ANDREW BACEVICH LIMITS OF POWER PDF

Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. He spent twenty-three years serving in the US Army. He also lost his son in Iraq. As military officers, we shared an ironic kinship of sorts, each of us demonstrating a peculiar knack for picking the wrong war at the wrong time. Kennedy and John F.

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Transcript This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form. He spent twenty-three years serving in the US Army. He also lost his son in Iraq. As military officers, we shared an ironic kinship of sorts, each of us demonstrating a peculiar knack for picking the wrong war at the wrong time. Kennedy and John F.

Kerry, telephoned to express their condolences. Stephen F. Kerry was present for the funeral Mass. My family and I greatly appreciated such gestures. But when I suggested to each of them the necessity of ending the war, I got the brushoff. We know the answer: to the same people who have the ear of George W. Bush and Karl Rove — namely, wealthy individuals and institutions. He joins me here in the firehouse studio.

Welcome to Democracy Now! This is not theoretical for you. But the content, the critique, is unrelated to that tragedy. The content of the book very much reflects my dismay at the direction of US foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Nobody was paying attention to the possibility of actually having to defend the United States of America.

It was prepared — it specialized in power projection. Well, been fighting a war in — where? And a second one in Iraq. Now, I think you can make the case for Afghanistan, at least in terms of you can make a case for the necessity of holding the Taliban accountable for having given sanctuary to al-Qaeda. And I think, in that regard, if we look at Afghanistan today, we have to see a country that historically, at least as I understand Afghan history, has never really functioned as an integrated and coherent nation state.

You might call them warlords, you can call them local bosses, but authority has been widely distributed. Were we able to actually do that, I think it would be a wonderful thing. I think there are differences between the two, but I think we should see the differences as differences in operational priorities.

Elect me and will shift our military effort to Afghanistan. Both of them — McCain explicitly, I think Obama implicitly — endorse the notion that a global war on terror really provides the right frame for thinking about US national security policy going forward. A real debate would be one in which we would have one candidate, and certainly it would be McCain, arguing for the global war on terror and an opponent who was questioning whether the global war on terror makes sense.

Well, we need to ask ourselves whether that really makes sense? What are the costs entailed by waging war for a generation? Where does the money come from?

And in a very human sense, who actually pays the cost? I mean, who serves? Whose social needs are getting met, and whose are not getting met, as a consequence of having open-ended global war be this national priority? It seems to me that were we to accurately gauge the actually existing threat — and there is a threat.

There are people out there who want to kill us. Stay with us. Could you talk about the cost of war and how the militarists learned from your war, from Vietnam, how we are insulated from the true cost? This is the way I would tell the story. President Nixon ends the draft and creates the so-called all-volunteer force, which really is a professional army. What Nixon is trying to do is to basically cut the antiwar movement off at the knees, and his calculation was that by ending the draft, kids would get out of the streets and go back to class.

And to some degree, he actually was right. By the time we get into the s, those JCS concerns have been proven incorrect, and we do end up with, I think, a magnificent professional army. In terms of what you want an army to be like and to do, they are competent, they are disciplined, they know their business. And the post-Cold War period, beginning with the elder Bush, sees this pattern of interventionism — you know, Panama, Iraq, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, on and on and on — mostly small conflicts, mostly brief conflicts, conflicts in which we, the people, sit on the sidelines and mostly applaud, and the all-volunteer force seems like the most successful federal program of the recent decades.

Until you get to Iraq, because Iraq turns out to be not a short war, not a clean war, protracted, ugly, rightfully, I think, controversial and unpopular. He decides he knows how it wants to be used. Go shopping. I think who really benefits or what benefits is the political status quo. The national security state, the apparatus of the national security state benefits. The tacit bargain between our political leaders and the American people, which basically assumes that our culture of consumption, our refusal to save, our addiction to oil, as President Bush himself described it, that all of these things can be sustained indefinitely, if we can simply employ our military power in ways to shape the world to our liking.

Now, of course, what we found over the past five, six years is, our military power is really not nearly as great as many people imagined it to be back in the s, and war has not become an effective instrument of politics, as many people imagined back in the s.

One of the great ironies, I think, of the Iraq war is that our adversary, who in a technological sense, we would say, has been fairly primitive, our adversary has actually acted much more quickly than we have. In the competition between the improvised explosive devices as a major weapons system that they have used and our efforts to defeat that system, they have repeatedly acted more quickly than we have.

Your thoughts? Of course there is evil in the world and there is good in the world, but guess what? Some of the evil is right here. I mean, to view international politics through this lens of good and evil leads you to vastly oversimplify and I think also leads you to make reckless decisions.

And I think the key question is, will the American empire end catastrophically because of our blind insistence that we will not change? Or will we be able to disengage ourselves from and dismantle the American empire in a sensible, reasonable way that will do the least damage to the world and the least damage to ourselves? Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow. Some of the work s that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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Prophetic indictment of the house of cards and hubris that is American exceptionalism. Unflinching and stunningly articulate analysis of the structural flaws in the dominant American narrative. Oct 10, Ed rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to understand How we, the U. Recommended to Ed by: PBS Shelves: essays-politics-science-religion , reviewed , non-fiction Written by a true conservative, ex-military officer and current Boston University professor, this book concisely explains how the actions of citizens, government and the military over the last 45 years have pushed the U. S into the position it finds itself in today. In the Chapter titled "The Crisis of Profligacy", Bacevich skewers Americans for surrendering their true freedom for the illusory freedom of materialism. As he puts it at the end of the Chapter: "Long accustomed to thinking of the United States as a superpower, Americans have yet to realize that they have forfeited command of their own destiny.

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