China from Within: A View from Several Years Ago

As the presidential debates approach, and our grotesque candidates prepare to compete for Best Actor, with their supporting casts of pollsters, advance men, media shills, gestures coaches, focus groups, and allied technicians of mendacity, Americans of broad historical illiteracy, which is most of them, hear endlessly of the evils of China. Whether the evils exist …

The Schanberg MIA Thing

During the post-Vietnam uproar over alleged American servicemen allegedly deliberately left behind by the Pentagon as prisoners, a major website wrote admiringly of the assertion to this effect by Sydney Schanberg, reporter for the New York Times. At the time I was a military writer in Washington and deeply immersed in the story, based in …

California Dreaming: The Great Kustom Grassblaster Craze

The Great Custom Lawnmower craze of 1972 caught California unawares. The state is not easily astonished. Still, Mikey Deeter managed it. Mikey lived in Riverside, one of those pseudo-Spanish Levittowns that dangle like beads from the freeways. He was seventeen. He had long blonde hair, a great tan, and the vacant expression one associates with …

The Redskins as They Actually Were: The Detwaddling of Fantasy

As part of wokedom’s fantasy-ridden fascination with indigenes, sports teams, such as the Redskins and Braves, race to change names. (For Washington’s team, the Federal Folders has been suggested.) Outraged conservatives see the changes as nauseating prissiness by historically illiterate ninnies. It is every bit of this. Still, the teams should be renamed. What civilized …

Talking to Hant. What Tom Jefferson Needed to Know

The other day I went up the holler to talk to Uncle Hant about Democracy. Hant knows everything. Well, nearly about everything. He lives just past the creek in a double-wide with a satellite dish and his old dog Birdshot. You could call him a mountain man. He’s tall and lank, like they made him …

How to Lose wars: The Military as Asylum (2011)

Ever wonder why the US military can’t win wars? Why a few ragtag guerillas could send it running out of Somalia (Black Hawk Down)? Why one guy with a truck bomb could chase the Marines out of Lebanon? Why the attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran was such a disaster? Why the world’s most …

Unused Militaries, Such as Ours, Rot

For a couple of decades I covered the military for various publications, as for example the Washington Times and Harper’s, and wrote a military column for Universal Press Syndicate. I was following the time-honored principle of sensible reporters: “Ask not what you can do for journalism, but what journalism can do for you.” The military …