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Posted by Danny Sjursen at 8:01am, May 30, 2019.Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch. Think of U.S. policy in the Middle East as the proverbial broken record. Explain it as you will, Washington’s focus always comes back to Iran. Seldom has a country that remains anything but a superpower (even a regional one) loomed larger. It […]

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Editor’s note: The past is prologue. The stories we tell about ourselves and our forebears inform the sort of country we think we are and help determine public policy. As our current president promises to “make America great again,” this moment is an appropriate time to reconsider our past, look back at various eras of […]

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American History for Truthdiggers: JFK’s Cold War Chains

April 6, 2019           |                                       

A 1962 British political cartoon by Leslie Gilbert Illingworth, published right after the Cuban Missile Crisis, depicts President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev locked in confrontation. Their fingers are poised above buttons that would set off the hydrogen bombs they are sitting on. In his abbreviated administration, Kennedy would fulfill his dream of being […]

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Posted by Danny Sjursen at 8:12am, March 31, 2019.Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch. It turns out that I can thank former Army colonel and historian Andrew Bacevich for the fact that U.S. Army Major Danny Sjursen began his article-writing career at TomDispatch. That was in February 2017. His first piece was headlined “Mission Unaccomplished, 15 […]

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I arrived an absolute mess; most of us did. Bloated cheeks, sunken eyes, wearing my PTSD and depression on every inch of my face. I can’t say I really wanted to be there, even if I had volunteered. Ironic, wasn’t it? This, a civilian treatment facility in nowhere, Arizona, was to be my last official […]

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American History for Truthdiggers: From Isolationism to a 2nd World Conflagration

January 12, 2019           |                                       

The 1940 pop song “Let’s Not Go Over There (Let’s Stay Home and Prepare)” opposed U.S. entry into the European war. Its title played on George M. Cohan’s 1917 hit, “Over There,” which had rallied “Yanks” to arms in World War I. Americans and Europeans alike were traumatized by the First World War. The roughly […]

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Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king,Do you know what I knowIn your palace warm, mighty king,Do you know what I knowA child, a child shivers in the coldLet us bring him silver and gold…. —Lyrics to the famous Christmas song, “Do You Hear What I Hear,” written by Gloria Shayne Baker & Noel […]

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Posted by Danny Sjursen at 3:01pm, December 23, 2018.Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch. [Note for TomDispatch Readers: The end is nigh — though only for the TomDispatch version of 2018! I’m now going to take my usual brief rest and see if I can shake off one of the lesser periods of American life. The […]

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American History for Truthdiggers: The Decade That Roared, and Wept

December 8, 2018           |                                       

“Blues” by Archibald Motley depicts a nightclub in Paris, where he studied in the late 1920s. Many African-Americans lived as expatriates in France after World War I, enjoying a freedom denied them in their homeland. In no era, it seems, has the United States been able to overcome its original sin of slavery, racism and […]

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American History for Truthdiggers: A Savage ‘War to End All Wars’ and Its Failed Peace

November 24, 2018           |                                       

A 1916 campaign button for the re-election of Woodrow Wilson. Within weeks of his second inauguration, the president, declaring “[t]he world must be made safe for democracy,” would successfully ask Congress to approve U.S. entry into World War I. Most Americans were horrified by the brutality of trench warfare in Europe and thanked God for […]

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Posted by Danny Sjursen at 7:07am, November 20, 2018.Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch. [Note for TomDispatch readers: Of John Feffer’s dystopian fiction, Mike Davis has written that “he’s our twenty-first century Jack London” and Barbara Ehrenreich comments that he “paints a startling portrait of a post-apocalyptic tomorrow that is fast becoming a reality today.” Now, […]

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American History for Truthdiggers: Wealth, Squalor in the Progressive Era

October 27, 2018           |                                       

William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic presidential candidate and Populist firebrand. After 1877, when the Republican Party abandoned Southern blacks along with any remnants of its old abolitionist sentiment, the GOP became increasingly identified as the party of “business,” of corporations and the capitalist class. The Democrats, now largely a regional (Southern) party, also proved initially […]

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It’s time to ask an uncomfortable question: What exactly is the U.S. getting out of its partnership with Saudi Arabia? The answer is: nothing but headaches, human rights abuses and national embarrassment. In the cynical past, the U.S. could at least argue that it needed Saudi oil, but that’s no longer the case, due to […]

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Posted by Danny Sjursen at 4:08pm, September 30, 2018.Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch. [Note for TomDispatch Readers: Here’s a small recommendation, if you happen to be in New York City on October 9th. Don’t miss the third-annual Jonathan Schell Memorial Lecture on the Fate of the Earth. It’s at 7:00 pm at the New School’s […]

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American History for Truthdiggers: Andrew Jackson’s White-Male World and the Start of Modern Politics

July 28, 2018           |                                       

Jackson’s 1829 inaugural celebration as depicted in a 1970 painting by Louis S. Glanzman. The “common people” allowed in by Jackson nearly rioted. It was easy, at the time, to see Jackson as something of a throwback to Jeffersonian agrarianism. And, by some measures, he was just that. Nonetheless, Jackson’s popularity had more to do […]

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