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Chalmers Johnson: We Face a Choice Between Coming Home and Economic Collapse

By Chalmers Johnson | The American Conservative

In 1962, the historian Barbara Tuchman published a book about the start of World War I and called it The Guns of August. It went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. She was, of course, looking back at events that had occurred almost 50 years earlier and had at her disposal documents and information not available to participants. They were acting, as Vietnam-era Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara put it, in the fog of war.

So where are we this August of 2010, with guns blazing in one war in Afghanistan even as we try to extricate ourselves from another in Iraq? Where are we, as we impose sanctions on Iran and North Korea (and threaten worse), while sending our latest wonder weapons, pilotless drones armed with bombs and missiles, into Pakistan’s tribal borderlands, Yemen, and who knows where else, tasked with endless “targeted killings” which, in blunter times, used to be called assassinations? Where exactly are we, as we continue to garrison much of the globe even as our country finds itself incapable of paying for basic services?

I wish I had a crystal ball to peer into and see what historians will make of our own guns of August in 2060. The fog of war, after all, is just a stand-in for what might be called “the fog of the future,” the inability of humans to peer with any accuracy far into the world to come. Let me nonetheless try to offer a few glimpses of what that foggy landscape some years ahead might reveal, and even hazard a few predictions about what possibilities await still-imperial America.


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it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--


Darn it.. he is an awesome writer.

'Peace is a powerful message.' Ron Paul

Michael Nystrom's picture

Chalmers Johnson is a hero

Here's a review I wrote of his last book, Nemesis:


Nice to see he's got a new book out. But the last paragraph of his article is heartbreaking:

My own role these past 20 years has been that of Cassandra, whom the gods gave the gift of foreseeing the future, but also cursed because no one believed her. I wish I could be more optimistic about what’s in store for the U.S. Instead, there isn’t a day that our own guns of August don’t continue to haunt me.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance. - Alan Watts


The end shook me up too. Ive read Nemesis and it is hands down the best book on foreign policy ever.

'Peace is a powerful message.' Ron Paul

Chalmers Johnson

...has his drawbacks at times but overall he is sound imo. No wonder many political, history, and economic professors attempt to stay away from him in my view. ;)

He has name recognition and this helps, good for Johnson.


reedr3v's picture

It looks as though the Conservatives

are slowly waking up, since this article appears in the online American Conservative.

Chalmers is way too comfy Big Gov for my comfort, but rolling back the Empire is a good start.

a must read

a must read


Excellent article.