failure: The US Military Bombs in the Twenty-First Century


An "Exceptional” Failure: The US Military Bombs in the Twenty-First Century

Tom Engelhardt

Here’s my twenty-first-century rule of thumb about this country: if you have to say it over and over, it probably ain’t so. Which is why I’d think twice every time we’re told how “exceptional” or “indispensable” the United States is. For someone like me who can still remember a moment when Americans assumed that was so, but no sitting president, presidential candidate, or politician felt you had to say the obvious, such lines reverberate with defensiveness.


Winding my way through my local library's web site yesterday I saw the warning that my activity could be tracked by the federal government. USA! USA! USA!


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'that a Vietnamese communist victory would cause “dominoes” to “fall” and communism to triumph across the Third World, remarkably little happened that displeased, no less endangered, the United States.'

For me watching Robert McNamera's cluelessness in Eroll Morris's documentary "The Fog of War" said it all. He didn't understand the dynamics of Cuba and he didn't understand Vietnam. He was considered a "genius" by corporate America but his analysis was completely wrong and thousands died because of it. He knew he was wrong too, in the end. Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and even President Obama will someday be subject to similar scrutiny.


Syria: It can’t be classified as a three-peat or even a repeat performance, since the FFFIHW wasn’t there the previous 14 years.

The FFFIHW as described was certainly not there for the last 14 years, but the vanguard of the US shock troups - the CIA and proxy US forces as well as the US Neocons were already doing the ground work to initiate diobolic mischif and mahem within the Shia realm and regeime of Assad.


A WW2 military strategy - more soldiers, more tanks, more planes and more ships = victory.

A WW2 military mentality - more is better and covers up mistakes and poor planning. More = victory.

Just ask the Hessians and the Red Coats.

We have a military so big that we have no other strategy for using it. No other rationale for its size except a soldier's belief that more weapons and more men will ensure victory. Bigness is our last remaining strategy.

We don't know any other way to fight and have made bigness a military career thus incorporating a can't change inertia. The bigger we get the more we feel bigger is better.

Note how the republicans (particularly Jeb) keep talking about expanding our military.

Military procurement has the Midas Touch. More + more + even more still... is never enough.


"If you don’t mind a little what-if history lesson, it’s just possible that events might have turned out differently and, instead of repeating that “finest fighting force” stuff endlessly, our leaders might actually believe it. After all, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it took the Bush administration only a month to let the CIA, special forces advisers, and the U.S. Air Force loose against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s supporters in Afghanistan. The results were crushing."

Here's an alternative history lesson for you, Mr. Engelhardt and I consider this a documentary written at a very elementary level. I may offer a more advanced one; however, due to your resistance to looking at the matter honestly, or showing the slightest curiosity about The Official Story (a curiosity one would equate with a classic journalistic mind) ... this is probably a good starting place:


Those who support a war agenda are painted AS geniuses in order to lend legitimacy to foreign wars of aggression: the lifeblood to the MIC and basis for gargantuan (blood) profits to the war profiteers. It's as simple as that.

It works the same with today's prized economists. Some groan that none saw the collapse coming. They are paid to lend legitimacy to the vast Ponzi scheme passed off as a viable system of global economics. As the Piketty Study essentially reveals, it's a massive heist diverting funds from the world's workers and middle class to the 1%.


Thanks, SR. I read his words and was about to offer a similar comment.
How someone as smart as Tom E. can ignore the clear 9/11 evidence must have an explanation- from, say, lack of study all the way to "intermediate Left-influencing 9/11 semi-truther mentoring", but I don't want to say it is either.
I hope it is the former, as that would be more easily remedied.
I have said so before, but the official myth has since that day been taken as an article of faith, in a very religious sense, that must be accepted and cannot be questioned- and just as with certain other major articles of faith that are essentially mandatory for adherents to one of the religions (obvious possible examples would be the Resurrection, the virgin birth, other miracles, within the religion I know a little bit about)- it is accepted without evidence- without proof.
Some things, I suppose, must be accepted without evidence and proof, but I know for sure that the official 9/11 myth is not one of these.
It is not necessary now, if it ever was, to take the official myth on faith.
It's not responsible to do so either.
As good as Englehardt's writing and opinions might be, the overarching presence of the official myth calls all of his otherwise excellent writing into question. Or if not, perhaps it should.

A journalist in any venue who writes about the wars cannot possibly write accurately about them beyond a certain point, if the fundamental cause, or excuse for the wars is not understood, or it is misunderstood, or it is understood, but deliberately misrepresented.

To continue writing erudite articles which are founded on an unverified, and apparently unverifiable, fiction, when evidence to the contrary is abundant and convincing, does as much to assist the wars as it may do to help stop them.
It's irresponsible.
At best it indicates a troubling lack of willingness to look at the facts, and if so, what business does he have in writing about the broader subject at all? Instead, why doesn't he write of the flatness of the earth or the kind of cheese that makes up the moon? Then he could deduce whatever he chose from that starting point. But it couldn't be correct, if based on a false first premise.


The last few minutes of the link I posted interviews a number of psychologists who visit this question of why it is that so many don't WANT to know the Truth. It's worth watching.

As for Mr. Engelhardt, I used to like his material but I find that it's so redundant and constantly adheres to a very predictable template. I have critiqued him for essentially coming off as a military reformer, rather than one who actually challenges the primacy of the military in U.S. society.

He always returns to the frame that leaders were "wrong" in how they pursued wars, not IN pursuing them, but because by his frame, the wars were failures.

He imposes a metric of what winning might look like that ALWAYS gives short shrift (if any at all) to those interests that so obscenely profit from war; and how war becomes the necessity of the MIC.

A thinker, writer, or journalist should show an interest in growing. And growth comes from exploring new material.

Like I said, Tom acts like a dinosaur in repeating variations of the same narrative again and again. I can almost hear Jack Nicholson yelling at him, "You can't handle the truth!"


I found I couldn't read the whole article, although I agree with the main thrust--US needs to get out of the Middle East. I am a little disappointed that Mr. Tom couldn't discuss the underlying reason for these pointless, destructive wars. And has gone on since WWII. Previous to WWII, this country, in fact the whole world was in a severe economic depression. What does that mean? Capitalism failed again, big time. Capitalism is destructive, unfriendly to plants, animals and humans.

Thank you, Sioux Rose, for that enlightening video on 9-11. I knew from the very beginning that 9-11 was a fraud. So was Viet Nam. What is so disturbing about this is the number of people who believed the official story.

What you didn't hear at that time was that capitalism has failed. No one was allowed to say that socialism was and is a better system. If you say something like that, you could be labeled a terrorist and Obama could send a drone to take care of you.


We British did empire far more efficiently. Though Afghanistan did prove a problem once upon a time.


Thank you for addressing (again) the elephant in the room.

Every time I read a "journalist" reporting that ___________ voted for the Iraq War, I comment that "After the Anthrax attacks!", and then supply the info that Ivans never confessed, handwriting did not match, the FBI never charged him, it was US lab grade Ames strain, ... etc.

Bush vs. Gore, 911, Amerithrax attacks, & the Patriot Act, are the primary historical events of my life. The subsequent wars, bankruptcy, & Snowden revelations should be discussed within that context. We are now $18 or so trillion in debt - who sent the anthrax?


Hey now! I think you only counted gringo deaths. It was actually in the millions when you count all the human beings slaughtered and it has been non stop ever since. Peace and blessings to all on the planet, Tom Evans, veteran of of the ongoing fiasco.