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Retired Lieutenant Colonel Warns U.S. at Risk of Military Dictatorship

I take the conclusion of today's TomDispatch article to be this: if the next super-hyped general doesn't make as stupid mistakes as Petraeus or McChrystal, he (very likely a he) could slide into the imperial powers built up by Obama, Bush, and their predecessors, and complete the slide away from representative government in any form:

Put simply, Americans need to stop genuflecting to our paper Caesars before we actually produce a real one, a man ruthless enough to cross the Rubicon (or the Potomac) and parlay total military adulation into the five stars of absolute political authority.

Unless we wish to salute our very own Imperator, we need to regain a healthy dose of skepticism, shared famously by our Founders, when it comes to evaluating our generals and our wars. Such skepticism may not stop generals and admirals from behaving badly, but it just might help us radically downsize an ever more militarized global mission and hew more closely to our democratic ideals.

William J. Astore is a TomDispatch regular.  A retired lieutenant colonel (USAF), he welcomes reader comments at

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch and join us on Facebook.  Check out the newest Dispatch book, Nick Turse‚Äôs The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and Cyberwarfare.

Copyright 2012 William J. Astore

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