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Imperial Overkill and the Death of U.S. Empire

Source: Foreign Policy in Focus

The oft-cited reference to Afghanistan as the “graveyard of empires” haunts the increasingly desperate military measures of the United States in that beleaguered country. However, beyond Afghanistan and the hydrocarbon-rich Caspian basin region, the imperial projects of the United States are, more and more, a commitment to Pentagon aggression and profligacy. Imperial overstretch has transmogrified into imperial overkill.

While all empires have had to contend with imperial overstretch, the particular historical situation confronting the United States after the fall of the Soviet Union led to an asymmetrical hyper-power, reliant especially on the reach of the Pentagon. The compulsion to rely even more heavily on the military to compensate for a waning hegemony in other domains — and to contend with shrinking resources (especially hydrocarbons), rising adversaries (especially China) and growing resistance (especially non-state Islamic militants and Latin American national-popular governments) — led to a record number of direct U. S. interventions. In turn, two of the most massive interventions, those in Iraq and Afghanistan, underscored the inability of Washington to realize all of its imperial goals. read more

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Afghanistan Funding: Time to Make a Fuss

Source: Truthout

In a moving statement before Congress in February 2009, President Obama made a promise. “For seven years, we have been a nation at war,” he said. “No longer will we hide its price.”

Obama was referring to the Bush administration’s devious practice of using supplemental spending bills – emergency cash transfusions that are separated from the annual federal budget – to funnel off money for war. This parliamentary trick masks the yearly cost of war, which would otherwise appear as one massive lump sum, by breaking it up into bite-size, deceptively digestible chunks. read more

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Are iPads, smartphones, and the Mobile Web rewiring the way we think?

Source: Christian Science Monitor

It took an offer to appear on a national TV show for Wade Warren to reluctantly give up what he calls his “technology” for a week.

That was the only way, his mother says, that he would ever pack his 2006 MacBook (with some recent upgrades, he’ll tell you), his iPad tablet computer, and, most regretfully, his Nexus One smart phone into a cardboard box and watch them be hustled out the door of his room to a secret hiding place.

Wade, who’s 14 and heading into ninth grade, survived his seven days of technological withdrawal without updating his 136 Twitter followers about “wonky math tests” and “interesting fort escapades,” or posting on his photography product review blog, or texting his friends about… well, that’s private. But he has returned to his screens with a vengeance, making up for lost time. read more