Bacevich's new book is called "The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism" and in it he hits some "notes" that I consider "right", such as the assertion (which is, or is close to, the central thesis of his book) that
the lessons drawn from America's post-9/11 military experience are the wrong ones.I agree with Bacevich when he says
America doesn't need a bigger army. It needs a smaller -- that is, more modest -- foreign policy.But I found it hard not to gag when I read:
Far from producing a stampede of eager recruits keen to don a uniform, the events of 9/11 reaffirmed a widespread popular preference for hiring someone else's kid to chase terrorists, spread democracy, and ensure access to the world's energy reserves."What does Bacevich want," I asked myself, "300 million Pat Tillmans?"
Andrew Bacevich continues:
In the midst of a global war of ostensibly earthshaking importance, Americans demonstrated a greater affinity for their hometown sports heroes than for the soldiers defending the distant precincts of the American imperium. Tom Brady makes millions playing quarterback in the NFL and rakes in millions more from endorsements. Pat Tillman quit professional football to become an army ranger and was killed in Afghanistan. Yet, of the two, Brady more fully embodies the contemporary understanding of the term patriot.Just so we have this straight: Pat Tillman [photo] was an exceptionally gifted athlete, with extraordinary courage, above-average intelligence and a solid moral core. He wasn't quite sharp enough to see that 9/11 was a fraud, so he threw away his stardom and his multi-million-dollar career, joined the Army, became a Ranger, went to Afghanistan, saw for himself what the war was about ... and decided to do something about it.
For his efforts he was promptly drilled three times in the forehead by his own "friends", who then burned his uniform and disappeared his diary, and whose superiors lied to Tillman's parents and put them through hell.
Then those same "leaders" lied to the nation, too, in a cheap and sleazy fiction whose only possible purpose was to make political hay out of Pat Tillman's murder -- specifically denying the basic truth that our hero had seen -- too late! -- but couldn't be allowed to express.
And Andrew Bacevich, the former Army colonel and supposedly anti-war author, would clearly like to see more people do the same thing Pat Tillman did, so we won't have to hire "someone else's kid to chase terrorists", let alone "spread democracy"...
Oh, spreading democracy?
Is that what we're doing there? Nobody told me ...
But seriously, if this sort of "anti-war" posturing is the best we can get, shame on us all.
On second thought, shame on us all, anyway.
UPDATE: Here's a bit more of Bacevich's pro-war "wisdom", from Bill Moyers via Chris Floyd:
"The pursuit of freedom, as defined in an age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence on imported goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American people is that nothing should disrupt their access to these goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S. government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part of through the distribution of largesse here at home, and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad."Oh, please! We're fighting in Iraq so we can have cheap oil? Sorry -- that doesn't wash with me at all. We could have had every drop of that oil for a quarter of what we're paying now, if we'd just left Iraq in peace and bought it. But that's not what our government wanted to do. It wanted to steal the oil from the Iraqi people and give it to the richest corporations on the planet.
The more I read of Andrew Bracevich, the less I like him. But I suppose this is the best we're ever gonna get from a career Army man. The Kool-Aid just rots your brain after a while, I guess.
An Open Letter To Andrew Bracevich:
Listen up, sir! It's been a long time since the "chief aim of the U.S. government" was "to satisfy" the "desire" of its people, sir!
Heck, it's been a long time since the U.S. government stopped pretending that it had any interest at all in satisfying the desire of its people, sir!
Where you been, sir?
Ah, right: over at the Kool-Aid dispenser.
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