“As many frustrated Americans who have joined the Tea Party realize, we cannot
stand against big government at home while supporting it abroad. We cannot talk about fiscal responsibility
while spending trillions on occupying and bullying the rest of the world. We cannot talk about
the budget deficit and spiraling domestic spending without looking at the costs of maintaining
an American empire of more than 700 military bases in more than 120 foreign countries. We cannot
pat ourselves on the back for cutting a few thousand dollars from a nature preserve or an inner-city
swimming pool at home while turning a blind eye to a Pentagon budget that nearly equals those
of the rest of the world combined.”
New American militarism is connected with the desire to establish global neoliberal empire ruled
by the USA (the dream of total world dominance). It became official policy since the collapse
of the USSR and involves "heliocentric" view on foreign policy, when the USA is the center of
the world order and other states just rotate around it on various orbits. The US population is by-and-large-completely
brainwashed into this vision.
Opposition to the US militarism is almost non-existent due contemporary US popular culture infused
with the language of militarism and American exceptionalism. As Bacevich noted:
In any Clancy novel, the international order is a dangerous and threatening place, awash with
heavily armed and implacably determined enemies who threaten the United States. That Americans have
managed to avoid Armageddon is attributable to a single fact: the men and women of America’s uniformed
military and its intelligence services have thus far managed to avert those threats. The typical
Clancy novel is an unabashed tribute to the skill, honor, extraordinary technological aptitude and
sheer decency of the nation’s defenders. To read Red Storm Rising is to enter a world of ‘virtuous
men and perfect weapons’, as one reviewer noted. ‘All the Americans are paragons of courage, endurance
and devotion to service and country. Their officers are uniformly competent and occasionally inspired.
Men of all ranks are faithful husbands and devoted fathers.’ Indeed, in the contract that he signed
for the filming of Red October, Clancy stipulated that nothing in the film show the navy in a bad
The "New American militarism" or as it called "Neocon mentality"
is not that different from the early Soviets militarism (of Trotskyite variety), eager to spread
the blessings of Scientific Socialism toward other countries on the tips of bayonets. Here the
role of scientific socialism is played by neoliberal ideology. With the slogan "Transnational
elite unite" and Davos style Congresses of the new "Neoliberal International" of comprador
elites. While converting other countries into neoliberal model using color revolution of direct military
invasion or combination of both) are disguised as spread of "democracy".
In this new Crusade for world hegemony the key ideas of Trotsky Permanent Revolution remains intact
-- a crusade for establishing new social system on all counties on the Earth. This is just Great Neoliberal
Crusade, instead of Communist Crusade. This new justification for Crusades has the same problems
as two previous. But it does not matter as the key role of democracy here is the same as in quote "the
goal justifies the means"
Professor Andrew Bacevich wrote several short books on the subject. he avoids the term neoliberalism
and did not try to explain new American militarism in terms of the quest for neoliberal empire expansion.
But he is a very good observer and the books contain many insights into US elite thinking and blunders.
Among them we can note two:
While all three books are excellent and raise important issues, they overlap. Probably the
most original and the most important on them is Washington Rules, were Bacevich attempts to explain
"Permanent War for Permanent Peace" that the USA practice since the end of WWII. All three books have
the same weaknesses: Bacevich does not see connection between Neoliberalism demand for economic expansion
and "New American Militarism" and regime of permanent wars that the USA pursue since WWII.
He provide sharp critique of neocons, but never ask the question: which political forces brought
those pathetic second or third rate thinkers to the forefront of formulation of the US foreign policy
and maintain them for more then a decade after Iraq debacle.
He also mistakenly believe that American people (who were completely estranged from any influence
on nation's policies) bear some guilt for the policy which was formulated to benefit the first hundred
of the largest US corporations. In other words he does not understand that the USA is yet another occupied
[Neocons] advocate permanent war for permanent peace
The foreign policy of the USA since 1945, but especially, after the dissolution of the USSR was and
is "open militarism". Recently John Quiggin tried to define militarism is came to the following
100 years after the Battle of the Somme, it's hard to see that much has been learned from the
catastrophe of the Great War and the decades of slaughter that followed it. Rather than get bogged
down (yet again) in specifics that invariably decline into arguments about who know more of the historical
detail, I'm going to try a different approach, looking at the militarist ideology that gave us the
War, and trying to articulate an anti-militarist alternative.
Wikipedia offers a definition
of militarism which, with the deletion of a single weasel word, seems to be entirely satisfactory
and also seems to describe the dominant view of the political class, and much of the population
in nearly every country in the world.
Militarism is the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain
a strong military capability and be prepared to use it
aggressively[^1] to defend or promote national
This new epidemic of the US militarism started after the dissolution of the USSR was called by Professor
Bacevich (who is former colonel of the US army) it New
global interventionism is used to achieve those ends.
Professor Bacevich had shown that the main driver of the US militarism is neocons domination of the
US foreign policy, and, especially, neocons domination in State Department regardless of whether Republicans
or Democrats are in power. They profess that the US that is uniquely qualified to take on the worldwide
foes of peace and democracy, forgetting, revising, or ignoring the painful lessons of World War II,
Vietnam, and Iraq. And that establishing and maintaining the neoliberal empire is worth the price we
pay as it will take the USA into the period of unprecedented peace.
Bacevich scored a direct hit on the foundations of the American national security state with this
scathing critique, and demolishes the unspoken assumptions that he believes have led the United States
into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive "perpetual war for perpetual peace".
Bacevich scores a direct hit on the foundations of the American national security state with this
scathing critique, and demolishes the unspoken assumptions that he believes have led the United States
into a senseless, wasteful, and counter-productive posture of nearly perpetual war. These assumptions
take the form of the "credo" -- which holds that the United States has the unique responsibility
to intervene wherever it wants, for whatever purpose it wants, by whatever means it wants --
and the supporting "trinity" of requirements for the U.S. to maintain a global military presence,
to configure its military forces for global power projection, and to counter threats by relying on
a policy of global interventionism.
Lessons that President Obama is clearly never able to learn. In this sense his book
Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War is an excellent peace of research with sections
that some may find very troubling as it suggest that the USA elite is suicidal and is ready to sacrifice
the county for achieving its delusional goal of world domination.
UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper CXXXVII:
September 27, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
Andrew J. Bacevich, Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (New York: Metropolitan
Books/Henry Holt and Company, August 2010).
The Washington consensus on national security policy that constitutes convention wisdom in American
foreign policy began with the Cold War and survived, remarkably, the Vietnam War and the disintegration
of the Soviet Union, no longer serves American interests, but the failure of the Obama administration
to alter it shows that change can only come from the American people.
Introduction: Slow Learner
The author's faith in orthodoxy began to crumble when visiting the BrandenburgGate in Berlin in
the winter of 1990-1991(1-4). In October 1990 a visit to Jenarevealed the backwardness of EastGermany
(4-6). During his years in the Army, Bacevich had kept down doubts; after the end of the Cold War
he retired, and his loss of status freed him to educate himself (6-10).
"George W.Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition"
(10). "This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom" (11). The past 60 years of American history
shows continuity: a symbiotic "credo" (formulated by Henry Luce in 1941 as the "American Century")
and a "sacred trinity" ("the minimum essentials of international peace and order require the United
States to maintain a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection,
and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism")
together define "the rules to which Washington adheres" (11-15).
In this book, "Washington" refers to the upper echelons of the three branches of government, the
main agencies of the national security state, select think tanks and interest groups, "big banks
and other financial institutions, defense contractors and major corporations, television networks
and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic entities like the Council on
Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government" (15).
This book aspires to
(1) trace the history of the Washington rules;
(2) show who wins, who loses, and who pays under them;
(3) explain how itis perpetuated;
(4) show that the rules have lost what utility they might once have had;
and (5) re-legitimate "disreputable (or 'radical') views to our national security debates" (16).
The American Century is ending, and it "has become essential" to devise an "alternative to the
reining national security paradigm" (16-18).
Ch. 1: The Advent of Semiwar.
As president, Barack Obama's efforts to change the U.S.'s exercise of power "have seldom risen
above the cosmetic"(20). He made clear he subscribes to the "catechism of American statecraft," viz.
that 1) the world must be organized, 2)only the U.S. can do it, 3) this includes dictating principles,
and 4) not to accept this is to be a rogue or a recalcitrant (20-21).
It follows that the U.S. need not conform to the norms it sets for others and that it should maintain
a worldwide network of bases (22-23).
Imagine if China acted in a comparable manner (23-25). The extraordinary American military posture
in the world (25-27). To call this into question puts one beyond the pale(27). James Forrestal called
this a permanent condition of semiwar, requiring high levels of military spending(27-28).
American citizens are not supposed to concern themselves with it (29-30). As to how this came
about, the "standard story line" presents as the result of the decisions of a "succession of presidential
administrations," though this conceals as much as it reveals (30-32).
Eisenhower's 1961 Farewell Address on the "military-industrial complex" was a rare exception (32-34).
More important than presidents were Allen Dulles [1893-1969] and Curtis Lemay [1906-1990] (34-36).
Bacevich attributes the vision for an American-dominated post-World War II world with the CIA
playing an active role to the patrician Dulles (36-43). The development of the U.S. military into
a force capable of dominating the world, especially in the area of strategic weapons, he attributes
to the hard-bitten Curtis LeMay, organizer of the StrategicAir Command (SAC) (43-52). Dulles and
LeMay shared devotion to country, ruthlessness, a certain recklessness (52-55). They exploited American
anxieties and insecurities in yin (Dulles's CIA) yang(LeMay's SAC) fashion, leaving the mainstay
of American military power, the U.S. Army, in a relatively weak position(55-58).
Ch. 2: Illusions of Flexibility and Control
Kennedy kept Dulles and LeMay to signal continuity, but there was a behind-the-scenes struggle
led by Gen. Maxwell Taylor to reassert the role of the U.S. Army by expanding and modernizing conventional
forces that was "simultaneously masked by, and captured in, the phrase flexible response " (60; 59-63).
This agenda purported to aim at "resisting aggression" but really created new options for limited
aggressive warfare by the U.S. (63-66).
McNamara engaged in a struggle with LeMay to control U.S. policy on nuclear weapons, but he embraced
the need for redundancy based on a land-sea-air attack "triad" and LeMay et al. "got most of what
they wanted" (66-72).
In the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs, Kennedy instituted the morally and legally "indefensible"
Operation Mongoose," in effect, a program of state-sponsored terrorism" against Cuba (80; 72-82 [but
Bacevich is silent on its wilder elements, like Operation Northwoods]).
U.S. recklessness caused the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to his credit Kennedy acknowledged this
(albeit privately) and "suspended the tradition" in defusing the crisis (82-87).
Bacevich rejects as a romantic delusion the view that in the aftermath of this crisis Kennedy
turned against the military-industrial complex and the incipient Vietnam war and shows no interest
in Kennedy's assassination itself (87-92).
He sees a parallel between escalation in Vietnam and post-9/11 aggression as "fought to sustain
the Washington consensus" (107; 92-107).
Ch. 3: The Credo Restored.
William Fulbright's The Arrogance of Power (1966) urged a rethinking of the Washington rules (109-15).
A radicalized David Shoup, a Medal of Honor winner and former commandant of the MarineCorps, argued
in "The New American Militarism" (Atlantic, April 1969) that the U.S. had become "a militaristic
and aggressive nation" (120; 115-21). The 1960s Zeitgeist shift made LeMay "an embarrassment,
mocked and vilified rather than venerated," which showed that the Washington rules had incurred serious
damage in Vietnam; the Army was in dire shape (122; 121-27).
Yet astonishingly, in the subsequent decade the "sacred trinity" (cf. 11-15) was "fully restored"
(127). As in post-1918 Germany, élites looked for scapegoats and worked to reverse "the war's apparent
verdict" (128). The Council on Foreign Relations 1976 volume entitled The Vietnam Legacy: The
War, American Society, and the Future of American Foreign Policy is an expression of élite consensus
that the Vietnam war was insignificant, an anomaly (129-34).
By 1980, Democrats and Republicans were again on the same page (134-36).Reagan's election
"sealed the triumph of Vietnam revisionism" (136; 136-38). And the end of the Cold War posed
no challenge to the Washington rules, as Madeleine Albright's pretentious arrogance exemplifies (138-45).
Ch. 4: Reconstituting the Trinity
The period from 1980 to 2000 saw "notretrenchment but reconfiguration" (147). The new mission
was not American defense but facilitation of a new world order (148-50). After 9/11 this pretense
was dropped and "[a]ctivism became the watchword" (150, emphasis in original;150-52). Resorting to
war became "notably more frequent and less controversial" in 1980-2000, finding "its ultimate expression
in the Bush Doctrine of preventive war" (152-53). Americans "passively assented" (154).
Behind the scenes, the shape this took was struggled over by the officer corps and civilian semi-warriors
pushing RMA(Revolution in Military Affairs) (154-64).Initially, U.S. élites held that victory in
Iraq demonstrated that speed could be substituted for mass in military campaigns (165-75). But the
experience of the occupation revealed this to be a fantasy (175-81).
Ch. 5: Counterfeit COIN.
Counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine, replacing "shock and awe" as "the Long War" replaced the "global
war on terror," is the latest doctrinal effort to preserve the Washington rules (182-86). The so-called
"surge" implicitly marked a quest for conditions allowing the U.S. to leave Iraq without admitting
defeat (186-91).Gen. David Petraeus emerged as an advocate (and as salesman, through FM3-24, the
manual he revised and which Bacevich insists is in its emphasis on narrative replete with postmodernism)
of counterinsurgency doctrine as "a substitute [for warfare] suited to the exercise of great power
politics in the twilight of modernity" (197; 191-97). Implicitly, the manual argues that "war as
such . . . no longer worked" (198; 198-202). Petraeus took credit for progress in Iraq that he did
not achieve (202-04).
The general with a Princeton Ph.D. was lionized with a view to normalizing war and lowering expectations,
a view now embraced by the Obama administration(205-11). Proponents of global counterinsurgency (GCOIN)
emerged, like John Nagl and Gen. Benet Sacolick (211-13). Obama embraced the GCOIN version of the
Long War with Gen.Stanley McChrystal to carry it out in Afghanistan, forfeiting the opportunity to
reassess American policy (213-21).
Ch. 6: Cultivating Our Own Garden.
Time-honored no-nonsense American pragmatism has turned into an absurdity-swallowing herd mentality
(222-23). The problem set the U.S. faces has radically changed from the time of the early Cold War,
but the "sacred trinity" (cf. 11-15) that proposes to address them remains essentially the same (224-25).Eisenhower
would have been appalled(225-26). The size of the Pentagon budget, the size of the U.S. nuclear
arsenal, and the extent of overseas military presence cannot be justified(226-27).
These persist because of the interests they serve, not the mission the fulfill, and are likely
to do so for sometime (228-30). Bacevich invokes George Kennan, William Fulbright, and Martin Luther
King Jr. in urging that the U.S. needs a new approach, to model freedom rather than impose it (231-37).
First and foremost, America should save not the world but itself (237).
Bacevich proposes a new trinity:
the purpose of the military is to defend the U.S. and its vital interests;
soldiers' primary duty stations are on American soil;
force should be used only as a last resort and in self-defense, in accord with the Just War
The American public must shoulder its complicity in what has happened, fostered by an all-volunteer
force and debt-financed budgets (241-47). It is tragic that Barack Obama, elected to institute
change, has lacked the courage to alter the Washington rules, instead "choosing to conform"
(247-49). "If change is to come, it must come from the people"(249). The need for education "has
become especially acute" (249; 249-50).
Except from Macmillan
Introduction: Slow Learner Worldly ambition inhibits true learning. Ask me. I know. A young
man in a hurry is nearly uneducable: He knows what he wants and where he's headed; when it comes
to looking back or entertaining heretical thoughts, he has neither the time nor the inclination.
All that counts is that he is going somewhere. Only as ambition wanes does education become a possibility.
My own education did not commence until I had reached middle age. I can fix its start date with
precision: For me, education began in Berlin, on a winter's evening, at the Brandenburg Gate, not
long after the Berlin Wall had fallen. As an officer in the U.S. Army I had spent considerable time
in Germany. Until that moment, however, my family and I had never had occasion to visit this most
famous of German cities, still littered with artifacts of a deeply repellent history. At the end
of a long day of exploration, we found ourselves in what had, until just months before, been the
communist East. It was late and we were hungry, but I insisted on walking the length of the Unter
den Linden, from the River Spree to the gate itself. A cold rain was falling and the pavement glistened.
The buildings lining the avenue, dating from the era of Prussian kings, were dark, dirty, and pitted.
Few people were about. It was hardly a night for sightseeing. For as long as I could remember, the
Brandenburg Gate had been the preeminent symbol of the age and Berlin the epicenter of contemporary
Yet by the time I made it to the once and future German capital, history was already moving on.
The Cold War had abruptly ended. A divided city and a divided nation had re united. For Americans
who had known Berlin only from a distance, the city existed primarily as a metaphor. Pick a date—
1933, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1961, 1989—and Berlin becomes an instructive symbol of power, depravity,
tragedy, defiance, endurance, or vindication. For those inclined to view the past as a chronicle
of parables, the modern history of Berlin offered an abundance of material. The greatest of those
parables emerged from the events of 1933 to 1945, an epic tale of evil ascendant, belatedly confronted,
then heroically overthrown.
A second narrative, woven from events during the intense period immediately following World War
II, saw hopes for peace dashed, yielding bitter antagonism but also great resolve. The ensuing stand-off—the
"long twilight struggle," in John Kennedy's memorable phrase— formed the centerpiece of the third
parable, its central theme stubborn courage in the face of looming peril. Finally came the exhilarating
events of 1989, with freedom ultimately prevailing, not only in Berlin, but throughout Eastern Europe.
.... ... ...
Although commonly depicted as the most advanced and successful component of the Soviet Empire,
East Germany more closely resembled part of the undeveloped world.
... ... ...
Briquettes of soft coal used for home heating made the air all but unbreathable and coated everything
with soot. In the German cities we knew, pastels predominated—houses and apartment blocks painted
pale green, muted salmon, and soft yellow. Here everything was brown and gray
... ... ...
Bit by bit, my worldview started to crumble. That worldview had derived from this conviction:
that American power manifested a commitment to global leadership, and that both together expressed
and affirmed the nation's enduring devotion to its founding ideals. That American power, policies,
and purpose were bound together in a neat, internally consistent package, each element drawing strength
from and reinforcing the others, was something I took as a given. That, during my adult life, a penchant
for interventionism had become a signature of U.S. policy did not—to me, at least—in any way contradict
America's aspirations for peace. Instead, a willingness to expend lives and treasure in distant places
testified to the seriousness of those aspirations. That, during this same period, the United States
had amassed an arsenal of over thirty-one thousand nuclear weapons, some small number of them assigned
to units in which I had served, was not at odds with our belief in the inalienable right to life
and liberty; rather, threats to life and liberty had compelled the United States to acquire such
an arsenal and maintain it in readiness for instant use.2 I was not so naíve as to believe that the
American record had been without flaws. Yet I assured myself that any errors or misjudgments had
been committed in good faith. Furthermore, circumstances permitted little real choice. In Southeast
Asia as in Western Europe, in the Persian Gulf as in the Western Hemisphere, the United States had
simply done what needed doing. Viable alternatives did not exist. To consent to any dilution of American
power would be to forfeit global leadership, thereby putting at risk safety, prosperity, and freedom,
not only our own but also that of our friends and allies.
The choices seemed clear enough. On one side was the status quo: the commitments, customs, and
habits that defined American globalism, implemented by the national security apparatus within which
I functioned as a small cog. On the other side was the prospect of appeasement, isolationism, and
catastrophe. The only responsible course was the one to which every president since Harry Truman
had adhered. For me, the Cold War had played a crucial role in sustaining that worldview.
Given my age, upbringing, and professional background, it could hardly have been otherwise. Although
the great rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union had contained moments of considerable
anxiety — I remember my father, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, stocking our basement with water
and canned goods — it served primarily to clarify, not to frighten.
The Cold War provided a framework that organized and made sense of contemporary history. It offered
a lineup and a scorecard. That there existed bad Germans and good Germans, their Germans and our
Germans, totalitarian Germans and Germans who, like Americans, passionately loved freedom was, for
example, a proposition I accepted as dogma. Seeing the Cold War as a struggle between good and evil
answered many questions, consigned others to the periphery, and rendered still others irrelevant.
Back in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War, more than a few members of my generation had rejected
the conception of the Cold War as a Manichean struggle. Here too, I was admittedly a slow learner.
Yet having kept the faith long after others had lost theirs, the doubts that eventually assailed
me were all the more disorienting. Granted, occasional suspicions had appeared long before Jena and
My own Vietnam experience had generated its share, which I had done my best to suppress. I was,
after all, a serving soldier. Except in the narrowest of terms, the military profession, in those
days at least, did not look kindly on nonconformity. Climbing the ladder of career success required
curbing maverick tendencies. To get ahead, you needed to be a team player. Later, when studying the
history of U.S. foreign relations in graduate school, I was pelted with challenges to orthodoxy,
which I vigorously deflected. When it came to education, graduate school proved a complete waste
of time — a period of intense study devoted to the further accumulation of facts, while I exerted
myself to ensuring that they remained inert.
Now, however, my personal circumstances were changing. Shortly after the passing of the Cold War,
my military career ended. Education thereby became not only a possibility, but also a necessity.
In measured doses, mortification cleanses the soul. It's the perfect antidote for excessive self-regard.
After twenty-three years spent inside the U.S. Army seemingly going somewhere, I now found myself
on the outside going nowhere in particular. In the self-contained and cloistered universe of regimental
life, I had briefly risen to the status of minor spear carrier. The instant I took off my uniform,
that status vanished. I soon came to a proper appreciation of my own insignificance, a salutary lesson
that I ought to have absorbed many years earlier. As I set out on what eventually became a crablike
journey toward a new calling as a teacher and writer—a pilgrimage of sorts—ambition in the commonly
accepted meaning of the term ebbed. This did not happen all at once. Yet gradually, trying to grab
one of life's shiny brass rings ceased being a major preoccupation.
Wealth, power, and celebrity became not aspirations but subjects for critical analysis.
History—especially the familiar narrative of the Cold War—no longer offered answers; instead,
it posed perplexing riddles. Easily the most nagging was this one: How could I have so profoundly
misjudged the reality of what lay on the far side of the Iron Curtain? Had I been insufficiently
attentive? Or was it possible that I had been snookered all along? Contemplating such questions,
while simultaneously witnessing the unfolding of the "long 1990s"— the period bookended by two wars
with Iraq when American vainglory reached impressive new heights—prompted the realization that I
had grossly misinterpreted the threat posed by America's adversaries. Yet that was the lesser half
of the problem. Far worse than misperceiving "them" was the fact that I had misperceived "us." What
I thought I knew best I actually understood least. Here, the need for education appeared especially
George W. Bush's decision to launch Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 pushed me fully into opposition.
Claims that once seemed elementary—above all, claims relating to the essentially benign purposes
of American power— now appeared preposterous. The contradictions that found an ostensibly peace-loving
nation committing itself to a doctrine of preventive war became too great to ignore. The folly and
hubris of the policy makers who heedlessly thrust the nation into an ill-defined and open-ended "global
war on terror" without the foggiest notion of what victory would look like, how it would be won,
and what it might cost approached standards hitherto achieved only by slightly mad German warlords.
During the era of containment, the United States had at least maintained the pretense of a principled
strategy; now, the last vestiges of principle gave way to fantasy and opportunism. With that, the
worldview to which I had adhered as a young adult and carried into middle age dissolved completely.
What should stand in the place of such discarded convictions? Simply inverting the conventional
wisdom, substituting a new Manichean paradigm for the old discredited version—the United States taking
the place of the Soviet Union as the source of the world's evil—would not suffice. Yet arriving at
even an approximation of truth would entail subjecting conventional wisdom, both present and past,
to sustained and searching scrutiny. Cautiously at first but with growing confidence, this I vowed
to do. Doing so meant shedding habits of conformity acquired over decades. All of my adult life I
had been a company man, only dimly aware of the extent to which institutional loyalties induce myopia.
Asserting independence required first recognizing the extent to which I had been socialized to accept
certain things as unimpeachable. Here then were the preliminary steps essential to making education
accessible. Over a period of years, a considerable store of debris had piled up. Now, it all had
to go. Belatedly, I learned that more often than not what passes for conventional wisdom is simply
wrong. Adopting fashionable attitudes to demonstrate one's trustworthiness—the world of politics
is flush with such people hoping thereby to qualify for inclusion in some inner circle—is akin to
engaging in prostitution in exchange for promissory notes. It's not only demeaning but downright
foolhardy. This book aims to take stock of conventional wisdom in its most influential and enduring
form, namely the package of assumptions, habits, and precepts that have defined the tradition of
statecraft to which the United States has adhered since the end of World War II— the era of global
dominance now drawing to a close. This postwar tradition combines two components, each one so deeply
embedded in the American collective consciousness as to have all but disappeared from view.
The first component specifies norms according to which the international order ought to work and
charges the United States with responsibility for enforcing those norms. Call this the American credo.
In the simplest terms, the credo summons the United States—and the United States alone—to lead, save,
liberate, and ultimately transform the world. In a celebrated manifesto issued at the dawn of what
he termed "The American Century," Henry R. Luce made the case for this spacious conception of global
leadership. Writing in Life magazine in early 1941, the influential publisher exhorted his fellow
citizens to "accept wholeheartedly our duty to exert upon the world the full impact of our influence
for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit." Luce thereby captured what remains
even today the credo's essence.3 Luce's concept of an American Century, an age of unquestioned American
global primacy, resonated, especially in Washington. His evocative phrase found a permanent place
in the lexicon of national politics. (Recall that the neoconservatives who, in the 1990s, lobbied
for more militant U.S. policies named their enterprise the Project for a New American Century.) So,
too, did Luce's expansive claim of prerogatives to be exercised by the United States.
Even today, whenever public figures allude to America's responsibility to lead, they signal
their fidelity to this creed. Along with respectful allusions to God and "the troops," adherence
to Luce's credo has become a de facto prerequisite for high office. Question its claims and your
prospects of being heard in the hubbub of national politics become nil. Note, however, that the duty
Luce ascribed to Americans has two components. It is not only up to Americans, he wrote, to choose
the purposes for which they would bring their influence to bear, but to choose the means as well.
Here we confront the second component of the postwar tradition of American statecraft. With regard
to means, that tradition has emphasized activism over example, hard power over soft, and coercion
(often styled "negotiating from a position of strength") over suasion. Above all, the exercise of
global leadership as prescribed by the credo obliges the United States to maintain military capabilities
staggeringly in excess of those required for self-defense. Prior to World War II, Americans by and
large viewed military power and institutions with skepticism, if not outright hostility. In the wake
of World War II, that changed. An affinity for military might emerged as central to the American
identity. By the midpoint of the twentieth century, "the Pentagon" had ceased to be merely a gigantic
Like "Wall Street" at the end of the nineteenth century, it had become Leviathan, its actions
veiled in secrecy, its reach extending around the world. Yet while the concentration of power in
Wall Street had once evoked deep fear and suspicion, Americans by and large saw the concentration
of power in the Pentagon as benign. Most found it reassuring. A people who had long seen standing
armies as a threat to liberty now came to believe that the preservation of liberty required them
to lavish resources on the armed forces. During the Cold War, Americans worried ceaselessly about
falling behind the Russians, even though the Pentagon consistently maintained a position of overall
primacy. Once the Soviet threat disappeared, mere primacy no longer sufficed. With barely a whisper
of national debate, unambiguous and perpetual global military supremacy emerged as an essential predicate
to global leadership. Every great military power has its distinctive signature. For Napoleonic France,
it was the levée en masse— the people in arms animated by the ideals of the Revolution. For Great
Britain in the heyday of empire, it was command of the seas, sustained by a dominant fleet and a
network of far-flung outposts from Gibraltar and the Cape of Good Hope to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Germany from the 1860s to the 1940s (and Israel from 1948 to 1973) took another approach, relying
on a potent blend of tactical flexibility and operational audacity to achieve battlefield superiority.
The abiding signature of American military power since World War II has been of a different order
altogether. The United States has not specialized in any particular type of war. It has not adhered
to a fixed tactical style. No single service or weapon has enjoyed consistent favor. At times, the
armed forces have relied on citizen-soldiers to fill their ranks; at other times, long-service professionals.
Yet an examination of the past sixty years of U.S. military policy and practice does reveal important
elements of continuity. Call them the sacred trinity: an abiding conviction that the minimum essentials
of international peace and order require the United States to maintain a global military presence,
to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats
by relying on a policy of global interventionism. Together, credo and trinity—the one defining purpose,
the other practice—constitute the essence of the way that Washington has attempted to govern and
police the American Century. The relationship between the two is symbiotic. The trinity lends plausibility
to the credo's vast claims. For its part, the credo justifies the trinity's vast requirements and
Together they provide the basis for an enduring consensus that imparts a consistency to U.S. policy
regardless of which political party may hold the upper hand or who may be occupying the White House.
From the era of Harry Truman to the age of Barack Obama, that consensus has remained intact. It defines
the rules to which Washington adheres; it determines the precepts by which Washington rules. As used
here, Washington is less a geographic expression than a set of interlocking institutions headed by
people who, whether acting officially or unofficially, are able to put a thumb on the helm of state.
Washington, in this sense, includes the upper echelons of the executive, legislative, and judicial
branches of the federal government. It encompasses the principal components of the national security
state— the departments of Defense, State, and, more recently, Homeland Security, along with various
agencies comprising the intelligence and federal law enforcement communities. Its ranks extend to
select think tanks and interest groups. Lawyers, lobbyists, fixers, former officials, and retired
military officers who still enjoy access are members in good standing. Yet Washington also reaches
beyond the Beltway to include big banks and other financial institutions, defense contractors and
major corporations, television networks and elite publications like the New York Times, even quasi-academic
entities like the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
With rare exceptions, acceptance of the Washington rules forms a prerequisite for entry into this
world. My purpose in writing this book is fivefold: first, to trace the origins and evolution of
the Washington rules—both the credo that inspires consensus and the trinity in which it finds expression;
second, to subject the resulting consensus to critical inspection, showing who wins and who loses
and also who foots the bill; third, to explain how the Washington rules are perpetuated, with certain
views privileged while others are declared disreputable; fourth, to demonstrate that the rules themselves
have lost whatever utility they may once have possessed, with their implications increasingly pernicious
and their costs increasingly unaffordable; and finally, to argue for readmitting disreputable (or
"radical") views to our national security debate, in effect legitimating alternatives to the status
quo. In effect, my aim is to invite readers to share in the process of education on which I embarked
two decades ago in Berlin. The Washington rules were forged at a moment when American influence and
power were approaching their acme. That moment has now passed. The United States has drawn down the
stores of authority and goodwill it had acquired by 1945. Words uttered in Washington command less
respect than once was the case. Americans can ill afford to indulge any longer in dreams of saving
the world, much less remaking it in our own image. The curtain is now falling on the American Century.
Similarly, the United States no longer possesses sufficient wherewithal to sustain a national security
strategy that relies on global military presence and global power projection to underwrite a policy
of global interventionism. Touted as essential to peace, adherence to that strategy has propelled
the United States into a condition approximating perpetual war, as the military misadventures of
the past decade have demonstrated.
To anyone with eyes to see, the shortcomings inherent in the Washington rules have become plainly
evident. Although those most deeply invested in perpetuating its conventions will insist otherwise,
the tradition to which Washington remains devoted has begun to unravel. Attempting to prolong
its existence might serve Washington's interests, but it will not serve the interests of the American
Devising an alternative to the reigning national security paradigm will pose a daunting challenge—especially
if Americans look to "Washington" for fresh thinking. Yet doing so has become essential. In one sense,
the national security policies to which Washington so insistently adheres express what has long been
the preferred American approach to engaging the world beyond our borders. That approach plays to
America's presumed strong suit—since World War II, and especially since the end of the Cold War,
thought to be military power. In another sense, this reliance on military might creates excuses for
the United States to avoid serious engagement: Confidence in American arms has made it unnecessary
to attend to what others might think or to consider how their aspirations might differ from our own.
In this way, the Washington rules reinforce American provincialism—a national trait for which
the United States continues to pay dearly. The persistence of these rules has also provided
an excuse to avoid serious self-engagement. From this perspective, confidence that the credo and
the trinity will oblige others to accommodate themselves to America's needs or desires — whether
for cheap oil, cheap credit, or cheap consumer goods—has allowed Washington to postpone or ignore
problems demanding attention here at home.
Fixing Iraq or Afghanistan ends up taking precedence over fixing Cleveland and Detroit. Purporting
to support the troops in their crusade to free the world obviates any obligation to assess the implications
of how Americans themselves choose to exercise freedom. When Americans demonstrate a willingness
to engage seriously with others, combined with the courage to engage seriously with themselves, then
real education just might begin.
In their article ‘The American Century’ Has Plunged the World Into Crisis. What Happens Now?"
Conn Hallinan and
Leon Wofsy outlined important
reasons of the inevitability of the dominance of chicken hawks and jingoistic foreign policy in
the USA political establishment:
U.S. foreign policy is dangerous, undemocratic, and deeply out of sync with real global
challenges. Is continuous war inevitable, or can we change course?
There’s something fundamentally wrong with U.S. foreign policy.
Despite glimmers of hope — a tentative
nuclear agreement with Iran, for one, and a long-overdue thaw with Cuba — we’re locked into seemingly
irresolvable conflicts in most regions of the world. They range from tensions with nuclear-armed
powers like Russia and China to actual combat operations in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.
Why? Has a state of perpetual warfare and conflict become inescapable? Or are we in a self-replicating
cycle that reflects an inability — or unwillingness — to see the world as it actually is?
The United States is undergoing a historic transition in our relationship to the rest of the world,
but this is neither acknowledged nor reflected in U.S. foreign policy. We still act as if our enormous
military power, imperial alliances, and self-perceived moral superiority empower us to set the terms
of “world order.”
While this illusion goes back to the end of World War II, it was the end of the Cold War and collapse
of the Soviet Union that signaled the beginning of a self-proclaimed “American Century.” The idea
that the United States had “won” the Cold War and now — as the world’s lone superpower — had the
right or responsibility to order the world’s affairs led to a series of military adventures. It started
with President Bill Clinton’s intervention in the Yugoslav civil war, continued on with George W.
Bush’s disastrous invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and can still be seen in the Obama administration’s
own misadventures in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and beyond.
In each case, Washington chose war as the answer to enormously complex issues, ignoring the profound
consequences for both foreign and domestic policy. Yet the world is very different from the assumptions
that drive this impulsive interventionism.
It’s this disconnect that defines the current crisis.
Acknowledging New Realities
So what is it about the world that requires a change in our outlook? A few observations come to
First, our preoccupation with conflicts in the Middle East — and to a significant extent, our
tensions with Russia in Eastern Europe and with China in East Asia — distract us from the most compelling
crises that threaten the future of humanity. Climate change and environmental perils have to be dealt
with now and demand an unprecedented level of international collective action. That also holds for
the resurgent danger of nuclear war.
Second, superpower military interventionism and far-flung acts of war have only intensified conflict,
terror, and human suffering. There’s no short-term solution — especially by force — to the deep-seated
problems that cause chaos, violence, and misery through much of the world.
Third, while any hope of curbing violence and mitigating the most urgent problems depends on international
cooperation, old and disastrous intrigues over spheres of influence dominate the behavior of the
major powers. Our own relentless pursuit of military advantage on every continent, including through
alliances and proxies like NATO, divides the world into “friend” and “foe” according to our perceived
interests. That inevitably inflames aggressive imperial rivalries and overrides common interests
in the 21st century.
Fourth, while the United States remains a great economic power, economic and political influence
is shifting and giving rise to national and regional centers no longer controlled by U.S.-dominated
global financial structures. Away from Washington, London, and Berlin,
alternative centers of economic
power are taking hold in Beijing, New Delhi, Cape Town, and Brasilia. Independent formations
and alliances are springing up: organizations like the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South
Africa); the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (representing 2.8 billion people); the Union of South
American Nations; the Latin American trade bloc, Mercosur; and others.
Beyond the problems our delusions of grandeur have caused in the wider world, there are enormous
domestic consequences of prolonged war and interventionism. We shell out
over $1 trillion a year in military-related expenses even as our social safety net frays and
our infrastructure crumbles.
Democracy itself has become virtually dysfunctional.
Short Memories and Persistent Delusions
But instead of letting these changing circumstances and our repeated military failures give us
pause, our government continues to act as if the United States has the power to dominate and dictate
to the rest of the world.
The responsibility of those who set us on this course fades into background. Indeed, in light
of the ongoing meltdown in the Middle East, leading presidential candidates are
tapping neoconservatives like
and Paul Wolfowitz
— who still think the answer to any foreign policy quandary is military power — for advice. Our leaders
seem to forget that following this lot’s advice was exactly what caused the meltdown in the first
place. War still excites them, risks and consequences be damned.
While the Obama administration has sought, with limited success, to end the major wars it inherited,
our government makes wide use of killer drones in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and has put troops
back into Iraq to confront the religious fanaticism and brutality of the so-called Islamic State
(ISIS) — itself a direct consequence of the last U.S. invasion of Iraq. Reluctant to find common
ground in the fight against ISIS with designated “foes” like Iran and Syria, Washington clings to
allies like Saudi Arabia, whose leaders are fueling the crisis of religious fanaticism and internecine
barbarity. Elsewhere, the U.S. also continues to give massive support to the Israeli government,
despite its expanding occupation of the West Bank and its horrific recurring assaults on Gaza.
A “war first” policy in places like Iran and Syria is being strongly pushed by neoconservatives
like former Vice President
and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman
Though it’s attempted to distance itself from the neocons, the Obama administration adds to tensions
with planned military realignments like the “Asia
pivot” aimed at building up U.S. military forces in Asia to confront China. It’s also taken a
more aggressive position than even other NATO partners in fostering a new cold war with Russia.
We seem to have missed the point: There is no such thing as an “American Century.” International
order cannot be enforced by a superpower alone. But never mind centuries — if we don’t learn to take
our common interests more seriously than those that divide nations and breed the chronic danger of
war, there may well be no tomorrows.
There’s a powerful ideological delusion that any movement seeking to change U.S. foreign policy
must confront: that U.S. culture is superior to anything else on the planet. Generally going by the
name of “American exceptionalism,” it’s the deeply held belief that American politics (and medicine,
technology, education, and so on) are better than those in other countries. Implicit in the belief
is an evangelical urge to impose American ways of doing things on the rest of the world.
Americans, for instance, believe they have the best education system in the world, when in fact
they’ve dropped from 1st place to 14th place in the number of college graduates.
We’ve made students of higher education the most indebted section of our population, while falling
to 17th place in international education ratings. According to the Organization for Economic
Cooperation, the average American pays more than twice as much for his or her education than those
in the rest of the world.
Health care is an equally compelling example. In the World Health Organization’s ranking of health
care systems in 2000, the United States was ranked 37th. In a more recent
Institute of Medicine report in 2013, the U.S. was ranked the lowest among 17 developed nations
The old anti-war slogan, “It will be a good day when schools get all the money they need and the
Navy has to hold a bake sale to buy an aircraft carrier” is as appropriate today as it was in the
1960s. We prioritize corporate subsidies, tax cuts for the wealthy, and massive military budgets
over education. The result is that Americans are no longer among the most educated in the world.
But challenging the “exceptionalism” myth courts the danger of being labeled “unpatriotic” and
“un-American,” two powerful ideological sanctions that can effectively silence critical or questioning
The fact that Americans consider their culture or ideology “superior” is hardly unique. But no
other country in the world has the same level of economic and military power to enforce its worldview
The United States did not simply support Kosovo’s independence, for example. It bombed Serbia
into de facto acceptance. When the U.S. decided to remove the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Muammar
Gaddafi from power, it just did so. No other country is capable of projecting that kind of force
in regions thousands of miles from its borders.
The U.S. currently accounts for anywhere from 45 to 50 percent of the world’s military spending.
It has hundreds of overseas bases, ranging from huge sprawling affairs like Camp Bond Steel in Kosovo
and unsinkable aircraft carriers around the islands of Okinawa, Wake, Diego Garcia, and Guam to tiny
bases called “lily
pads” of pre-positioned military supplies. The late political scientist Chalmers Johnson
estimated that the U.S. has some 800 bases worldwide, about the same as the British Empire had at
its height in 1895.
The United States has long relied on a military arrow in its diplomatic quiver, and Americans
have been at war almost continuously since the end of World War II. Some of these wars were
major undertakings: Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq (twice), Libya. Some
were quick “smash and grabs” like Panama and Grenada. Others are “shadow wars” waged by Special Forces,
armed drones, and local proxies. If one defines the term “war” as the application of organized
violence, the U.S. has engaged in close to 80 wars since 1945.
The Home Front
The coin of empire comes dear, as the old expression goes.
According Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, the final butcher bill for the Afghanistan
and Iraq wars — including the long-term health problems of veterans — will cost U.S. taxpayers around
$6 trillion. One can add to that the over $1 trillion the U.S. spends each year on defense-related
items. The “official” defense budget of some half a trillion dollars doesn’t include such items as
nuclear weapons, veterans’ benefits or retirement, the CIA and Homeland Security, nor the billions
a year in interest we’ll be paying on the debt from the Afghan-Iraq wars. By 2013 the U.S. had already
paid out $316 billion
The domestic collateral damage from that set of priorities is numbing.
We spend more on our “official” military budget than we do on Medicare, Medicaid, Health and Human
Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development combined. Since 9/11,
spent $70 million an hour on “security” compared to $62 million an hour on all domestic programs.
As military expenditures dwarf funding for deteriorating social programs, they drive economic
inequality. The poor and working millions are left further and further behind. Meanwhile the chronic
problems highlighted at Ferguson, and reflected nationwide, are a horrific reminder of how deeply
racism — the unequal economic and social divide and systemic abuse of black and Latino youth —
continues to plague our homeland.
The state of ceaseless war has deeply damaged our democracy, bringing our surveillance and security
state to levels that many dictators would envy. The
Senate torture report, most
of it still classified, shatters the trust we are asked to place in the secret, unaccountable apparatus
the most extensive Big Brother spy system ever devised.
Bombs and Business
President Calvin Coolidge was said to have remarked that “the business of America is business.”
Unsurprisingly, U.S. corporate interests play a major role in American foreign policy.
Out of the top 10 international arms producers, eight are American. The arms industry spends millions
lobbying Congress and state legislatures, and it defends its turf with an efficiency and vigor that
its products don’t always emulate on the battlefield. The F-35 fighter-bomber, for example — the
most expensive weapons system in U.S. history — will cost $1.5 trillion and doesn’t work. It’s over
budget, dangerous to fly, and riddled with defects. And yet few lawmakers dare challenge the powerful
corporations who have shoved this lemon down our throats.
Corporate interests are woven into the fabric of long-term U.S. strategic interests and goals.
Both combine to try to control energy supplies, command strategic choke points through which oil
and gas supplies transit, and ensure access to markets.
Many of these goals can be achieved with standard diplomacy or economic pressure, but the
U.S. always reserves the right to use military force. The 1979 “Carter
Doctrine” — a document that mirrors the 1823 Monroe Doctrine about American interests in Latin
America — put that strategy in blunt terms vis-à-vis the Middle East:
“An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded
as an assault on the vital interests of the United States, and such an assault will be repelled
by any means necessary, including military force.”
It’s no less true in East Asia. The U.S. will certainly engage in peaceful economic competition
with China. But if push comes to shove, the Third, Fifth, and Seventh fleets will back up the interests
of Washington and its allies — Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Australia.
Trying to change the course of American foreign policy is not only essential for reducing international
tensions. It’s critically important to shift the enormous wealth we expend in war and weapons toward
alleviating growing inequality and social crises at home.
As long as competition for markets and accumulation of capital characterize modern society, nations
will vie for spheres of influence, and antagonistic interests will be a fundamental feature of international
relations. Chauvinist reaction to incursions real or imagined — and the impulse to respond by military
means — is characteristic to some degree of every significant nation-state. Yet the more that some
governments, including our own, become subordinate to oligarchic control, the greater is the peril.
Finding the Common Interest
These, however, are not the only factors that will shape the future.
There is nothing inevitable that rules out a significant change of direction, even if the demise
or transformation of a capitalistic system of greed and exploitation is not at hand. The potential
for change, especially in U.S. foreign policy, resides in how social movements here and abroad respond
to the undeniable reality of: 1) the chronic failure, massive costs, and danger inherent in “American
Century” exceptionalism; and 2) the urgency of international efforts to respond to climate change.
There is, as well, the necessity to respond to health and natural disasters aggravated by poverty,
to rising messianic violence, and above all, to prevent a descent into war. This includes not only
the danger of a clash between the major nuclear powers, but between regional powers. A nuclear exchange
between Pakistan and India, for example, would affect the whole world.
Without underestimating the self-interest of forces that thrive on gambling with the future of
humanity, historic experience and current reality elevate a powerful common interest in peace and
survival. The need to change course is not something that can be recognized on only one side of an
ideological divide. Nor does that recognition depend on national, ethnic, or religious identity.
Rather, it demands acknowledging the enormous cost of plunging ahead as everything falls apart around
After the latest U.S. midterm elections, the political outlook is certainly bleak. But experience
shows that elections, important as they are, are not necessarily indicators of when and how significant
change can come about in matters of policy. On issues of civil rights and social equality, advances
have occurred because a dedicated and persistent minority movement helped change public opinion in
a way the political establishment could not defy.
The Vietnam War, for example, came to an end, despite the stubbornness of Democratic and Republican
administrations, when a stalemate on the battlefield and growing international and domestic opposition
could no longer be denied. Significant changes can come about even as the basic character of society
is retained. Massive resistance and rejection of colonialism caused the British Empire and other
colonial powers to adjust to a new reality after World War II. McCarthyism was eventually defeated
in the United States. President Nixon was forced to resign. The use of landmines and cluster bombs
has been greatly restricted because of the opposition of a small band of activists whose initial
efforts were labeled “quixotic.”
There are diverse and growing political currents in our country that see the folly and danger
of the course we’re on. Many Republicans, Democrats, independents, and libertarians — and much of
the public — are beginning to say “enough” to war and military intervention all over the globe, and
the folly of basing foreign policy on dividing countries into “friend or foe.”
This is not to be Pollyannaish about anti-war sentiment, or how quickly people can be stampeded
into supporting the use of force. In early 2014, some 57 percent of Americans
that “over-reliance on military force creates more hatred leading to increased terrorism.” Only 37
percent believed military force was the way to go. But once the hysteria around the Islamic State
numbers shifted to pretty much an even split: 47 percent supported the use of military force,
46 percent opposed it.
It will always be necessary in each new crisis to counter those who mislead and browbeat the public
into acceptance of another military intervention. But in spite of the current hysterics about ISIS,
disillusionment in war as an answer is probably greater now among Americans and worldwide than it
has ever been. That sentiment may prove strong enough to produce a shift away from perpetual war,
a shift toward some modesty and common-sense realism in U.S. foreign policy.
Making Space for the Unexpected
Given that there is a need for a new approach, how can American foreign policy be changed?
Foremost, there is the need for a real debate on the thrust of a U.S. foreign policy that chooses
negotiation, diplomacy, and international cooperation over the use of force.
However, as we approach another presidential election, there is as yet no strong voice among the
candidates to challenge U.S. foreign policy. Fear and questionable political calculation keep even
most progressive politicians from daring to dissent as the crisis of foreign policy lurches further
into perpetual militarism and war. That silence of political acquiescence has to be broken.
Nor is it a matter of concern only on the left. There are many Americans — right, left, or neither
— who sense the futility of the course we’re on. These voices have to be represented or the election
process will be even more of a sham than we’ve recently experienced.
One can’t predict just what initiatives may take hold, but the recent U.S.-China climate agreement
suggests that necessity can override significant obstacles. That accord is an important step forward,
although a limited bilateral pact
substitute for an essential international climate treaty. There is a glimmer of hope also in
the U.S.-Russian joint action that
chemical weapons from Syria, and in negotiations with Iran, which continue despite
from U.S. hawks and the Israeli government. More recently, there is Obama’s bold move — long overdue
— to restore diplomatic
relations with Cuba. Despite shifts in political fortunes, the unexpected can happen if there
is a need and strong enough pressure to create an opportunity.
We do not claim to have ready-made solutions to the worsening crisis in international relations.
We are certain that there is much we’ve missed or underestimated. But if readers agree that U.S.
foreign policy has a national and global impact, and that it is not carried out in the interests
of the majority of the world’s people, including our own, then we ask you to join this conversation.
If we are to expand the ability of the people to influence foreign policy, we need to defend democracy,
and encourage dissent and alternative ideas. The threats to the world and to ourselves are so great
that finding common ground trumps any particular interest. We also know that we won’t all agree with
each other, and we believe that is as it should be. There are multiple paths to the future. No coalition
around changing foreign policy will be successful if it tells people to conform to any one pattern
of political action.
So how does the call for changing course translate to something politically viable, and how do
we consider the problem of power?
The power to make significant changes in policy ranges from the persistence of peace activists
to the potential influence of the general public. In some circumstances, it becomes possible — as
well as necessary — to make significant changes in the power structure itself.
Greece comes to mind. Greek left organizations came together to form Syriza, the political party
that was successfully elected to power
on a platform of ending austerity. Spain’s anti-austerity Podemos Party — now the number-two party
in the country — came out of massive demonstrations in 2011 and was organized from the grassroots
up. We do not argue one approach over the over, but the experiences in both countries demonstrate
that there are multiple paths to generating change.
Certainly progressives and leftists grapple with the problems of power. But progress on issues,
particularly in matters like war and peace and climate change, shouldn’t be conceived of as dependent
on first achieving general solutions to the problems of society, however desirable.
... ... ...
Conn Hallinan is a journalist and a columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus. His writings appear
online at Dispatches From
the Edge. Leon Wofsy is a retired biology professor and long-time political activist. His comments
on current affairs appear online at Leon’s
"...These rules have pushed the United States to a state of perpetual war. With enemies supposedly
everywhere, the pursuit of security has become open-ended. "
"...One is reminded of
who, in 1630, told the future residents of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We shall be as a City upon a Hill,
the eyes of all people are upon us." Over subsequent decades, Winthrop's sermon became the American
mission, fired by self-righteousness and fueled by self-confidence. From that mission emerged the idea
of Manifest Destiny -- American ideals should spread across the continent and around the globe. Along
the way, Americans lost sight of what Winthrop actually meant. His words were both inspiration and warning:
Aspire to greatness, but remain honorable. Power lies in virtue. Winthrop envisaged a shining beacon,
worthy of emulation. He saw no need to come down from the hill and ram ideals down the throats of the
"...Back in 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation
in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation
is so dire, why not withdraw? Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how "the question hovered
for a moment, then died away." It was "a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored assumptions
and entrenched convictions." The Washington rules kept the United States on a steady course toward disaster.
"...Barack Obama once promised that change was coming, but then quickly adhered to the old rules
by escalating an unwinnable and certainly unaffordable war in Afghanistan. Failures, as Steffens hoped,
have been illuminating, but after each flash of light, darkness has prevailed. "
"We need some great failures," the muckraking journalist
wrote in his autobiography. "Especially we ever-successful Americans -- conscious, intelligent, illuminating
failures." What Steffens meant was that a people confident in righteousness need occasionally to
be reminded of their fallibility. The past 50 years have produced failures aplenty -- the Bay of
Pigs, Vietnam and Iraq among them. Unfortunately, as Andrew Bacevich and John Dower demonstrate,
the light of failure has not penetrated the darkness of delusion. As a result, wars provide a repeating
rhythm of folly.
Rules" and "Cultures
of War" are two excellent books made better by the coincidence of their publication. In complementary
fashion, they provide a convincing critique of America's conduct of war since 1941. Steffens would
have liked these books, specifically for the way they use past failures to explain the provenance
of our current predicament.
Read "Cultures of War" first. It's not an easy book, but it is consistently perceptive. Dower
examines Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, Sept. 11 and the second Iraq War, drawing disconcerting linkages.
Pearl Harbor and Iraq, he feels, demonstrate how otherwise intelligent leaders are drawn toward
strategic imbecility. Both attacks were brilliantly executed in the short term, but neither
paid sufficient attention to the long-term problem of winning a war. More controversially, Dower
pairs Hiroshima with Sept. 11, both acts of terror born of moral certitude. Osama bin Laden and Harry
Truman justified wanton killing with essentially the same Manichean rhetoric. Motives, context and
scale might have been different; methods were not. For both leaders, the ability to separate good
from evil made killing easy.
In 1941, Americans drew comfort from the stereotype of the irrational Oriental. They assumed that
the Japanese would be easily defeated because they were illogical -- as their attack upon Pearl Harbor
proved. That attack was indeed illogical (given the impossibility of defeating the United States
in a protracted war), but it was not peculiarly Japanese. As Dower reveals, the wishful thinking,
delusion and herd behavior within the court of Emperor Hirohito was a symptom of war, not ethnicity.
The same deficiencies, in 2003, convinced those in the Oval Office that invading Iraq was a good
Since the culture of war encourages patterned behavior, folly proliferates. This is the essence
of the Washington rules that Bacevich elucidates. The rules dictate that protection of the American
way of life necessitates a global military presence and a willingness to intervene anywhere. Power
and violence are cleansed by virtue: Because America is "good," her actions are always benign.
These rules have pushed the United States to a state of perpetual war. With enemies supposedly
everywhere, the pursuit of security has become open-ended.
The alternative, according to Bacevich, is not isolationism or appeasement, two politically loaded
words frequently used to pummel those who object to Washington's behavior. He advocates, instead,
a more level-headed assessment of danger, advice all the more cogent since it comes from a former
soldier. Iraq and Afghanistan did not threaten America; in fact, those countries and the world have
become more dangerous because of heavy-handed American intervention. Nor does North Korea pose a
threat. Nor did Vietnam.
One is reminded of
who, in 1630, told the future residents of Massachusetts Bay Colony: "We shall be as a City upon
a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us." Over subsequent decades, Winthrop's sermon became the
American mission, fired by self-righteousness and fueled by self-confidence. From that mission emerged
the idea of Manifest Destiny -- American ideals should spread across the continent and around the
globe. Along the way, Americans lost sight of what Winthrop actually meant. His words were both inspiration
and warning: Aspire to greatness, but remain honorable. Power lies in virtue. Winthrop envisaged
a shining beacon, worthy of emulation. He saw no need to come down from the hill and ram ideals down
the throats of the recalcitrant.
The power of virtue is Bacevich's most profound message. Instead of trying to fix Afghanistan's
Helmand Province, he
insists, Americans should fix Detroit and Cleveland. Instead of attempting to export notions of freedom
and democracy to nations that lack experience of either, America should demonstrate, by her actions,
that she is still a free, democratic and humane nation. Her real strength lies in her liberal tradition,
not in her ability to kill.
Back in 1963, the Kennedy administration was faced with a steadily disintegrating situation
in Vietnam. At a turbulent cabinet meeting, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked: If the situation
is so dire, why not withdraw? Arthur Schlesinger, present at the meeting, noted how "the question
hovered for a moment, then died away." It was "a hopelessly alien thought in a field of unexplored
assumptions and entrenched convictions." The Washington rules kept the United States on a steady
course toward disaster.
Those unexplored assumptions and entrenched convictions have now pushed the United States
into a new quagmire. Despite that predicament, both Dower and Bacevich try to end positively. "If
change is to come, it must come from the people," argues Bacevich. Dower agrees. But these feeble
attempts at optimism are the least convincing parts of two otherwise brilliant books. Barack Obama
once promised that change was coming, but then quickly adhered to the old rules by escalating an
unwinnable and certainly unaffordable war in Afghanistan. Failures, as Steffens hoped, have been
illuminating, but after each flash of light, darkness has prevailed.
Gerard De Groot is a professor of history at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland
and author of "The Bomb: A Life."
For his first 40 years, Andrew Bacevich lived the conventional
life of an army officer. In the military world where success depended on conformity, he followed
the rules and “took comfort in orthodoxy…[finding] assurance in conventional wisdom.” Comfort, that
is, until he had a chance to peer behind the Iron Curtain, and was shocked to find East Germany more
third-world shambles than first-rate threat.
That experience, combined with the introspection that followed his subsequent retirement from
the army, led Bacevich to reevaluate the relationship between truth and power. After having taken
his superiors at their word for decades, he slowly came to understand “that authentic truth is never
simple and that any version of truth handed down from on high…is inherently suspect. The exercise
of power necessarily involves manipulation and is antithetical to candor.”
America’s Path to Permanent War is Bacevich’s fourth book on the subject of American exercise
of power. This time, he takes up the question of the political calculations that have produced the
basic tenets of American foreign policy since the beginning of the Cold War, examining how and why
they came to exist and to survive all challenges to their supremacy.
Bacevich describes two components that define U.S. foreign policy.
The first is what he dubs the “American credo,” which calls on “the United States — and the
United States alone — to lead save, liberate, and ultimately transform the world.”
Second is what he calls the “sacred trinity,” which requires that the United States “maintain
a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projections,
and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.”
These rules, Bacevich argues, are no longer vital to the existence of the United States, and have
led to actions that threaten to break the army and bankrupt the treasury. Rather, they are kept in
place by individuals who derive personal benefit from their continuance. Bacevich does not hesitate
to blame a Washington class that “clings to its credo and trinity not out of necessity, but out of
parochial self-interest laced with inertia.”
This is a theme that runs throughout the book: that those who make the rules also benefit from
them, and thus their demands should always be regarded skeptically.
While abstaining from questioning the patriotism of past leaders, Bacevich is not reluctant to
point out how many policies that were later widely embraced were originally trumpeted by ambitious
men who had as much to gain personally by their acceptance as did the country:
General Curtis LeMay, who built a massive nuclear arsenal as head of Strategic Air
Allen Dulles, who backed coups across the globe as CIA director;
General Maxwell Taylor, who rode the idea of “flexible response” from retirement to
the position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The story of foreign policy, then, is not so much different than any government bureaucracy
through which vast sums of money flow, and is driven as much by officials jockeying for status than
by genuine concern for policy outcomes. Whether in disputes between the Army and the Air Force
or the Pentagon and the White House, and whether over money or over purpose, different sectors of
the national security establishment propose and promote new doctrines that necessitate increasing
their budgets and enhancing their importance.
But Bacevich is not content to only blame leaders. In contrast to George Washington’s ideal of
the citizen who would consider it his duty to actively serve his country, Bacevich finds today’s
Americans “greedy and gullible,” pursuing personal gain in the stead of collective benefit. Any solution,
he argues, must come from an awakened people who demand change from the people they put in office.
As for what that change should look like, Bacevich proposes a new credo and trinity. As a new
mission statement, he offers: “America’s purpose is to be America, striving to fulfill the aspirations
expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as reinterpreted with the passage
of time and in light of hard-earned experience.”
As a new trinity, he suggests that “the purpose of the U.S, military is not to combat evil or
remake the world but to defend the United States and its most vital interests…the primary duty station
of the American soldier is in America…consistent with the Just War tradition, the United States should
employ force only as a last resort and only in self defense.”
Bacevich writes in the short, clipped style with which he also speaks, presumably a legacy of
his West Point education and decades in the military. His style allows for easy comprehension and
neat packaging of his ideas, and readers will not get bogged down in flowery language.
Parts of Bacevich’s thinking require further scrutiny and remind readers of his self-identification
as a conservative (lowercase “c”). Economically, he is no fan of stimulus spending, and socially
he places blame on individual failings and personal flaws, choosing not to mention an unequal economic
system that leaves tens of millions of Americans with barely the resources to take care of their
families, much less have time to be informed and active citizens.
In fact, the emphasis throughout the book is on the fact that expansionism, at this particular
moment, is not wrong but impossible. Bacevich is, after all, a realist when it comes to international
relations theory, and though he happens to agree with liberal anti-imperials on many issues, it is
often for different reasons.
However, debates over theory can wait for when the republic is in less immediate peril. This is
the second work Bacevich has published under the auspices of the American Empire Project, a book
series documenting America’s imperial adventures and their disastrous consequences. The contribution
of conservative authors to this task is vital. They remind us that opposition to imperialism is hardly
just a liberal cause, and in fact for much of American history was actually a rallying point for
conservatives across the country.
Washington Rules is valuable for putting in print what those inside the military establishment
don’t dare admit: that, even aside from moral concerns, U.S. international strategy is neither successful
nor sustainable and maintained more by lies than by actual results. Bacevich can truly be said to
be a realist in that he understand that leaders, when faced with the choice of admitting failure
or lying, will almost always choose the latter.
Andrew Feldman is an intern with Foreign Policy In Focus.
This is the bluntest, toughest, most scathing critique of American imperialism as it has become
totally unmoored after the demise of the Soviet Communist empire and taken to a new level by the
Bush administration. Even the brevity of this book - 182 pages - gives it a particular wallop since
every page "concentrates the mind".
In the event a reader knows of the prophetic work of the American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr,
you will further appreciate this book. Bacevich is a Niebuhr scholar and this book essentially channels
Niebuhr's prophetic warnings from his 1952 book, "The Irony of American History". The latter has
just been reissued by University of Chicago Press thanks to Andrew Bacevich who also contributed
In essence, American idealism as particularly reflected in Bush's illusory goal to "rid the world
of evil" and to bring freedom and democracy to the Middle East or wherever people are being tyrannized,
is doomed to failure by the tides of history. Niebuhr warned against this and Bacevich updates the
history from the Cold War to the present. Now our problems have reached crisis proportions and Bacevich
focuses on the three essential elements of the crisis: American profligacy; the political debasing
of government; and the crisis in the military.
What renders Bacevich's critique particularly stinging, aside from the historical context he gives
it (Bush has simply taken an enduring American exceptionalism to a new level), is that he lays these
problems on the doorstep of American citizens. It is we who have elected the governments that have
driven us toward near collapse. It is we who have participated willingly in the consumption frenzy
in which both individual citizens and the government live beyond their means. Credit card debt is
undermining both government and citizenry.
This pathway is unsustainable and this book serves up a direct and meaningful warning to this
effect. Niebuhrian "realism" sees through the illusions that fuel our own individual behavior and
that of our government. There are limits to American power and limits to our own individual living
standards and, of course, there are limits to what the globe can sustain as is becoming evident from
American exceptionalism is coming to an end and it will be painful for both individual citizens
and our democracy and government to get beyond it. But we have no choice. Things will get worse before
they get better. Bacevich suggests some of the basic ways that we need to go to reverse the path
to folly. He holds out no illusions that one political party or the other, one presidential candidate
or the other, has the will or the leadership qualities to change directions. It is up to American
citizens to demand different policies as well as to govern our own appetites.
While this is a sobering book, it is not warning of doomsday. Our worst problems are essentially
of our own making and we can begin to unmake them. But we first have to come to terms with our own
exceptionalism. We cannot manage history and there are no real global problems that can be solved
by military means, or certainly not by military means alone.
By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 24, 2008
This is one of those books you might find yourself sitting down to read chapter and verse over
and over again, only because the writing is so intelligent and so profound. "The Limits of Power:
The End of American Exceptionalism," by Andrew Bacevich, is one of those works that will enthrall
the reader with its insight and analysis.
According to the author, the US has reached its limit to project its power in the world. His rationale
for this conclusion are three central crises we now face: economic and cultural, political, and military,
all of which are our own making.
The first crisis is one of profligacy. Americans want more, whether it is wealth, credit, markets,
or oil, without consideration for cost or how these things are acquired. There is complete apathy
in what policies are being produced as long as they provide plenty.
The political crisis was born of our mobilization in World War II to meet the threat of tyranny,
and from the Cold War to meet the challenge of the Soviet Union. Both gave rise to unprecedented
presidential power, an ineffectual Congress, and a disastrous foreign policy. Bacevich contends
that our legislature no longer serves their constituents or the common good "but themselves through
gerrymandering, doling out prodigious amounts of political pork, seeing to the protection of certain
vested interests" with the paramount concern of being re-elected. Our presidents have been willing
accomplices in keeping the American dream or greed alive by using our military as part of a coercive
diplomatic tool to feed and fuel the first crisis.
Bacevich traces the end of the republic to the start of both wars, which gave rise to the "ideology
of national security." The mission of the new Department of Defense is not defense, but to project
power globally where we will view any nation as a threat that tries to match us in military might.
At the same time, the largest intelligence agencies in the world are created to afford us more security,
but after seventy years are unable to defend our cities and buildings in the US while it worries
about intrigues worldwide. Competition and rivalry lead to a lack of cooperation, intelligence, and
security when it was needed most.
The third crisis is our military which has been employed to satisfy the neuroses of the first
and second crises. The author puts much of the blame squarely at the feet of inept military leadership,
which he believes has confused strategy with operations. Content with the resilience of the American
fighting man or woman, he is scathing in his critique of their leadership finding them "guilty of
flagrant professional malpractice, if not outright fraud." He illustrates how improvised explosive
devices that cost no more than a pizza have checked a military that is designed for speed and maneuver--that
was considered invincible.
Andrew Bacevich contends that nothing will change as long as Americans are told to go to Disney
World instead of making sacrifices, as long as the same one half percent of our population continue
to populate the military that the president sees as his personal army, as long as an apathetic public
and an ineffectual Congress continue to make periodic, grand gestures of curbing presidential power,
the United States will have reached the limits of its power and exceptionalism.
This book profoundly moved me, and I was impressed by the insight that Professor Bacevich could
bring in such few pages. Passages of this book should be plastered in the halls and offices of Congress,
as well as the West Wing.
This book really stands out as a jewel in a sea of mediocre publications by radio and TV personalities
who think they know what they are talking about when it comes to economics or geopolitics. The difference
is that Andrew Bacevich does
Mayer, Jane, "The Dark Side, The Inside Story How The War on Terror Turned into a War on America's
Schlesinger, Arthur, "War and the American Presidency."
Mann, Thomas & Ornstein, Norman, "The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How
to Get It Back on Track."
Zinni, Tony (Gen. Ret.), "The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and
Niebuhr, Reinhold, "The Irony of American History."
For your convenience some of them which I judge to be the most insightful are reproduced below:
Andrew J. Bacevich's The New American Militarism: How Americans Are seduced By War,
Oxford University Press, New York, 2005, ISBN 0-19-517338-4, is the most coherent analysis of how
America has come to its present situation in the world that I have ever read. Bacevich, Professor
of International Relations and Director of the Center for International Relations at Boston University,
is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and holds a Ph.D. in history from Princeton.
And he is retired military officer. This background makes him almost uniquely qualified to comment
on the subject.
Bacevich admits to an outlook of moderate conservatism. But in ascribing fault for our plight
to virtually every administration since W.W. II, he is even handed and clear eyed. Since he served
in the military, he understands the natural bureaucratic instincts of the best of the officer corps
and is not blinded by the almost messianic status that they have achieved in the recent past.
His broad brush includes the classic period, the American Revolution - especially the impact of
George Washington, but he moves quickly to the influence of Woodrow Wilson and his direct descendants
of our time, the Neoconservatives. The narrative accelerates and becomes relevant for us in the depths
of the despair of Vietnam. At that juncture, neocon intellectuals awakened to the horror that without
a new day for our military and foreign policy, the future of America would be at stake. At almost
the same time, Evangelical Christians abandoned their traditional role in society and came to views
not dissimilar to the neocons. America had to get back on track to both power and goodness. The results
of Vietnam on American culture, society, and - especially - values were abhorrent to both these groups.
The perfect man to idealize and mythologize America's road back was Ronald Reagan. Again, Bacevich
does not shrink from seeing through the surreal qualities brought to the Oval Office by Reagan to
the realities beneath them. The Great Communicator transformed the Vietnam experience into an abandonment
of American ideals and reacquainted America with those who fought that horrible war. Pop culture
of the period, including motion pictures such as Top Gun and best selling novels by many, including
Tom Clancy completely rehabilitated the image of the military.
The author describes how Evangelical leaders came to find common cause with the neocons and provided
the political muscle for Reagan and his successors of both parties to discover that the projection
of military might become a reason for being for America as the last century closed.
One of his major points is that the all volunteer force that resulted from the Vietnam experience
has been divorced from American life and that sending this force of ghosts into battle has little
impact on our collective psyche. This, too, fit in with the intellectual throw weight of the neocons
and the political power of the Evangelicals.
Separate from but related to the neocons, Bacevich describes the loss of strategic input by the
military in favor of a new priesthood of intellectual elites from institutions such as the RAND Corporation,
The University of Chicago and many others. It was these high priests who saw the potential that technology
provided for changing the nature of war itself and how American power might be projected with `smart
weapons' that could be the equivalent of the nuclear force that could never be used.
So it was that when the war we are now embroiled in across the globe - which has its antecedents
back more than twenty years - all of these forces weighed heavily on the military leaders to start
using the force we'd bought them. The famed question by Secretary of State Madeline Albright to General
Colin Powell: "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if
we can't use it?" had to have an answer and the skirmishes and wars since tended to provide it.
Bacevich clearly links our present predicaments both at home and abroad to the ever greater need
for natural resources, especially oil from the Persian Gulf. He demolishes all of the reasons for
our bellicosity based on ideals and links it directly to our insatiable appetite for oil and economic
expansion. Naturally, like thousands of writers before him, he points out the need for a national
energy policy based on more effective use of resources and alternative means of production.
It is in his prescriptions that the book tends to drift. The Congress must do its constitutionally
mandated jobs or be thrown out by the people. Some of his ideas on military education are creative
and might well close the gap between the officer corps and civilians that he points to as a great
But it is the clearly written analysis that makes this book shine. It should be a must read for
those who wonder how we got to Iraq and where we might be heading as a society. The nation is in
grave danger, and this is a book that that shows how we got to this juncture. Where we go from here
is up to us. If we continue as we are, our options may narrow and be provided by others.
READ THIS BOOK
===This review is from: The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Hardcover)
In his book The New American Militarism (2005), Andrew Bacevich desacralizes our idolatrous infatuation
with military might, but in a way that avoids the partisan cant of both the left and the right that
belies so much discourse today. Bacevich's personal experiences and professional expertise lend his
book an air of authenticity that I found compelling. A veteran of Vietnam and subsequently a career
officer, a graduate of West Point and later Princeton where he earned a PhD in history, director
of Boston University's Center for International Relations, he describes himself as a cultural conservative
who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but who also is a person whose "disenchantment with
what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the present Bush administration and its groupies,
is just about absolute." Finally, he identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Idolizing
militarism, Bacevich insists, is far more complex, broader and deeper than scape-goating either political
party, accusing people of malicious intent or dishonorable motives, demonizing ideological fanatics
as conspirators, or replacing a given administration. Not merely the state or the government, but
society at large, is enthralled with all things military.
Our military idolatry, Bacevich believes, is now so comprehensive and beguiling that it "pervades
our national consciousness and perverts our national policies." We have normalized war, romanticized
military life that formally was deemed degrading and inhuman, measured our national greatness in
terms of military superiority, and harbor naive, unlimited expectations about how waging war, long
considered a tragic last resort that signaled failure, can further our national self-interests. Utilizing
a "military metaphysic" to justify our misguided ambitions to recreate the world in our own image,
with ideals that we imagine are universal, has taken about thirty years to emerge in its present
form. It is this marriage between utopians ends and military means that Bacevich wants to annul.
How have we come to idolize military might with such uncritical devotion? He likens it to pollution:
"the perhaps unintended, but foreseeable by-product of prior choices and decisions made without taking
fully into account the full range of costs likely to be incurred" (p. 206). In successive chapters
he analyzes six elements of this toxic condition that combined in an incremental and cumulative fashion.
After the humiliation of Vietnam, an "unmitigated disaster" in his view, the military set
about to rehabilitate and reinvent itself, both in image and substance. With the All Volunteer
Force, we moved from a military comprised of citizen-soldiers that were broadly representative
of all society to a professional warrior caste that by design isolated itself from broader society
and that by default employed a disproportionate percentage of enlistees from the lowest socio-economic
class. War-making was thus done for us, by a few of us, not by all of us.
Second, the rise of the neo-conservative movement embraced American Exceptionalism as our
national end and superior coercive force as the means to franchise it around the world.
Myth-making about warfare sentimentalized, sanitized and fictionalized war. The film Top Gun
is only one example of "a glittering new image of warfare."
Fourth, without the wholehearted complicity of conservative evangelicalism, militarism would
have been "inconceivable," a tragic irony when you consider that the most "Christian" nation on
earth did far less to question this trend than many ostensibly "secular" nations.
Fifth, during the years of nuclear proliferation and the fears of mutually assured destruction,
a "priesthood" of elite defense analysts pushed for what became known as the Revolution in Military
Affairs (RMA). RMA pushed the idea of "limited" and more humane war using game theory models and
technological advances with euphemisms like "clean" and "smart" bombs. But here too our "exuberance
created expectations that became increasingly uncoupled from reality," as the current Iraq debacle
Finally, despite knowing full well that dependence upon Arab oil made us vulnerable to the
geo-political maelstroms of that region, we have continued to treat the Persian Gulf as a cheap
gas station. How to insure our Arab oil supply, protect Saudi Arabia, and serve as Israel's most
important protector has always constituted a squaring of the circle. Sordid and expedient self
interest, our "pursuit of happiness ever more expansively defined," was only later joined by more
lofty rhetoric about exporting universal ideals like democracy and free markets, or, rather, the
latter have only been a (misguided) means to secure the former.
Bacevich opens and closes with quotes from our Founding Fathers. In 1795, James Madison warned
that "of all the enemies of public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises
and develops the germ of every other." Similarly, late in his life George Washington warned the country
of "those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious
to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hotile to republican liberty."
Relevant and Objective, January 3, 2007
Author Andrew Bacevich has superb credentials on military, diplomatic, and historical issues.
A Vietnam Veteran, 25+ year career in the Army and now professor of International Relations, Bacevich
is one of the few that has the experience *and* knowledge to dissect what has been occurring in
American socio-political culture and society for the last several decades. Bacevich notes the
current focus on the military to solve the world's problems and to promote America's interests
is not the sole work of a President and Congress, but the combination of culture, mentality, political,
and now primarily economic, interests. This book has tons of footnoting, which allows you to delve
further into these issues on your own.
The author astutely reinforces the fact that the Militarist Mentality won't change, regardless
of which political party is in control of the Executive and Houses of Congress in the United States.
Here only some examples out of many:
Entry of the U.S. military into the Middle East:
THE CARTER DOCTRINE:
The Carter Doctrine was prescribed at the State of the Union Address in 1980.
Another civilian prescription utilizing the military as medicine to alleviate and even cure, political
symptoms. This Doctrine began a new era of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, specifically using
the American military to enforce its economic interests and lifestyle dependence on oil. The Carter Doctrine was a major shift in American foreign policy in the Middle East. It specifically
stated that use of the military can and will be used to enforce U.S. economic interests.
At his State of the Union Address, Carter stated:
"Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be
declared as an assault on the vital interest of the United States of America, and such an assault
will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force" (p. 181).
Worth noting is that the Carter Doctrine was declared during the Cold War, when there was a
adversary to check U.S interests. Today, that rival is gone.
Some argue the so-called 'War on Terror' is merely a historical continuation of American
foreign policy interests in using its military to promote its geo-political and economic interests.
WAR AS SPECTATOR SPORT:
War has been, and now is presented as a spectacle. No different than a spectator sport.
Live reports, video display, and laymen presentations of new technology, usually via video, to
the civilian public at press conferences.
One example of many are current U.S. newspaper reports: they don't use the term "wounded" when
reporting about American soldiers in Iraq. They use the euphemistic term, "injured." "17 Iraqis
'wounded' and 3 American soldiers 'injured.'" Similar to a football game. Slogans such as "Shock
and Awe, Support the Troops," and deck of cards identifying the most wanted Baath party members.
"Freedom is not Free." Many American military personel (and civilians) have internalized this
Using Hollywood To Enhance "Honor" and perpetuate myths:
Bacevich carefully details the planned and choreographed footage of George W. Bush dressed
as a fighter pilot on the USS Abraham Lincoln. This was intentionally and specifically lifted
from the movie "Top Gun." Immediately after this planned footage, an action figure doll was created
and sold for $39.99. It was called the "Elite Force Aviator: George W. Bush: U.S. President and
Naval Aviator" (p. 31).
Well-dressed, handsome, and beautiful anchors report about the war in such series as "The Week
in War." More simulation of the spectator sport of war in our pop culture. One segment in the
"Week in War program" is called "The Fallen," where the photo of a soldier, his name, age, and
hometown are presented, and the date of his death. Then the cameramen go to his family's home.
Often a family picture of the "fallen soldier" is shown. Then, an interview with the somber, and
at times tearful family in their living room, sitting on their couch: "He was a good kid. He always
wanted to help people."
The "Fallen" is related to a concept that the Germans began about 300 years ago. This concept
is called the "Cult of the Fallen Soldier." When a soldier is killed in war he is elevated to
a higher status because of his death. He is placed on a pedestal, because somehow, and in some
enigmatic way, he "sacrificed" for a noble cause that is often abstract or confusing to the public.
To further simplify the confusion and sullenness resulting from the soldier's death, religion
is often injected into the deceased soldiers elevation on a pedestal. You can see this Cult
of the Fallen Soldier in Arlington, Virgina today, and in many military cemeteries around the
GLORIFICATION OF THE MILITARY THROUGH MOVIES:
Bacevich notes moves and their role. "Top Gun" had a tremendous impact in many ways. Pop culture,
and Navy recruiting sky-rocketing. As for the flurry of "Vietnam war movies," again the noble
concepts of "courage, honor, fear, triumph" are latently and explicitly reinforced to the public
of all ages and socio-economic levels.
It took me a chapter or two to get used to Bacevich's writing style, but I grew to like it.
Chapters: 1) Wilsonians Under Arms 2) The Military Professions at Bay 3) Left, Right, Center
4) California Dreaming 5) Onward 6) War Club 7) Blood for Oil 8) Common Defense
"Support" for the military is often incorrectly linked with one's "patriotism." This faulty
thinking is perpetuated by the electronic and print media in often subtle forms but extremely
effective forms, and at times very explicit and in aggressive manners. The government intentionally
steers the publics' focus to the 'Military aspects of war' to avoid attention to the more realistic
and vital 'political aspects.' The latter being at the real heart of the motivation, manner, and
outcome of most *political* conflicts.
Bacevich notes journalists: journalist Thomas Friedman complained that a Super Bowl half-time
show did not honor the "troops." He then drove to the Command Center to visit and speak with the
"troops." Soon after, he carried on with his own self-centered interests, like everyone else.
The military in and of itself is not dangerous nor pernicious. The military doesn't formulate
foreign policy. The military just implements it, carrying out the orders and instructions of elitist
civilians who have never served in the armed forces. It's not the military nor the men and women
serving in it, we must be wary of. It's the civilians masters with vested interests in the governmental
and corporate world who must be held accountable.
General Creighton Abrams wanted to diminish the influence of civilian control over the military
after Vietnam. Civilians and politicians were making military decisions. It seems the situation
is similar in 2007. Chairman of the JCS Peter Pace sounds political. History will be the judge.
This is a very insightful book for those interested in recent history as well as the current
situation the United States is in. The troops should be supported for what they do. Because unfortunately
they are the ones that pay the price for elitist decisions made by upper-class civilians from
the Ivy League cliques that run the U.S. politically and economically.
Highly recommended and relevant to our contemporary times and our future.
Andrew Bacevich did excellent research and writing in this book. I'll think we'll be hearing
a lot more of him. Hopefully He'll get more access to the public. If - the mainstream media allows
Robert S. Frey
An Informed, Insightful, and Highly Readable Account of American Foreign Policy Today,
December 23, 2006
Andrew J. Bacevich's "The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War," should
be read and considered carefully by every member of the national political leadership in the United
States as well as by adult Americans in general. Bacevich brings impeccable credentials to his
work in this book--professor of history and international relations at Boston University, West
Point graduate, and veteran of the Vietnam conflict. His writing is engaging, insightful, and
historically well anchored. Importantly, this work is highly accessible and eminently readable.
The level of documentation is very valuable as well. Finally, the book is not about fault-finding
and finger-pointing toward any one national figure or group.
What I found most beneficial was that the book presented well-argued alternative historical
"meta-narratives" that are much more closely aligned with post-World War II historical events
and processes than the ones currently accepted as "conventional wisdom." A case in point is the
periodization of World War IV beginning with President Carter's pronouncements regarding the Persian
Gulf area in 1980 rather than with the terrorist attacks on America on 9/11. "The New American
Militarism" carefully and credibly brings together the many seemingly disparate actions, decisions,
and events of the past 60+ years (e.g., the atomic bombing of Japan, Vietnam, oil shortages of
the 1970s and 80s, the end of the Cold War, the First Gulf War, etc.) and illustrates important
patterns and trends that help to explain why United States' foreign policy is what it is today.
Dr. Bacevich's book helps us understand and appreciate that the global projection of American
military power today has deep roots in the national decisions and behaviors of the second half
of the twentieth century.
Robert S. Frey, M.A., MBA, MSM
Adjunct Professor, History
Dr. Lee D. Carlson
Interesting, insightful, and motivating, October 21, 2006
Why is it that some people, including this reviewer, are reluctant to criticize the writings
or verbalizations of those Americans that have been or are currently in the military? This is
particularly true for those officers and soldiers who have served in combat. To be critical of
someone is who has faced such horror would be a sacrilege. Their opinions on subjects, especially
those related to war and the military, are given much higher weight than those that have never
been in the military. What is the origin of this extreme bias and does it not thwart attempts
to get at the truth in matters of war and politics? If a war is illegal or immoral, are not the
soldiers who participate in it themselves war criminals, deserving the severest condemnation?
The author of this book sheds light on these questions and gives many more interesting opinions
on what he has called the 'new American militarism.' If one examines carefully American history,
it is fair to say that Americans have been reluctant to go to war, preferring instead to settle
conflicts via negotiation and trade agreements. Americans have been led to the horrors of war
kicking and screaming, and breath a sigh of relief when they are over. Historically, Americans
have applied extreme skepticism to those politicians, like Woodrow Wilson, who wanted to participate
in World War I to make the world "safe for democracy." So if Americans are "seduced by war", as
the author contends they have been in recent decades, an explanation must be found. It is
tempting to say that they have been merely "brainwashed", and contemporary neuroscience lends
some credence to this claim, but one must still be open to alternative explanations, and let the
evidence determine the proper interpretation. Once the causes have been identified, it
becomes necessary to find methodologies and strategies to counter these causes, lest we find ourselves
in another unnecessary and brutal conflict, initiated by some who do not directly participate
in it, and have no intention ever to do so.
This book is not a scientific study, but instead is a collection of opinions, mostly supported
by anecdotal evidence, to support the author's thesis. On the surface his opinions do seem plausible,
but one must still apply to his writings the same level of skepticism applied to other studies
of the same kind. It does seem reasonable to believe for example that current attitudes about
war are governed by the American failure in Vietnam, Carter's supposed ineptitude in dealing with
the resulting loss in "self-esteem" of the American populace, and Reagan's exploitation or correction
of this loss. But more evidence is needed to set such a conclusion in stone.
The author though is intellectually honest enough to admit that he has not obtained the "definitive
version of the truth" on the new American militarism within the pages of his book. His words are
more "suggestive than conclusive" he writes, and he welcomes criticism and alternative interpretations.
Vietnam, oil and energy considerations, 9-11, and the media all have a role to play in the current
American attitudes about war he argues. Further analysis though is needed, and cognizance must
be made that all readers, including this reviewer, are embedded in the same culture as the author,
and subjected to the same ideological, historical, and media pressures. We must be extremely cautious
in our acceptance of what we find in print and indeed in all information outlets. And we must
learn that soldiers, active duty or otherwise, are not infallible and must be subjected to the
same criticism as any other citizen. This is again, very difficult to do, and this difficulty
is perhaps the best evidence for the author's thesis.
Exceptional Polemic; 4.5 Stars, October 19, 2006
This concise and well written book is the best kind of polemic; clear, well argued, and
designed to provoke debate. Bacevich is definitely interested in persuading readers of
the truth of his views but his calm and invective free prose, insistence on careful documentation,
and logical presentation indicate that his primary concern is promote a high level of discussion
of this important issue. Bacevich argues well that a form of militarism based on an exaggerated
sense of both American mission and American power, specifically military power, has infected public
life. He views this militarism as both leading to unecessary and dangerous adventures abroad,
epitomized by the Iraq fiasco, and corrupting the quality of domestic debate and policy making.
Beyond documenting the existence of this phenomenon, Bacevich is concerned with explicating how
this form of militarism, which he views as contrary to American traditions, came to be so popular.
Bacevich argues well that the new militarism came about because of a convergence of actions
by a number of different actors including our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals
and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent Republican party activists, and so-called defense
intellectuals. For a variety of reasons, these sometimes overlapping groups converged
on ideas of the primacy of American military power and the need to use it aggressively abroad.
Bacevich devotes a series of chapters to examining each of these actors, discussing their motivations
and actions, often exposing shabby and inconsistent thinking. Some of these, like the role of
neoconservative intellectuals and the Religous Right, are fairly well known.
Others, like the behavior of professional military over the last generation, will be novel
to many readers. Bacevich's chapters have underlying themes. One is the persisent occurrence of
ironic events as the actions of many of these groups produced events counter to their goals.
The post-Vietnam professional military attempted to produce a large, vigorous military poised
to fight conventional, WWII-like, combats. This force was intended to be difficult for politicians
to use. But as these often highly competent professionals succeeded to restoring the quality
of the American military, the temptation to use it became stronger and stronger, and control
escaped the professionals back into the hands of politicians as varied as Bush II and Clinton.
Another theme is that politicians seized on use military force as an alternative to more difficult
and politically unpalatable alternatives. Jimmy Carter is described correctly as initiating the
American preoccupation with control of the Persian Gulf oil supplies, which has generated a great
deal of conflict over the past generation. Bacevich presents Carter as having to act this
way because his efforts to persuade Americans to pursue sacrifice and a rational energy policy
were political losers. Ronald Reagan is presented as the epitome of this unfortunate trend.
Bacevich is generally convincing though, perhaps because this is a short book, there are some
issues which are presented onesidely. For example, its true that Carter began the military preoccupation
with the Persian Gulf. But, its true as well that his administration established the Dept. of
Energy, began a significant program of energy related research, moved towards fuel standards for
vehicles and began the regulatory policies that would successfully improve energy efficiency for
many household items. No subsequent administration had done more to lessen dependence on foreign
Bacevich also omits an important point. As he points out, the different actors that sponsored
the new militarism tended to converge in the Republican Party. But, as has been pointed out by
a number of analysts, the Republican Party is a highly disparate and relatively unstable coalition.
The existence of some form of powerful enemy, perceived or real, is necessary to maintain
Republican solidarity. The new militarism is an important component of maintaining the internal
integrity of the Republican party and at unconciously appreciated as such by many important Republicans.
An interesting aspect of this book is that Bacevich, a West point grad, former career Army
officer, and self-described cultural conservative, has reproduced many of the criticisms put forward
by Leftist critics.
Bacevich concludes with a series of interesting recommendations that are generally rational
but bound to be controversial and probably politically impossible. Again, this is an effort to
change the nature of the discussion about these issues.
How Permanent Military Deployment Became Congruent With World Peace, June 29, 2006
In The New American Militarism, Andrew J. Bacevich contends that American culture and policy
since the end of the Cold War has merged a militaristic ethos with a utopian global imaginary.
He notes that American militarism is a "bipartisan project" with "deep roots" that even garner
support on the political margins, with some leftist activists seeing a humanitarian mission for
U.S. global military hegemony. He traces these roots to the worldview of Woodrow Wilson, who envisioned
a globe "remade in America's image and therefore permanently at peace." Yet Wilson's view was
moderated by a public and policy perception of war as an ugly, costly, brutal, traumatic and unpredictable
last resort. This is corroborated by the massive military demobilizations that followed U.S. involvement
in both world wars. Bacevich also points to works of popular culture, from Erich Maria Remarque's
All Quiet On The Western Front to Oliver Stone's Platoon, that reflect on the inhumanity of war
from World War I through Vietnam.
Bacevich sees a massive deviation from these historical trends after the end of the Cold War.
While conceding that a permanent military mobilization was expected during the Cold War (from
roughly NSC-68 to the fall of the Berlin Wall)--no significant demobilization followed. Forces
slated for deactivation were quickly mobilized for Operation Desert Storm. No successful popular
culture critiques of that war's brutality would emerge. The author sees the end of the cold war
and Desert Storm as framing a period of "new American militarism" that breaks from historical
precedent in several regards. He claims that since the 1988 presidential campaign, the character
of the presidency has emphasized military more than civilian leadership. This contradicts previous
presidents of military stature (e.g. Grant, Eisenhower) who obsessively positioned themselves
as civilians. Post-Cold War military budgets have been dramatically larger despite no global adversary.
The public has uncritically accepted a permanent military stance. The perception of war as ghastly
and treacherous has been replaced with war as a clinical and technologically managed spectacle.
The link between the covenant of citizenship and military service has been replaced by a specialized
force of volunteers. The numbers of veterans serving in congress has steadily decreased since
World War II. Bacevich correlates this with the shunning of military service by elites as the
military has increasingly drawn from areas of the population that are poor and brown. Because
of this, force is "outsourced" and in turn the stature of soldiers has dramatically increased
through an infrastructure of praise by the majority who are not involved in military operations.
Senior military officers have tremendous clout in politics, policy, and spending.
To understand this new militarism, Bacevich notes that it is point-for-point an inversion of
Vietnam's military milieu. There, politicians up through the president framed themselves as civilians,
officers felt out of touch with bureaucratic decisions, and war was perceived as carnal and bumbling.
The book traces cultural responses to Vietnam that reformed the American relationship to militarism.
As military leaders like Creighton Abrams sought to mandate broad political investment for military
action by creating interdependence with reserves and to limit the criteria for deployment with
the Weinberger doctrine, politicians like Ronald Reagan rehabilitated an American demoralization
that peaked with Carter's failed Operation Eagle Claw by invoking popular culture mythologies
Bacevich is unabashedly religious. He ultimately couches America's outsourced and technocratic
militarism as a departure from natural Gods in the pursuit of a scientistic idol that more perfectly
regulates human affairs. He openly sees in this scientism the same flaw and outcome as Communism
or Fascism. He suggests that affirmation of military service across economic privilege would raise
the stakes of military engagements and help to contradict the cultural illusions that form the
basis of American militarism. (That war is technical, distant, clinical, predictable, outsourced,
humane, and everything contrary to what writers like Remarque tell us.) He meticulously synthesizes
a new paradigm that relates the difficult subjects of military policy and popular sanction. In
this regard, The New American Militarism is an exciting contribution to historical scholarship.
The New American Militarism - A Bipolar Look at Todays State of Affairs, February
Andrew J. Bacevichs', The New American Militarism, gives the reader an important glimpse of
his background when he wrote that, as a Vietnam veteran, the experience baffled him and he wrote
this book in an effort to "sift through the wreckage left by the war." After the Vietnam War,
the author stayed in the military because he believed being an American soldier was a "true and
honorable" calling. Bacevich states he is a devoted Catholic and a conservative who became disillusioned
with mainstream conservatism. He also states that he believes the current political system is
corrupt and functions in ways inconsistent with genuine democracy.
Bacevich states that he tried to write this book using facts in an unbiased way. However, he cautions
the reader that his experiences have shaped his views and that his views are part of this book.
This is a way to tell the reader that although he tried to remain unbiased, his background and
biases find voice in this book. I believe the authors warning are valid; he draws heavily upon
his background and biases to support his thesis.
The book is about American militarism, which Bacevich describes as the "misleading and dangerous
conceptions of war, soldiers, and military institutions" that have become part of the American
conscience and have `perverted' US national security policy. According to Bacevich, American militarism
has subordinated the search for the common good to the permanent value of military effectiveness
that will bankrupt the US economically and morally. Bacevich supports this thesis by discussing
issues that have contributed to this state of affairs.
Bacevich believes the current state of American militarism has roots dating back to the Wilson
administration. Wilson's vision was to remake the world in America's image. God Himself willed
the universal embrace of liberal democracies and Wilson saw the US as a `divine agent' to make
the world a safe and democratic place. Today, with no serious threat to keep our military forces
in check, we are now, more than ever, free to spread liberal democracy using military force, if
Considering the military, Bacevich makes the point that the militarism of America is also due,
in part, to the officer corps of the US military trying to rehabilitate the image and profession
of the soldier after the Vietnam War. Officers attempted to do this by reversing the roles of
the soldiers and the politicians that was problematic during the Vietnam War. They tried to establish
the primacy of the military over the civilians in decisions as to how to use the military. The
Weinberger and Powell doctrines were the manifestation of this idea by spelling out conditions
for the use of the US military in combat.
Neo-conservatives further enhanced the trend of militarism. They see US power as an instrument
for good and the time was right to use the military to achieve the final triumph of Wilson's idea
of spreading American liberal democracy around the globe.
Religion also played a role. According to Bacevich, evangelical Protestants see the US as a
Christian nation singled out by God and Americans are His chosen people. These evangelicals believed
the Vietnam War was not only a military crisis, but also a cultural and moral crisis threatening
our status. Evangelicals looked to the military to play a pivotal role in saving the US from internal
collapse due to the higher expression of morals and values found in the military. The military
would become the role model to reverse the trend of godlessness and social decay.
Another set of actors that contributed to American militarism were the defense intellectuals
whose main contribution was to bring the military back under civilian control. According to Bacevich,
they laid the groundwork of our current policy of `preventative war' and reinforced American militarism.
Finally, Bacevich accuses politicians of deceiving the American public as to the true nature of
American militarism by wrapping militarism in the comfortable trappings of nationalism. By using
labels such as the Global War on Terrorism, politicians are using a political sleight-of-hand
trick to hide our true militaristic nature in patriotic terms. Bacevich concludes his book with
a list of recommendations to mitigate the current trend of American militarism.
Bacevich seems to create a mosaic of conspiracy perpetrated by sinister actors aimed at deceiving
an unsuspecting public as to the true nature of American militarism. Until the last chapter where
Bacevich tells the reader that there is no conspiracy, it is very easy to believe there might
be one lurking in the shadows. I was shocked when I reached Bacevich's recommendations. The contrast
between his recommendations and the rest of the book is astounding. I was expecting highly provocative
recommendations that would match the tone of the rest of the book. However, his recommendations
were solid and well thought out...delivered in the calm manner one would expect from a political
scientist. Nevertheless, in the end, Bacevich's message leading up to his recommendations were
hard to swallow. I believe he wrote this book not to enlighten but to be provocative in order
to sell books and build his status in academic circles. If Bacevich's aim was to build a convincing
argument on a serious subject, he needed to be less provocative and more clinical.
What is militarism? What is it, particularly as applied to today's America? West Point educated
Andrew Bacevich opens his book with a concise statement: "Today as never before in their history
Amercans are enthralled with military power. The global military supremacy that the United States
presently enjoys . . . has become central to our national identity." This is the basic premise
of The New American Militarism. Anyone who does not accept the accuracy of this statement, or
is unconcerned about its implications should probably not read this book--it will only annoy them.
For those, however, who are concerned about how militarism is increasingly seeping into our core
values and sense of national destiny, or who are disturbed by the current glaring disconnect between
what our soldiers endure "over there", and the lack of any sacrifice or inconvenience for the
rest of us "over here", this book is a must-read.
Refreshingly, Bacevich approaches the new American militarism as neither a Democrat nor Republican,
from neither the left nor the right. No doubt, those with a stake in defending the policy of the
present Administration no matter how foolish, or in castigating it as the main source of our current
militarism, will see "bias" in this book. The truth though is that Bacevich makes a genuine effort
to approach his subject in a spirit of open and disinterested inquiry. He has earned the right
to say, near the end of his book, that "this account has not sought to assign or impute blame."
As a result, he is not stymied by the possibility of embarrassing one political side or the other
by his arguments or conclusions. This leads to a nuanced and highly independent and original treatment
of the subject.
In chronicling the rise of American militarism, Bacevich rightly starts with Wilson's vision
of American exceptionalism: an America leading the world beyond the slaughterhouse of European
battlefields to an international order of peaceful democratic states. But where President Wilson
wanted to create such a world for the express purpose of rendering war obsolete, Bacevich notes
that today's "Wilsonians" want to export American democracy through the use of force. He follows
this overview with an insider's thumbnail history of American military thinking from Vietnam to
the first Gulf war. He explains how the military in effect re-invented itself after Vietnam so
as to make it far more difficult "to send the Army off to fight while leaving the country behind."
Today's highly professionalized and elite force is largely the result of this thinking. In turn
this professional military presented to the country and its civilian leaders a re-invented model
of war: war waged with surgical precision and offering "the prospect of decision rather than pointing
ineluctably toward stalemate and quagmire." Gulf War I was the triumphant culmination of this
model. The unintended and ironic consequence, of course, was that war and the aggressive projection
of American military power throughout the world came to be viewed by some in our nation's leadership
as an increasingly attractive policy option.
The body of the book analyzes how the legitimate attempt to recover from the national trauma
of Vietnam led ultimately to a militarism increasingly reflected in crucial aspects of American
life. In religion he traces how a "crusade" theory of warfare has supplanted the more mainstream
"just war" theory. In popular culture he discusses the rise of a genre of pop fiction and movies
reflecting a glamorized and uncritical idealization of war (he examines "An Officer and A Gentleman",
"Rambo: First Blood Part II", and "Top Gun" as examples). In politics he identifies the neo-conservative
movement as bringing into the mainstream ideas that "a decade earlier might have seemed reckless
or preposterous"; for example the idea that the United States is "the most revolutionary force
on earth" with an "inescapable mission" to spread democracy -- by the sword if necessary. Bacevich
calls these ideas "inverted Trotskyism", and notes that the neo-conservative movement shares with
Mao the assumption that revolution springs "from the barrel of a gun".
Bacevich concludes his book with a pithy ten-point critique offered as a starting point for
"a change in consciousness, seeing war and America's relationship to war in a fundamentally different
way." Among his points are greater fidelity to the letter and the spirit of the Constituional
provisions regarding war and the military, and increased strategic self-sufficiency for America.
Perhaps the most important points of his critique are those about ending or at least reducing
the current disconnect between er how we might reduce
Careful observers will note the abolute claims that lie under the surface of these criticisms.
If you criticize anything about the United States, you're automatically anti-Bush. If you question
the wisdom of viewing the military as a first-option in handling international problems, you're
even worse: a liberal anti-Bush peacenick. History supposedly demonstrates that diplomacy never
works with any "tyrant" (whatever that is), while war allegedly always work. It's just one stark
claim after another, with never any gray area in the middle.
If you read the book, this "you're either with us or with the terrorists, either dream war
or hate President Bush" mentality should remind you of something. It very closely resembles the
description Bacevich gives of neoconservatism, which he says engenders a worldview that is constantly
in crisis mode. Things are always so dire for neocons, Bacevich explains, that only two feasible
options present themselves at any given time: doing what the neocons want (usually deploying military
force in pursuit of some lofty but unrealistic goal), or suffering irreversible and potentially
fatal setbacks to our national cause.
Is it really surprising that the reviews of this book from a neocon mindset are also the reviews
giving one star to a book that sytematically critiques and upends neoconservatism?
In actuality, as many have pointed out already, Bacevich is "anti-Bush" only insomuch as he
is anti-neoconservative. Bacevich openly states that he throws his full weight behind traditionally
conservative issues, like small government and lower taxes. Indeed, he is a devoutly religious
social conservative who himself severed twenty years in the Army officer corps. This is why his
exposee on America's new militarism has so much credibility.
Since he was in the military, he knows that sometimes the military is necessary to handle situations
that develop in the world. However he also understands that the military is often grossly unfit
to handle certain situations. This is the main theme of his book. At its core, the story is about
how, in response to Vietnam, military leaders worked frightfully hard to rebuild the military
and to limit the freedom of starry-eyed civilians to use the armed forces inappropriately.
Their most important objective was to ensure that no more Wilsonian misadventures (like Vietnam)
would happen. The officer corps did this by carving out a space of authority for the top brass,
from which they could have unprecedented input in policy decisions, and be able to guide strategy
and tactics once the military deployed into action. After ascending to a position of greater prominence,
they implemented the "Weinberger Doctrine," followed by the "Powell Doctrine," both specifically
tailored to avoid Vietnam-style quagmires. The Gulf War, claims Bacevich, saw the fruition of
fifteen years of hard work to accomplish these reforms. And they worked beautifully.
However, the end of the last decade saw the Neo-conservatives challenge the status quo. And
with the election of W. Bush, they were finally in a position where their ideas could again have
a disproportionate influence on foreign policy. What we now have in Iraq is another military quagmire,
where the solution must be political, but where military occupation renders political solutions
This story is about how the military profession emerged from the post-Vietnam wilderness, dazzled
the world during the first Gulf War, then once again lost its independent ability to craft related
policies with the arrival of Rummie and the neocons.
It's a fascinating story, and Bacevich relates it skillfully.
Andrew S. Rogers:
Baedecker on the road to perdition, December 5, 2005
I was sorry to see Andrew J. Bacevich dismiss Chalmers Johnson's 2004
of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic (The American Empire Project)
quite as quickly as he did (on page 3 of the introduction, in fact), because I think these two
books, taken together, provide probably the best -- and certainly the most historically-informed
-- look at the rise and consequences of American empire. I endorse "The New American Militarism"
as heartily as I did "The Sorrows of Empire."
Bacevich's capsule summary of Johnson's work notwithstanding, both these books take the long
view of America's international military presence and are quick to grasp one key point. As Bacevich
notes on page 205, "American militarism is not the invention of a cabal nursing fantasies of global
empire and manipulating an unsuspecting people frightened by the events of 9/11. Further, it is
counterproductive to think in these terms -- to assign culpability to a particular president or
administration and to imagine that throwing the bums out will put things right."
In several insightful chapters, Bacevich traces the rise of militarism over the course of several
administrations and many decades. A former Army officer himself, the author is particularly insightful
in charting the efforts of the military's officer corps to recover from the stigma of Vietnam
and reshape the *ethos* of the armed services as an elite intentionally separate from, and morally
superior to, the society it exists to defend. But the officers are only one of the strands Bacevich
weaves together. He also looks at the influence of the "defense intellectuals;" the importance
of evangelical Christians and how their view of Biblical prophecy shapes their understanding of
politics; the rise of (yes) the neo-conservatives; and even the role of Hollywood in changing
America's understandings of the "lessons of Vietnam" and the re-glamorization of the military
in films like "Top Gun."
The author is a sharp-eyed analyst, but also an engaging writer, and he gives the reader a
lot to think about. I was intrigued, for example, by his discussion of how "supporting the troops"
has become the *sine qua non* of modern politics and how doing so has replaced actual military
service as an indicator of one's love of country. More fundamentally, his identification and analysis
of "World War III" (already over) and "World War IV" (currently underway, and declared [surprisingly]
by Jimmy Carter) struck me as a remarkably useful lens for interpreting current events.
In tying his threads together, Bacevich is not afraid to make arguments and draw conclusions
that may make the reader uncomfortable. As the passage I quoted above makes clear, for example,
someone looking for a straightforward declaration that "It's all Bush's fault!" will have to go
someplace else. As a further implication of the above passage, Bacevich argues that the "defense
intellectuals," the evangelicals, and even the neocons were and are doing what they believe are
most likely to promote peace, freedom, and the security of the American people. "To the extent
that we may find fault with the results of their efforts, that fault is more appropriately attributable
to human fallibility than to malicious intent" (p. 207). Additionally, Bacevich is unashamed of
his military service, holds up several military leaders as heroes, has some choice words for the
self-delusions of leftist "peace activists," and even argues that federal education loans should
be made conditional on military service.
This doesn't mean the president and his fellow conservatives get off much easier, though. Bacevich
is roundly critical of Bush and his administration, including Colin Powell; dismisses the Iraq
invasion ("this preposterous enterprise" [p. 202]); and in a move that will probably get him crossed
off the Thayer Award nominations list, suggests officer candidates be required to graduate from
civilian universities instead of West Point (his alma mater) or Annapolis -- intellectually-isolated
institutions that reinforce the officer caste's separation from civil society.
So this book isn't one that will blindly reinforce anyone's prejudices. In part for that reason
-- but mostly for its trenchant analysis, readable prose, and broad historical view -- I'm happy
to list "The New American Militarism" as one of the best and most important books I've read in
some time. Perhaps even since "The Sorrows of Empire."
Militarism and Public Opinion, August 12, 2005
According to many of the custodians of public opinion, Andrew Bacevich has earned his right
to a fair hearing. Not only is he a graduate of West Point, a Vietnam veteran, and a conservative
Catholic, he is a professor of international relations and a contributor to "The Weekly Standard"
and "The National Review." Obviously, if he were a left-leaning anti-war Democrat and a contributor
to, say, "The Nation," he wouldn't be taken seriously as a critic of American militarism - he
would be merely another "blame-America-first" defeatist.
Bacevich sees militarism manifesting itself in some disquieting ways. Traditionally America
has always gauged the size of its military with the magnitude of impending threats. After the
Civil War, World War I and II, the military was downsized as threats receded. Not so after the
fall of the Soviet Union. The military budget has continued to grow and the expenditures are greater
- by some measures - than all other countries combined. American military forces are now scaling
the globe and the American public seems quiet comfortable with it. And everyone else is growing
The mindset of the current officer corps is dominant control in all areas "whether sea, undersea,
land, air, space or cyberspace." In other words, supremacy in all theaters. Self-restraint has
given way to the normalization of using military force as a foreign policy tool. From 1989 (Operation
Just Cause) to 2002 (Operation Iraqi Freedom) there have been nine major military operations and
a number of smaller ones. The end of the Cold War has given the US a preponderance of military
strength (the proverbial unipolar moment) that has enamoured successive administrations with the
idea of using military force to solve international problems. In earlier times, war was always
an option of the last resort, now it is a preventative measure.
War, according to Bacevich, has taken on a new aesthetic. During World War I and II, and also
Vietnam and Korea the battlefield was a slaughterhouse of barbarism and brutality. Now, with the
advent of the new Wilsonianism in Washington, wars are seen as moments of national unity to carry
out a positive agenda, almost as if it were international social work.
The modern soldier is no longer looked upon as a deadbeat or a grunt, but rather as a skilled
professional who is undertaking socially beneficial work. In fact, in a poll taken in 2003, military
personnel consider themselves as being of higher moral standards than the nation they serve.
In the political classes, the Republicans have traditionallly been staunchly pro-military,
but now even Democrats have thrown off their ant-military inclinations. When Kerry was running
for president he did not question Bush's security policies, he was actually arguing that Bush
had not gone far enough. Kerry wanted to invest more in military hardware and training. Even liberal
Michael Ignatieff argues that US military intervention should be used to lessen the plight of
the oppressed and that we should be assisting them in establishing more representative government.
But superpowers are not altruistic; they are only altruistic to the extent that it serves their
self-interest. That's probably why Ignatieff will not get much of a hearing and Bacevich will.
This book should give us pause as to why the range of opinion in the America on the use of military
force is so narrow. If there is one voice that stands a chance of being heeded, it is from this
conservative ex-soldier. \
The US may have been an expansionist and aggressive power as history shows. But unlike European
peers, the American public never really took to the seductions of militarism. That is, until now.
This is an important and occasionally brilliant book that tells a forty-year tale of creeping
over-reliance on the military. And a heck-of an important story it is. I like the way Bacevich
refuses to blame the Bush administration, even though they're the ones who've hit the accelerator.
Actually the trend has been in motion for some time, especially since 1980 and Reagan's revival
of military glory, contrived though it was.
Each chapter deals with an aspect of this growing militariism movement. How intellectual guru
Norman Podhoretz and other elites got the big engine together, how twenty million evangelical
passengers abandoned tradition and got on board, and how a crew of enthusiastic neo-cons charted
a destination -- nothing less than world democracy guaranteed by American military might. All
in all, the ride passes for a brilliant post-cold war move. Who's going to argue with freeing
up the Will of the People, except for maybe a few hundred million Sharia fanatics. Yet, it appears
none of the distinguished crew sees any contradiction between dubious means and noble end, nor
do they seem particularly concerned with what anybody else thinks. (Sort of like the old Soviets,
eager to spread the blessings of Scientific Socialism.) However, as Bacevich pounts out, there's
a practical problem here the crew is very alert to. Policing the world means building up the institutions
of the military and providing a covering mystique to keep John Q. Public supportive, especially
with tax dollars and blood supply. In short, the mission requires sanitizing the cops on the beat
and all that goes into keeping them there. It also means overcoming a long American tradition
of minding-one's-own-business and letting the virtues of democratic self-governance speak for
themselves. But then, that was an older, less "responsible" America.
Bacevich's remedies harken back to those older, quieter traditions -- citizen soldiers, a real
Department of Defense, a revived Department of State, and a much more modest role in international
affairs.With this book, Bacevich proves to be one of the few genuine conservatives around, (a
breed disappearing even faster than the ranks of genuine liberals). Much as I like the book, especially
the thoughtful Preface, I wish the author had dealt more with the economic aspects of build-up
and conquest. But then that might require a whole other volume, as globalization and the number
of billion-dollar servicing industries expands daily. At day's end, however, someone needs to
inform a CNN- enthralled public that the military express lacks one essential feature. With all
its hypnotizing bells and whistles, history shows the momentum has no brakes. Lessons from the
past indicate that, despite the many seductions, aggressive empires make for some very unexpected
and fast-moving train wrecks. Somebody needs to raise the alarm. Thanks Mr. Bacevich for doing
Still his critique of neocons is a class of its own has value in itself as it comes from professional
military officer. Professor Bacevich argues that the US new militarism which emerged after the
dissolution of the USSR is the result of a convergence of actions by a number of different groups including
our professional military, neoconservative intellectuals and publicists, evangelical Christians, resurgent
Republican party activists, and so-called defense intellectuals (see
New American Militarism).
Andrew Bacevich has a wonderful essay, in the form of an open letter to Paul Wolfowitz,
in the current
Harper's. You have to subscribe to read it -- but, hey, you should be
to any publication whose work you value. This essay isolates the particular role Wolfowitz had in
the cast of characters that led us to war. As a reminder, they included:
Dick Cheney, who was becoming a comic-book churl by this stage of his public life;
Colin Powell, the loyal soldier, staffer, and diplomat whose "Powell Doctrine" and
entire life's work stood in opposition to the kind of war that he, with misguided loyalty, was
to play so central a role in selling;
Tony Blair, the crucial ally who added rhetorical polish and international resolve
to the case for war;
Donald Rumsfeld, with his breezy contempt for those who said the effort would be difficult
Paul Bremer, whose sudden, thoughtless dismantling of the Iraqi army proved so disastrous;
Condoleezza Rice, miscast in her role as White House national-security advisor;
George Tenet, the long-time staffer who cooperated with the "slam-dunk!" intelligence
assessment despite serious disagreement within the CIA;
and of course George W. Bush himself, whose combination of limited knowledge and strong
desire to be "decisive" made him so vulnerable to the argument that the "real" response to the
9/11 attacks should be invading a country that had nothing to do with them.
But Paul Wolfowitz was in a category of his own because he was the one who provided the
highest-concept rationale for the war. As James Galbraith of the University of Texas has put it,
"Wolfowitz is the real-life version of Halberstam's caricature of McNamara" [in The Best and the
Bacevich's version of this assessment is to lay out as respectfully as possible the strategic duty
that Wolfowitz thought the U.S. would fulfill by invading Iraq. Back before the war began, I did
a much more limited version of this assessment
as an Atlantic article. As Bacevich puts it now, Wolfowitz was extending precepts from
his one-time mentor, Albert
Wohlstetter, toward a model of how the United States could maximize stability for itself and
As with the best argumentative essays, Bacevich takes on Wolfowitz in a strong rather than an oversimplified
version of his world-view. You have to read the whole thing to get the effect, but here is a brief
sample (within fair-use limits):
With the passing of the Cold War, global hegemony seemed America's for the taking. What others
saw as an option you, Paul, saw as something much more: an obligation that the nation needed to
seize, for its own good as well as for the world's....
Although none of the hijackers were Iraqi, within days of 9/11 you were promoting military
action against Iraq. Critics have chalked this up to your supposed obsession with Saddam. The
criticism is misplaced. The scale of your ambitions was vastly greater.
In an instant, you grasped that the attacks provided a fresh opportunity to implement Wohlstetter's
Precepts, and Iraq offered a made-to-order venue....In Iraq the United States would demonstrate
the efficacy of preventive war.... The urgency of invading Iraq stemmed from the need to validate
that doctrine before the window of opportunity closed.
Bacevich explains much more about the Wohlstetter / Wolfowitz grand view. And then he poses the challenge
that he says Wolfowitz should now meet:
One of the questions emerging from the Iraq debacle must be this one: Why did liberation at gunpoint
yield results that differed so radically from what the war's advocates had expected? Or, to sharpen
the point, How did preventive war undertaken by ostensibly the strongest military in history
produce a cataclysm?
Not one of your colleagues from the Bush Administration possesses the necessary combination
of honesty, courage, and wit to answer these questions. If you don't believe me, please sample
the tediously self-exculpatory memoirs penned by (or on behalf of) Bush himself, Cheney, Rumsfeld,
Rice, Tenet, Bremer, Feith, and a small squad of eminently forgettable generals...
What would Albert [Wohlstetter] do? I never met the man (he died in 1997), but my guess is
that he wouldn't flinch from taking on these questions, even if the answers threatened to contradict
his own long-held beliefs. Neither should you, Paul. To be sure, whatever you might choose to
say, you'll be vilified, as Robert McNamara was vilified when he broke his long silence and admitted
that he'd been "wrong, terribly wrong" about Vietnam. But help us learn the lessons of Iraq so
that we might extract from it something of value in return for all the sacrifices made there.
Forgive me for saying so, but you owe it to your country.
Anyone who knows Andrew Bacevich's story will understand the edge behind his final sentence. But
you don't have to know that to respect the challenge he lays down. I hope Paul Wolfowitz will at
some point rise to it.
For another very valuable assessment of who was right and wrong, when, please see
John Judis's piece in The New Republic.
Half of Americans don't bother voting for president. Why is the American media full only of people who insist that the country
is divided in half between Democrat and Republican supporters? Where are the people of influence who think it's a problem and
reflects poorly on the country that half of eligible voters don't see a reason to participate, and that it's worth changing things
in order to get more people to change their minds about that?
Both parties are content with being unpopular, but with political mechanisms ensuring they stay in power anyway. The Democrats
aren't concerned with being popular. They're content with being a token opposition party that every once in a while gets a few
token years with power they don't put to any good anyway. It pays more, I guess.
It still looks like if Americans want to live in a progressive country, they'll have to move to one. But as it is clear that the
neoliberalism of establishment Democrats has little or nothing to offer the poor and working class, or to non-wealthy millennials,
the times they are a-changing.
A new piece by Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books gives some insight into
secret U.S. operations during the Reagan administration.
The Vice President's Men includes a quite sensational claim of who revealed the
According to the conventional wisdom, as reflected
in Wikipedia, an Iranian operator revealed to a Lebanese paper that the U.S. was selling
weapons to Iran in the hope to get hostages in Lebanon released:
After a leak by Mehdi Hashemi, a senior official in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard
Corps, the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the arrangement on 3 November 1986. This
was the first public report of the weapons-for-hostages deal.
People is the National Security Council used profits from these weapon sales to
illegally arm and finance CIA run anti-government gangs in Nicaragua. Both, the weapon
sales to Iran and the weapon delivery to guerilla in Nicaragua, were illegal under U.S.
law. The leak to Lebanese paper blew up both operations.
That Mehdi Hashemi, the Iranian operative, leaked the affair is only supported
by second hand hearsay from a dubious source. Seymour Hersh reports of a very different
According to his sources former CIA director George H.W. Bush, who was then Reagan's
vice president, ran his own secret operations through a special office in the Pentagon. It
was led by Vice-Admiral Arthur Moreau. The office and its operations were kept outside of
congressional oversight. Neither the CIA nor the Joint Chief's of Staff were aware of its
doing. During some 30 different operations the Bush team used small groups of U.S. marines
to effect Soviet operations in foreign countries and to get rid of unwanted foreign
politicians. Bush essentially ran the prequel of the 'war on/of terror' which today is run
by the CIA and the Joint Special Forces Command.
Bush disliked William Casey, who Reagan had named as new CIA director. Casey was a
business man who got the job after he managed Ronald Reagan's election campaign. Bush
thought that he was too incompetent to run the clandestine service.
One of the operations run under Bush also involved Nicaragua, but had nothing to do with
the later Iran-Contra scandal. At the same time the CIA director William Casey was drumming
up support for the Contras in Nicaragua. The two operations collided when Lieutenant
Colonel Oliver (Ollie) North at the National Security Council used the proceeds from the
weapon sales to Iran to illegally finance the CIA's Contras in Nicaragua. While North was
also a confident of the Bush/Moreau's operations, he allegedly freelanced and eventually
deserted to the CIA side.
According to a former officer involved in Bush's operations office, Bush and Moreau
feared that the CIA's widely expanding Iran-Contra operation run by Oliver North would
become a threat to their own operations. They decided to blow it up:
'Ollie brings in Dick Secord and Iranian dissidents and money people in Texas to the
scheme, and it's gotten totally out of control,' the officer said. 'We're going nuts. If
we don't manage this carefully, our whole structure will unravel. And so we' –
former members of Moreau's team who were still working for Bush – 'leaked the story
to the magazine in Lebanon.' He was referring to an article, published on 3 November 1986
by Ash-Shiraa magazine in Beirut, that described the arms for hostages agreement. He
would not say how word was passed to the magazine, ...
According to Hersh's source the effect of the leak to the Lebanese paper was foreseen
The officer explained that it was understood by all that the scandal would unravel in
public very quickly, and Congress would get involved. ' Our goals were to protect the
Moreau operation, to limit the vice president's possible exposure, and to convince the
Reagan administration to limit Bill Casey's management of covert operations. It only took
a match to light the fire. It was: "Oh my god. We were paying ransom for the hostages
– to Iran."'
If Hersh's anonymous source is correct, which I have no reason to doubt, the Iranian
Mehdi Hashemi did not leak the issue. It was bureaucratic infighting between a former CIA
director, who continued to run secret operations, and a sitting one, who was deemed
incompetent by the former, that led to the disclosure of the Iran-Contra affair.
Seymour Hersh is known to have lots of contacts with former officials and officers.
According to his on telling he is actively seeking them out as soon as they retire. Old men
like to tell war stories, but dislike to damage their still living friends. George H.W.
Bush died last November. Hersh likely knew the story long ago but is only now allowed to
The new Hersh/LRB
piece is quite long and the details seems to have little relevance for current affairs.
But his sources tell an interesting story about the backstage fights that went on between
the various branches of the national security bureaucracy during the Reagan presidency.
There is no doubt that similar fights, including intentional leaks to damage competing
officials, continue today.
Posted by b at
02:11 PM |
Comments (36) Interesting too that Hersh cannot finds a publisher in the United States.
The fact that this is in the LRB-where I just read it- tells you all you need to know
about, for example, the New Yorker, The Atlantic and Harpers. As to the newspapers, they
are a lost cause.
Now let us see if there is any follow up in the MSM..anywhere. My guess is that RT will
Congratulations, again to b, for spotting the stories that matter and making sure that the
imperialist media cannot suppress them.
"That Mehdi Hashemi, the Iranian operative, leaked the affair is only supported by second
hand hearsay from a dubious source."
That dubious source is George Cave aka Ibrahim Razin aka Oswald LeWinter, poet,
Shakespeare expert, and involved since the Sixties in disinformation of the highest order.
He had a role -- mainly as disinformant, I believe -- in at least the following cases:
Charlie Manson, Propaganda Due, Iran-Contra, Olof Palme, Princess Diana, Lockerbie.
LeWinter turns up in Francovich's Gladio as well as his Lockerbie movie.
I think the take home is how agency structure at different levels is used to circumvent
relevant laws and public awareness. An auditor applying normal audit technique under
contract to one agency would be hard pressed to find this kind of activity because it exist
in another agency at a different level. My question is how could this have been
discovered at the time it happened? What formula, question or technique could produce a
discovery that would lead to the existence of this kind of activity? Even more important
did the auditors discover the activity and fail to report it or did they have the data to
discover it and just missed it. The audit firm involved might owe the government some
Reconciling the actually delivery of assets deployed to the funds that were used to
acquire and transport them might have produced a discovery result.?
If you search the most nefarious and deadly covert operations, you will usually find Naval
Intelligence deeply involved.
Bush-CIA was always a cover for Bush-Naval Intel.
The Kennedy Assassination plot overlord was Naval Intelligence.
The most pervasive war-mongering by the Hegemon is led by US Naval Intelligence.
See Bob Woodward's background, even Steve Bannon's CV.
The US Navy projects US hegemonic power and is decisive for Logistical transport of war
The most elite of SOF is Navy SEALS. SEALS are always sent on the most sensitive
The Rumsfeld-Cebrowski doctrine followed this century to destroy the sovereignty of
third world states is the masterplan of Cebrowski, an Admiral. Thierry Meyssan always
refers to it as the strategic basis for the chaos in MENA and coming to Africa and Latin
From the USS Maine in Havana harbor, to Pearl Harbor, to Iran-Contra, to Iraq,Libya,
Syria, the handprint is there.
Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake
Internationalists Newly-inaugurated Senator has been promoted to standard-bearer for the
bipartisan War Party, filling in for John McCain.
No surprise: Senator Mitt Romney does not like President Donald Trump, as he recently
explained in TheWashington Post . But what, one wonders, was the former GOP
presidential candidate thinking two years ago when he supped with the man he now claims to
deplore while seeking an appointment as secretary of state?
Much of Romney's complaint is over manners. Yes, the president is a boor. Most people,
including many of Trump's supporters, recognize that. Trump won not because of his etiquette
but because of what he stood for -- and against.
Romney also defended The Blob, Washington's bipartisan foreign policy establishment. In his
article attacking the president, he offered the usual vacuous bromides that characterize the
interventionist consensus, which poses as internationalism but with plenty of bombing raids,
illegal occupations, and nation-building. Most importantly, this perspective presumes permanent
American domination, irrespective of cost.
Romney wrote: "America has long been looked to for leadership. Our economic and military
strength was part of that, of course, but our enduring commitment to principled conduct in
foreign relations, and to the rights of all people to freedom and equal justice, was even more
esteemed." Indeed, "The world needs American leadership, and it is in America's interest to
provide it. A world led by authoritarian regimes is a world -- and an America -- with less
prosperity, less freedom, less peace."
In fact, Romney appears more committed to dependence on allies than American leadership. For
him, these are two sides of the same coin. The only alternative he sees to Washington in
control is the bad guys leading.
Related is Romney's apparent belief that foreign policy is fixed, irrespective of
circumstance: the very same U.S.-dominated alliances created in 1950 are needed today. Although
America's friends have raced ahead economically, politically, even militarily, Washington must
forever treat them as helpless derelicts. For instance, Russia, a weakened declining power,
faces the U.S. and Europe -- which together have more than 20 times its GDP. Yet Romney sees
Moscow as the greatest threat facing America. It is 1945 all over again.
Romney's most important omission is Iraq. After the war there turned bad, he remained silent
about his support for it. The Iraq disaster is an important reason why Trump won and other
Republicans, including Romney, lost. In 2008, Americans rejected John McCain, the very symbol
of promiscuous war-making. Four years later, Romney criticized President Barack Obama for
leaving Iraq too soon, by which the Republican nominee probably meant leaving at any time. In
saying he would keep more troops in Iraq, he ignored the fact that the Iraqis had refused to
negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Bush administration.
Romney also failed to mention Afghanistan, both as a presidential candidate in 2012 and
senator in 2019. After all, what good can be said for entering the 18th year of nation-building
in a region of little strategic interest? As for Syria, last November, Romney predictably
denounced as "recklessness in the extreme" exiting a multi-sided civil war in a country never
important to America.
Now Romney is being touted as the new standard-bearer for the bipartisan War Party, filling
in for John McCain. Bloomberg columnist Hal Brands theorized that Romney was attempting to
"position himself as heir to John McCain as the congressional conscience of U.S. diplomacy"
(defined as advocating policies designed to prolifically kill and destroy).
Towards this effort, Romney is articulating "a renewed Republican internationalism based on
opposition to aggressive authoritarian regimes." Brands celebrates Romney's Russophobia, saying
he "deserves credit for being anti-Russia before being anti-Russia was cool." No hint that the
U.S. might have contributed to Moscow's hostility through the aggressive "internationalism" of
Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama -- violating commitments not to
expand NATO, dismantling Moscow's Slavic friend Serbia, and encouraging violent regime change
against an elected government that neighbored Russia. After all, equivalent Russian
intervention in Mexico would have triggered an extremely hostile reaction in Washington.
Neoconservative Max Boot lauded Romney for throwing "down the gauntlet to President Trump."
Indeed, argued Boot, "it now falls upon Romney to champion the cause of principled conservatism
in Washington." Boot hoped the freshman senator would lead a general opposition and seemed
especially pleased at Romney's support for the interventionist status quo.
Yet the passion-less Romney is a poor substitute for the perennially angry McCain. It is
difficult to imagine Romney leading Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman on another apocalyptic
ride, demanding that death and destruction be visited upon an enemy du jour. Indeed, Romney
admitted as much, complained TheNew York Times , which noted that he said he
"would only speak out against Mr. Trump on issues of 'great significance,' which means not
Worse, Romney is a typical denizen of Washington and lacks any connection to the disastrous
consequences of his policies. Give McCain credit: he and his sons served in the military. Not
Romney. He received four deferments during the Vietnam War, explaining that he "had other
plans." This sounds eerily like Dick Cheney, who said his five deferments reflected "other
Moreover, none of Romney's five sons served. That is, of course, their prerogative. But
their decision further insulated Romney from any consequences of his policies. His response to
questions about their lack of service: "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our
nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president." Did Romney
believe working for him was as dangerous as fighting Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah? Or that his
personal interest in winning the election was as important as the nation winning a war?
My friend William Smith at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University
argued that Romney's article "is another clear sign that the bipartisan political establishment
is largely oblivious to the terrible tragedy of wartime casualties disproportionately inflicted
on certain communities." Candidate Trump did particularly well in states that so suffered.
Complained Smith: "What is astonishing is that, after all this tragedy, Romney offers only
cliched neoconservative bromides to the many heartbroken communities across the nation."
However, The Blob, which dominates foreign policy under both parties, poses an even larger
problem. These policymakers consider permanent war to be America's natural condition. They seek
to suppress dissident views to ensure united support for permanent war. Anyone who hesitates to
back every proposed new intervention is demonized and marginalized.
The favorite technique, recently employed by Frederick Kagan in The Hill, is to call
opponents, irrespective of their actual positions, "isolationists." Thus did Kagan urge left
and right "internationalists" -- meaning military interventionists -- to work together to
defend "the principle that the United States must remain actively engaged in the world," by
which he meant warring without end on multiple countries.
Exclaimed Kagan: "The isolationists who have condemned the United States involvement in the
Middle East and the rest of the world for decades are about to get their wish. We will witness
what the world looks like when left to its own devices."
Egads. Imagine what might have happened had the U.S. not intervened in the Lebanese Civil
War, armed Turkey to kill tens of thousands of Kurds and destroy thousands of Kurdish villages,
invaded Iraq and triggered sectarian conflict, fostered civil war in Libya and the chaos that
followed, supported decades of violent occupation over millions of Palestinians by Israel,
backed murderous Saudi Arabia in Bahrain and Yemen, supported a coup against Iran's
democratically elected government and a brutal invasion backed by chemical weapons against
Iran's Islamist regime, actively underwritten tyranny across the Middle East, and tried to sort
out the Syrian Civil War. Something bad might have happened.
In Syria, Kagan views as "isolationist" the withdrawal of an illegal military deployment
that risks violent confrontation with Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Russia over minor stakes. In
contrast, "internationalism" means war everywhere all the time, especially in a country like
Trump, complained Kagan, is leaving "Afghanistan for no clear reason whatsoever." No reason
other than Washington long ago having achieved its objective of degrading and displacing
al-Qaeda and punishing the Taliban for hosting al-Qaeda. And eventually having recognized,
after more than 17 years passed, trillions of dollars were spent, and thousands of lives were
lost, that using force to create a liberal democracy in Central Asia is a fool's errand. Why
It has oft been recognized that Donald Trump is a flawed vehicle to achieve almost any
foreign policy end. However, he still possesses far more common sense than Mitt Romney. It is
time to rescue "internationalism" from those who love humanity so much that they would destroy
the world in order to save it.
Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to
President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire
.MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR
I truly voted against Romney when he ran for president because of his omnidirectional
belligerence. I also didn't like his vulture capitalism style (and I did technical due
diligence for venture capital activities as a side line).
Romney just guaranteed that he won't get the nomination. Amazing, really, stupid and
He could at the least have shown a little "growth" in the direction of populist disgust with
the wasteful, reckless, failed wars, not to mention concerns about the growth of government and
corporate mass surveillance of the public, and the continuing unholy collaboration between Wall
Street, Silicon Valley, and Washington in ripping off taxpayers and importing cheap labor to
take American jobs.
Not Mitt. He seems to think he's running for president of our utterly discredited,
Let's all thank the knuckle-headed Utahns for delivering another unimaginative empty suit to
the Nation's State House. Sure, Trump is often a boor, and unmistakably human, but give me a
man-child with conviction and Devil-may-care determination over a dapper dolt whose ideas are
contrived platitudes and whose passion is a Macbeth-like obsession with stature and power any
day of the week and twice on Sunday. Well written Mr. Bandow! Keep fighting the good fight.
I get the sense that the "isolationist" line doesn't work any more. It was a commonly used
rhetorical weapon 10 years ago, and it effectively silenced opposition. Now it's not used much,
and it seems to be ignored or derided when it is used. Most Americans understand now that
maintaining and expanding an empire is destroying us.
You really don't get Romney, do you. Who are you to decided what anyone sees or feels. Do you
think you could use the word seems like a professional journalist. I don't construe
Romney that way. You SEEM to put words in his mouth and thought in his head. Please be
My take is Mitt see's himself as a Gerald Ford calming effect, for this 4 year disruption, the
Swamp battles with. The Deep state needs an impeachment win and soon. With that said it will be
ever difficult for the Beltway to change Americans perception , they don't trust the
For someone so smart Romney should realize that Americans will reject him (again), when he
takes up the mantle of McCain (again) as quickly as they did the last time. But that he fails
to realize that substance trumps form, which is why 67 million Americans voted for the
President, demonstrates what a shallow narcisst and sociopath he is. I mean, it's okay to rob
your neighbor so long as you say "please" and "thank you," isn't it?
The writer states: "Now Romney is being touted as the new standard-bearer for the bipartisan
War Party, filling in for John McCain."
I believe The "War Party" are:
"The Maniacs of Militarism"
The maniacs of militarism are creating wars
Countries are bombed by warmongering whores
Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other countries too
Are hell holes of the earth, "The work," of this insane crew
Enabled by politicians in positions of power
These well dressed war criminals hide and cower
The generals salute their political masters
Then the brainwashed obey these bemedaled disasters
Cities are destroyed and reduced to rubble
Where are the perpetrators that created all this trouble?
They are residing in luxury and given fancy titles
War crimes trials are needed, and are so vital
But this is not happening: the system is corrupted
And these evil beings, by some are worshiped
Blood-soaked villains that never do the fighting
They are the "experts" that do the inciting
They are the producers of death and destruction
Others are profiteers of all the bloody actions
Missiles, bombs and horrendous weapons
There is no end to the endless aggression
Millions are dead, and millions are homeless
Millions are refugees, and all this is atrocious
Once they had jobs, families, and homes as well
Then their countries were bombed by the agents from hell
Setting the world on fire is what these war arsonists do
The money for their depredations comes from me and you
They have made us all accessories to their criminal acts
Our Taxes are the blood money and that is a fact
More war is needed to keep armies trained and employed
More wars are needed so that countries can be destroyed
More killing, bombing, destruction and death
More of this is needed until the victims have nothing left
[read more at link below]
Romney is such an empty suit i'm not sure if he isn't weakening his position just by virtue
that, he Romney, supports it.
Does this guy inspire anyone to any emotion other than revulsion? Along with Hillary, they
both strike me both as elites who want to become president, not from any actual passions or
desires, but because they've run out of other things to add to their C.V.
The only thing I can say with certainty that Mitt Romney believes in, is Mitt Romney. So I'm
intensely skeptical that ANYONE in America, aside from the most firebrand resistance types, are
going to take anything coming out of this corporate drone's mouth with any seriousness. And
even for the resistance types the support would equally follow a labrador retriever, just so
long as it opposed Trump, so Mitt doesn't even have that thin thread of loyatly going for
I guess that leaves him with the neocons as BFFs. They're welcome to each other.
Why are we ragging on Romney? Is it because he had the audacity to criticize Trump? Shouldn't
we wait until he actually does something bad before ragging on him? Has he lied 6,000 times in
the last few years, for example? Did he refuse to rake the forests?
I think Romney is simply miffed that the boorish Trump became president and he did not and
sadly, he may be running for president again. I think someone used the word revulsion about
Romney. I approve. It's ironic the boorish Trump isn't nearly as revolting as the urbane Mitt.
For me it's the straw man arguments that are most egregious. As an Arizonan, I knew John
McCain, and Romney is no McCain (whose like we will never see again, if we're lucky).
Just to single out one objection to Mr. Bandow's argument: Romney didn't refer to the SOFA,
which supposedly required Obama to abandon Iraq, for the very good reason that Leon Panetta,
who should know, has said that Obama, with plenty of time to do it, made no effort whatsoever
to re-negotiate the SOFA 2011 deadline. Panetta regrets this and so do I.
Romney is the epitome of the decay of the USA. Further, he shows the complete inability of the
Republican party to choose the correct casting. After Bush and Iraq they propose McPain. After
the Great Financial Crisis they propose Mittens. It's akin to cast Dany de Vito to play
Casanova. When Trump is gone, this party is finished.
I approve. It's ironic the boorish Trump isn't nearly as revolting as the urbane Mitt.
That Americans are revolted more by Romney than by Trump, in fact, speaks well for them. All
morally mature folk should be repelled more by a polite, urbane, well-scrubbed pirate, who made
his fortune destroying people's lives and wealth than by a loud-talking, crude womanizer, who
creates wealth and, in fact, shows his concern for the people below him more than the polite,
charming, well-bred pirate.
If Utah has a problem with Trump they could have elected a Democrat.
Romney is obsolete. Never Trump Republicans are sinking in a tar pit. Romney cannot be
nominated much less elected even if Trump does not run. He can help with the impeachment of
Trump if it comes to that. But again, a Democrat would be more useful.
"... What's 5 billion dollars for a largely useless wall compared to this. The mind boggles. ..."
"... "People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy. They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy; it is 'Don't interrupt the money flow, add to it.'" -Col. John R. Boyd (USAF Ret.) John Boyd (Fighter Pilot, Tactician, Strategist, Conceptual Designer, Reformer) died in 1997. ..."
Hogue In past years, Congress has become notorious for adding dubious items we call "pork" to
spending bills. That way, senators and House members can advertise themselves to their
constituents as bringing home the bacon, while picking up a few campaign contributions from
thankful contractors along the way.
This practice was particularly notorious in defense bills, especially, and only became worse
during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After they were exposed spending billions of taxpayer
dollars for earmarked projects like museums, artificial lungs, and VIP air transports for
senior generals, bureaucrats, and lawmakers, Congress supposedly reformed the practice of
earmarking -- first in 2007 by the Democrats in the majority, and again in 2011 by the
Republicans in the majority, who claimed to have banned them altogether.
In truth, both parties in Congress have simply swapped the pork system for a scheme that is
even more venal and underhanded. They've circumvented their own rules and are putting even more
pork in defense bills than before. They hypocritically proclaim that their bills are
earmark-free, while simultaneously boasting about the pork to constituents. They deceptively
pay for the hidden earmarks by raiding essential accounts for soldiers' pay and military
readiness, and they readily accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions
from the very contractors who received huge chunks of the billions of dollars that Congress
The new pork system is deceptive and complex. It took all of my 31 years of experience on
Capitol Hill to fully unravel it, with the help of some excellent research from two outstanding
watchdog groups, Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Taxpayers Protection
To explain, let's start with one of the more brazen acts of hypocrisy.
On October 22, Niels Lesniewski
reported in Roll Call that 10 senators from both parties announced
in a letter to the House and Senate leadership that they wanted to strengthen the existing
ban on earmarks and make it impossible for anyone to "bring back earmarks" as President Donald
Trump and others have
suggested . Their
new bill , they said, would impose even more serious procedural blocks on any earmark in
any bill. But the bill, the senators' press release, and their letter are a sham. Another
Roll Call reporter pointed out that gimmicks
and various porky items in a new
Department of Defense appropriations bill gave the lie to the idea that contemporary bills were
free of earmarks. And Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance noted at
the same time that the new DoD appropriations bill, just signed into law, was already stuffed
with hundreds of earmarks costing billions of dollars.
The explanation of Congress's new, more deceptive and expensive pork system starts with
that "America is being respected again" on September 28, while signing an appropriations
bill into law that provided $675 billion to the Pentagon. The bill was passed in the House
of Representatives with the vote of four of every five House members and in the Senate with
almost nine of every 10 senators.
Speech after speech credited the bill with solving the problem of planes that cannot fly,
ships with repairs delayed for years, and pay increases for soldiers who deserve more for their
Notably, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the top-ranking Democrat on the Defense
Appropriations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, praised the bill he helped
to write, saying , "The
priority of this defense bill is supporting our troops . This bill shows what Democrats and
Republicans can accomplish when we work across the aisle to solve problems." The chairman of
the subcommittee, Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, who had an even larger hand in
shaping the bill,
said , "I am proud to present this legislation to my colleagues and urge their strong
The issues they didn't talk about
Despite numerous speeches in the congressional record praising the defense spending bill,
important details attracted not one word of discussion. The bill was riddled with earmarks, and
the very pay and military readiness accounts that member after member praised were being raided
to pay for it. This is hardly new. In my three decades on Capitol Hill, this behavior was
typical -- and even self-styled "pork busters" including, I regret to say, the recently passed
Senator John McCain, were known to participate. Despite the rule changes in 2007 and 2011,
nothing ultimately changed for the better. Today, the money flow for earmarks has greatly
increased, and the process that was once evident with a little inspection has been almost
What earmarks? The legislation has none; it says so. The joint explanatory statement (JES)
for the defense spending bill, which purports to clarify the statutory text, contains the
following on page two : "The
conference agreement does not contain any congressional earmarks as defined by clause 9 of rule
XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives."
That rule defines an earmark as
spending specifically requested by a member of Congress for "an entity, or targeted to a
specific State, locality or congressional district ." But simply fuzz up the authorship,
recipient, or location of an added spending item, and it transforms from an earmark to a
"congressional special interest item." There are hundreds of those, most of them buried in
sparsely worded tables in the JES.
But these congressional special interest items are important: the conference committee that
wrote the JES went to some length to cite them to the Pentagon for special treatment; they made
the congressional special interest items subject to special rules to prevent DoD from reducing
the amount to be spent. That conference committee, appointed to resolve differences between the
House and Senate versions of the bill, consisted of senior members of the same House and Senate
defense appropriations subcommittees who wrote the original bills, such as Senators Durbin and
Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS)
reported that 68 procurement programs in this defense bill received $7.5 billion in new,
unrequested spending, a large portion
going to the Lockheed Corporation. These are blatant earmarks, as explained by TCS, which also
pointed out that the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee added $5.6 billion to the
procurement account for these items, while its Senate counterpart added a more generous $6.2
billion. The bill was "compromised" by the conference committee at a level above both: $7.5
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) tabulated
all the add-ons in the bill -- not just the 68 in Procurement -- above the Pentagon's
request. Again, the Senate Defense Subcommittee proved more generous than the House, and again
the final conference was higher than either subcommittee's recommendation. TPA found 679
earmarks costing $19.3 billion.
Pigs in a poke
Are these earmarks all pork, that is, poorly justified spending slipped into bills to enable
a member to boast that he or she can "bring home the bacon" for jobs back home or to appease
The authors of this bill don't want you to know. In the past, earmarks would specify things
like "Intrepid Naval Museum," "Fort Richardson Running Trail," or "Fort Huachuca Readiness
Center" as the recipient, and for a short period, committee reports identified them and their
House or Senate sponsors.
Now, none of that is done. Instead, sparsely worded tables contain vague entries like
"Program Increase." Many add a hint such as designating the increase for "modernization" or
"silicon fiber research." But there is nothing to indicate the state or district, the
contractor, or any other specifics. Hence, they do not technically qualify as "earmarks."
However, after the bill is law, congressional staff contact the Pentagon to make sure it knows
where the money is to go -- and what will happen if it doesn't.
Perhaps the biggest joke is the recent debate on whether it would be a good idea to "bring
back earmarks." They never went away. The hypocrisy of the members who opine on this is only
exceeded by the cluelessness of the press and the president, who raised it as something to
ponder. Then there's the mendacity of those 10 senators who designed their phony legislation to
pretend earmarks are gone and must not be allowed to come back. The last section of their bill
reads as follows : "(e) APPLICATION. -- This section shall not apply to any authorization
of appropriations to a Federal entity if such authorization is not specifically targeted to a
State, locality, or congressional district."
Yes, you are reading that right: the bill exempts any earmark that fuzzes up the targeted
location, and under the existing system that would be all of them. The 10 authors of this fraud
are the following: Senators Claire McCaskill, Jeff Flake, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Rob
Portman, Joni Ernst, James Lankford, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz.
Too big to be hidden
Despite the carefully applied opacity, some of the biggest giveaways and their authors are
clear. The House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee chairwoman, Texas Republican Kay Granger,
identified as behind $726 million added for six additional F-35Cs to be built by Lockheed
in her Fort Worth congressional district.
But is this an example of pork? Granger and official Pentagon witnesses would surely testify
that more F-35Cs are urgently needed. Others, including myself and colleagues at the Project on
Government Oversight, will tell you that the F-35 is an ineffective
boondoggle and is
not ready for initial operational testing, let alone expanded production. However, despite
many critical Government Accountability Office evaluations and embarrassing official and
leaked reports from
the Pentagon, the majority of Congress rejects such advice and welcomes more F-35 spending.
Pork is in the eye of the beholder.
However, such easily identified earmarks are few and far between.
$676 billion for the defense bill; the final Conference Report reduced that by $1.1 billion to
$674.9 billion. How was the additional $19.3 billion found by TPA for 679 earmarks stuffed into
a bill that cut spending?
touting the "largest pay raise for troops in nearly a decade" and claiming the bill
"improves military readiness," Defense Subcommittee Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Durbin, and
other authors actually cut the budget for both.
the Pentagon's request for military pay, the Military Personnel account, by $2.1 billion.
That's right: while praising themselves for supporting higher pay, they actually cut the budget
for it. The request was $148.2 billion; the bill provided $146.1 billion.
Praising their handiwork on supporting military readiness, they
cut the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) request from the Pentagon by $5.8 billion.
O&M is a huge diverse account, but it is also the heart and core of spending for training,
maintenance, spare parts, military depots, and everything else that means "readiness." The
Pentagon requested $199.5 billion; it got $193.7 billion.
The way they cut both the Military Personnel and O&M accounts was notably duplicitous. A
veteran journalist, John M. Donnelly, reported
in Roll Call that most cuts were obtusely justified with explanations such as
"Revised Estimate," "Historical Unobligated Balances," and "Not Properly Accounted."
My own research shows $809 million of cuts in those "Revised Estimates." They are completely
unexplained in any text and neither committee report from the House or Senate appropriations
committees mentions any such reduction. They appear to have been an invention of the conference
When I worked for a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member (Republican Senator
Pete Domenici of New Mexico), I observed staffers being instructed to phony up reductions with
just such a ruse. In one case, to make room for all senators' earmarks, the subcommittee
chairman, Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, directed the staff to use the earmark
dollar total to determine the cuts to be announced. I suspect this crude offset technique
underlies the "revised estimates" that appeared out of nowhere.
In both R&D and Procurement, they cut $1.5 billion using "Historical Unobligated
Balances" or "Historical Unobligations" as a reason. An unobligated balance is money that DoD
has planned but not yet spent: the program may be behind schedule, or it may be on schedule,
but the timetable for sending out the money has not occurred yet. Here, some unidentified actor
took the money away without a word of explanation as to what parts of the program were being
lost or why.
The "Not Properly Accounted" justification meant $706 million in unexplained cuts.
Another term in the bill is "Rate Adjustments"; they cut $124 million. How is this different
from "Revised Estimate" or "Historical Unobligated Balances?" The House Defense Subcommittee
contains not a word of explanation. The Senate
Defense Subcommittee report contains assertions of "Improving funds management: Rate
adjustments," but that is all the explanation you get.
Further indecipherable cuts included "Unjustified Growth," another $1.1 billion; "Excess
Growth," $468 million; "Underexecution," $134 million; and "Insufficient Justification," $35
Yet another ruse was to transfer $2 billion out of the O&M budget to Title IX of the
bill that funds the "Global War on Terrorism." But there, only $1.4 billion of the transferred
$2 billion is actually retained. The transfer is a shell game.
There are other ruses in other parts of the bill; the details are mind-bending, but you get
They were cutting military pay and readiness accounts so they could add to the DoD Research
and Development (R&D) and the Procurement accounts. That's where the vast majority of the
earmarks -- rather, congressional special interest items -- are.
In R&D they added
$3.9 billion to the Pentagon's request. The account went from $91 billion to $94.9 billion. In
Procurement, they added
$4.8 billion to the Pentagon's request of $130.6 billion. Some of the earmarks in these
accounts were huge. The controversial F-35 got over $2 billion in several earmarks, the
notorious Littoral Combat Ship got $950 million, unrequested C-130s got $640 million, and so
Other unspoken consequences
While money over the years was being redirected to earmarks, something very different was
happening at the other end of the world -- among our operating military forces.
On January 8, 2014, 29-year-old Liuetenant Wes Van Dorn died when his MH-53E Sea Dragon
helicopter, beset with maintenance problems the Navy had deferred, caught fire due to frayed
wires and a leaking fuel line. He had been battling for three years to get adequate spare parts
and much-needed refurbishment work to bring these old and unreliable helicopters up to
minimally safe flying condition. His was only one of
several lethal accidents involving the MH-53E resulting from inadequate maintenance, as
reported by Mike Hixenbaugh and others in the The Virginian-Pilot and in a
new documentary by investigative reporter Zachary Stauffer.
Such accidents resulted from raiding O&M money, such as in 2010 when, for example,
Democratic Defense Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha of Pennsylvania cut O&M by a
net $2.3 billion to stuff money into earmarks.
Advertising the earmarks they said didn't exist
Though their legislation proclaims earmarks banned, the authors of the defense bill changed
their tune when they self-advertised to constituents.
In a press release from his personal office, Senator Dick Durbin
declared , "From Rock Island Arsenal to Scott Airforce Base and Naval Station Great Lakes,
Illinois [t]his bill safeguards Illinois defense jobs by continuing investments in our state's
defense installations and initiatives." Durbin took credit for funding nine programs in
Illinois, costing $2.8 billion, most of it for Boeing -- headquartered in Chicago and the
producer of the Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet and MQ-25 Stingray refueling drone.
Subcommittee Chairman Shelby
claimed he helped acquire $8.3 billion for 25 projects in Alabama.
claimed she helped win over $12.3 billion for Fort Worth -- including $9.4 billion for
Lockheed's F-35, $1.8 billion for Lockheed's C-130J, and $1.1 billion for the Bell Boeing
Note that they each claimed credit not just for their add-ons but for the entire program
expense, including both the Pentagon-requested money and money spent outside their states or
districts. For example, the C-130 is assembled in Marietta, Georgia, not Durbin's Illinois, and
the F-18's engines are contracted by General Electric in Ohio. In fact, the entire F-18 is
fabricated in Missouri; Durbin is advertising himself not to workers but to the Boeing
The ranking member on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Pete J. Visclosky of
Indiana, did not participate in these overblown claims. His website shows no press release
listing defense budget goodies for his Indiana district.
The under the table incentives
On the other hand, Visclosky was no shrinking violet when it came to accepting campaign
contributions from the corporations benefiting from the legislation's earmarks.
OpenSecrets.org, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics that documents federal
campaign contributions, shows that for his 2018 reelection campaign, Visclosky
accepted $347,933 from defense-related donors,
$59,800 of it from Lockheed . The $347,933 constituted 27 percent of Visclosky's
total campaign contributions , reported as of November 2018. For these and other efforts,
Visclosky is getting a promotion: with the Democrats taking over the House next year, he is
slated to be defense subcommittee chairman.
The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member, Senator Durbin, does not run
for reelection until 2020. The OpenSecrets.org data on his last election in 2014 show that
accepted $236,549 from defense aerospace donors, making him the Senate's top beneficiary of
such donations at the time. Adding other defense contribution categories, he
took in $455,799 .
Senator Shelby's total reported defense-related contributions for his reelection in 2016,
before he became defense subcommittee chairman, were $334,800. Commensurate with his elevation
to chairman in 2018, he
received $1,048,000 , nearly tripling his defense-related total, and he is four years away
from his next campaign in 2022.
All this adds up to a Pentagon budget process in Congress that is:
Dishonest : The
bill and its authors proclaim it is free of earmarks, but it has 679 of them costing $19.3
billion according to research from an independent group. Deceptive : The bill's authors,
with huge support from the rest of Congress, proclaim their dedication to better pay for the
troops and military readiness, and yet cut those very accounts by almost $8 billion. The
reductions are arbitrary and vague, and are used to offset those 679 earmarks. The senators and
representatives circumvent their own rules on earmarks by fuzzing up sponsors, recipients, and
locations, making the entire process opaque. Hypocritical : Imagine the gall of nine
Republicans and one Democrat with their bill to profess earmarks gone and making sure they
don't "come back." There is nothing new about members of Congress posing as pork reformers and
actually being pork enablers; however, these 10 assume an unprecedented level of cluelessness
among the press; in some but not all corners, they were right to do so. Mercenary :
$19.3 billion in earmarks makes rich material for senators and representatives to advertise
themselves, with considerable exaggeration, as successful porkers for their states and
districts. They also accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from the contractors, lobbyists,
and PACs that benefit from the millions, if not billions, of dollars that the Pentagon never
All this is not illegal, but according to common English, it is venal.
Winslow T. Wheeler worked in the U.S. Senate for Republican and Democratic senators and
in the Government Accountability Office on national security issues for 31 years. After he left
the Senate in 2002, he ran the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense
Information, which moved to the Project on Government Oversight in 2012. He retired in
"People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy. They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a
strategy; it is 'Don't interrupt the money flow, add to it.'" -Col. John R. Boyd (USAF Ret.)
John Boyd (Fighter Pilot, Tactician, Strategist, Conceptual Designer, Reformer) died in
This is a solid article by a very respected critic of the obscene defense spending and weapons
programs. I believe Mr Wheeler early on was on this F-35 debacle, labeling it the flying swiss
army knife. (aplogies to the manufacturer of the knife and its fans.) Notable of recent are a
series of feel good reports that the F-35 is combat ready, etc. Hopefully, the pilots of the
F-35's will never have to face the real test.
Thank you, Mr Wheeler, for the continuation of exposing this fraud.
who has spent time in Ukraine knows how deep hatred of Russia goes
I don't know where is Ukraine you spent your time and in what company, but this is
complete BS. The South-Eastern Ukraine hates the Western Ukrainian "banderovtsi" as much as
the Russians do if not more -- after all, the followers of Bandera operated mostly on the
Ukrainian soil. There are deranged individuals in every country, of course, and Ukraine has
been subjected lately to intense hate propaganda as well as repressions, but there is no
hatred of Russia. This is contradicted by both sociology and everyday behavior of Ukrainian,
which move to Russia in droves, spend time in Russia, support Russian sport teams, etc.
we are supposed to dismiss the actual wishes of Ukrainians, Estonians, Poles, Georgians
and other peoples who hate Russia (and love the US)
Nobody is asking about what the real Ukrainians, Estonians, Georgians or even Poles
actually think, least of all the US. There are almost as many Georgians living in Russia as
there are in Georgia, and they show no desire to move back. In 2008 during the conflict,
their biggest fear was that they'd be deported.
The Ukraine's Maidan was a violent coup, where a few thousand militants armed and trained
abroad overthrew a government elected by the entire country. Protests that immediately
started all over the country were suppressed with force -- the one in Donbass still is.
How could anyone with an access to Internet remain unaware of these facts is beyond
Akuleyev Why should anyone freaking care and put his ass in the line of fire because you
bunch of primitives hate Russia? Between having a nuclear cataclysm because you pathetic
dwarfs of nations are frustrated to have a neighbour you can't bully and Russia obliterating
you, I say let Russia obliterate you, thus we won't have to suffer the ear-hurting
dissonnance of your incessant whining any more. Though I doubt Russia would stomp on you.
When you see shit, you don't stomp on it, you don't want you don't want your shoes to stink,
you just walk around it.
That's an interesting point. Even if true, doesn't matter. One could wonder ..who are the
people populating Ukrainian Armed Forces?
Or who are the guys, in Ukrainian Armed Forces, presently engaged against Donbass? All of
them. Including those is logistics/maintenance depots far away from the (current) line of
The will to fight against "Russia" ranges from a deep hate to simply not wishing to go
against the (current) Ukrainian government. The former are in those "shock" battalions. The
later are manning the logistics train. And everything in between.
Now .if/when a real shooting starts, as soon as Russia, as expected (and desired) by the
most of readers here, starts delivering ordnance into operational depth of Donbass enemy, the
ratio hate/don't care shall shift, hard and fast. Not in Russian favor, I suspect.
In my opinion, no dementia. Too many careers and institutions are built on continuing
hostility towards Russia. First ECB President Duisenberg's ph d thesis had as title 'The
economic consequences of peace', something like that, his conclusion was that
demilitarization was possible economically, when controlled sensibly.
Did anyone read 'The Iron Mountain Report', I never quite knew what to make of it, but it
also is about if demilitarization is possible. Barbara Hinckley Sheldon Goldman, American
Politics and Government, Glenview Ill.,1990 describes how the USA weapons industry skillfully
prevents that spending on useless weapons diminishes. The history of the later Roman empire,
the army in control.
Naomi Klein's book "Shock Doctrine", encapsulated by this post as "global elites used periods of crisis around the world to force
damaging neoliberal policies derived from the Chicago School and Washington Consensus upon unhappy populations that suffered greatly
as a result."
"... Eventually, Poland emerged as the major US agent of influence within the EU (along with GB) with the adamant anti-Russian stance. Which taking into account the real state of Polish manufacturing deprived of the major market is very questionable. Later by joining sanctions, they lost Russian agricultural market (including all apple market in which they have a prominent position). ..."
"... Gowan's book, Global Gamble, is also good on the details of shock therapy in the former Warsaw Pact nations. One key problem was that shock therapy partly rested on he assumption that western European buyers would want to invest in modernizing plant and equipment in industries they acquired, but it quickly turned out that the German and other western buyers were really interested only in acquiring new MARKETS for their own products. ..."
"... I remember a couple of paragraphs about Poland in my Economics 101 course, some 20 years ago. Was it in in Mankiw's book? or Lipsey-Chrystal? I do not remember anymore. One of those vicious neoliberal propaganda mouthpieces, anyway. The textbook pitched Poland's success story against Russia's abject failure, claiming that the former had dismantled and shut down all its inefficient state-run companies, while the latter still kept its unprofitable heavy industry on life support. ..."
"... Somehow neoclassical economists always distort history into a cartoonish parody that confirms their models. ..."
"... If you looked carefully, you could still find older books, barely touched, that touted Albania as a neoliberal success story along the same lines as Poland. Albania almost collapsed in civil war in 1998. ..."
"... The author's criticism doesn't really address Klein's central points at all, which would be that the crisis was used as leverage to ram through otherwise politically unpalatable change, and that a great deal of the constraint forcing that was provided by actors both undemocratic and external. He seems to be of the school that regards such niceties as beside the point, as long as various macroaggregates eventually rose. ..."
"... Any discussion of the Polish economy that completely ignores this massive level of economic outmigration, and it's continued rise among the young, misses a great deal. In a vibrant economy, it seems unlikely that so many educated Poles would find, for example, lower tier jobs in Britain to be their best path forward. ..."
"... Out-migration is a huge factor in eastern and central Europe and without it, the picture would look entirely different. The Baltics, Bulgaria and Romania are even more affected. ..."
"... Inter-war Poland is celebrated a lot in Poland these days, conveniently ignoring the facts it was really a totalitarian state – when Czechoslovakia was Muniched in 1938, Poles (and Hugarians) were quick to grab bits of territory right after that. ..."
"... Poland has taken around a million Ukrainians over the past ten years so while many Poles are emigrating to Europe, they are being replaced by Ukrainians, who are ethnically and linguistically fairly similar to Poles. ..."
The argument largely seems to hold for the original poster boy example in Chile with the Pinochet coup against the socialist Allende
regime. A military coup replaced a democratically government. Whiole Chlle was experiencing a serious inflation, it was not in a
full-blown economic collapse. The coup was supported by US leaders Nixon and Kissinger, who saw themselves preventing the emergence
of pro-Soviet regime resembling Castro's Cuba. Thousands were killed, and a sweeping set of laisssez faire policies were imposed
with the active participation of "Chicago Boys" associated with Milton Friedman. In fact, aside from bringing down inflation these
rreforms did not initially improve economic performance, even as foreign capital flowed in, especially into the copper industry,
although the core of that industry remained nationalized. After several years the Chicago Boys were sent away and more moderate policies,
including a reimposition of controls on foreign capital flows, the economy did grow quite rapidly. But this left a deeply unequal
income distribution in place, which would largely remain the case even after Pinochet was removed from power and parliamentary democracy
This scenario was argued to happen in many other narions, especially those in the former Sovit bloc as the soviet Union disintegrated
and its successor states and the former members of the Soviet bloc in the CMEA and Warsaw Pact also moved to some sort of market
capitalism imposed from outside with policies funded by the IMF and following the Washington Consensus. Although he has since expressed
regret for this role in this, a key player linking what was done in several Latin American nations and what went down after 1989
in Eastern and Central Europe was Jeffrey Sachs. Klein's discussion especially of what went down in Russia also looks pretty sound
by and large, wtthout dragging through the details, although in these cases the political shift was from dictatorships run by Communist
parties dominated out of Moscow to at least somewhat more democratic governments, although not in all of the former Soviet republics
such as in Central Asia and with many of these later backsliding towards more authoritarian governments later. In Russia and in many
oothers large numbers of people were thrown into poverty from which they have not recovered. Klein has also extended this argument
to other nations, including South Africa after the end of apartheid.
The level of the naivety of Barkley Rosser is astounding.
Poland was a political project, the showcase for the neoliberal project in Eastern Europe and the USSR. EU was pressed to provide
large subsidies, and that marionette complied. The commenter ilpalazzo (above) is right that there has been " a tremendous development
in real estate and infrastructure mostly funded by the EU that has been a serious engine of growth." Like in Baltics and Ukraine,
German, French, Swedish and other Western buyers were most interested in opening market for their products and getting rid of
local and xUSSR competitors (and this supported and promoted Russophobia). With very few exceptions. University education system
also was partially destroyed, but still fared better than most manufacturing industries.
I remember talking to one of the Polish professors of economics when I was in Poland around 1992. He said that no matter how
things will develop, the Polish economy will never be allowed to fail as the USA is interested in propelling it at all costs.
That means that there was no CIA activity to undermine the financial system, deindustrialize the country, and possibly to partition
the county like it was in Russia with Harvard mafia (Summers, Shleifer, etc.)
Still, they lost quite a bit of manufacturing: for example all shipbuilding, which is ironic as Lech Wałęsa and Solidarity
emerged in this industry.
Eventually, Poland emerged as the major US agent of influence within the EU (along with GB) with the adamant anti-Russian
stance. Which taking into account the real state of Polish manufacturing deprived of the major market is very questionable. Later
by joining sanctions, they lost Russian agricultural market (including all apple market in which they have a prominent position).
But they have a large gas pipeline on their territory, so I suspect that like Ukraine they make a lot of money via transit
fees simply due to geographic. So they parochially live off rent -- that why they bark so much at North Stream 2.
Polish elite is a real horror show, almost beyond redemption, and not only in economics. I do not remember, but I think it
was Churchill who said " Poland is a greedy hyena of Europe." This is as true now as it was before WWII.
Now they are propelled by cheap labor from Ukraine, which they helped to destroy (along with Sweden and Germany)
My post seem to have vanished into oblivion so I'm pasting from the clipboard.
I am a Pole and have been a daily reader here since 2008. I hope a better versed compatriot will come out of the closet and
give a better picture (I know there are a few).
Let's just say the shock was pretty bad. In terms of amount of human suffering the worst was dissolving state owned farms.
Hundreds of thousands of people were just let go without any help, although many farms were profitable and others could be restructured
or converted into collectives etc. I live in a small town where there was a huge state farm and I can see former employees started
to recover and get by just recently judging by the looks of their dwellings.
Most of the manufacturing and heavy industry was sold off and extinguished. We used to have pretty decent capital producing
capabilities like tooling etc. Not a trace of that now. There is a lot being manufactured now here but mostly simple components
for german industry to assemble.
Pension system was thoroughly looted by you know who and is a ticking time bomb. Most of it was quasi privatized – that is
managed by western companies but still part of the state system. There were supposed to be individual saving accounts managed
by sophisticated investment specialists but the money ended up invested in state bonds, issued to subsidize it. Managing fee 7
– 10 percent charge on every payment into the system, regardless of performance, anyone? It was a heist of the century.
The ticking time bomb is because a large part of young people working now are working on non – permanent contracts that don't
pay benefits. These people won't have any pension at all and there are a lot of them.
Healthcare is single payer fund but heavily underfunded. Private practice and hospitals are allowed and skim most profitable
procedures leaving the rest to public fund. There are unrealistic limits on number of procedures so if you need to see a specialist
in July or later prepare to pay cash or wait till January.
Municipal service companies, at least the most lucrative ones have ben sold off to foreign investment funds. A few of our cities'
municipal companies, like central heating or energy have been sold off to german municipal companies (!). State telecom has been
sold off to french state telecom (and one of the biggest and most famous fortunes made).
Local printed press is 90% german corps owned.
This is a map of state rail company railways in 1988 and 2009 . It
has been a meme here for some time. It is true. Cancelled lines are the subsidized ones workers relied on to get to job. I closely
know a thousand years old town that had rail built in 1860 by germans and liquidated right in 1990. The populace is now halved,
all young emigrated, businesses dead. There have been a huge investment in freeways and other kind of roads so every one has to
own a car to get to her job. Most cars are used 10+ year old german imports. Polish car mechanic and body shops are the best in
the world specialists of german automotive produce.
I live in a small contry town that was a home to a wealthy aristocrat. There is a beautiful baroque palace and huge park, the
complex is literally a third part of town. After the war it was nationalized, there were sporting facilities built in the park
for locals and school pupils to use. The palace was re-purposed as medical facility and office complex for state farm management.
In the nineties the whole thing was given back to aristocrat descendants – a shady bunch hiding in Argentina AFAIR. They couldn't
afford to keep it so they sold it to a nouveau – riche real estate developer. He fenced the whole thing off and refurbished into
a sort of conference complex – it is underway and still not clear what's gonna happen with it. The effect is that a third of my
town that used to be public space is fenced off and off limits now.
To conclude, there has been a tremendous development in real estate and infrastructure mostly funded by the EU that has been
a serious engine of growth. Lot of people got mortgage and financed homes or flats and there has been a whole industry created
around it. A few crown jewel companies (copper mining, petroleum and other chemistry) are state owned. But most of the sophisticated
furnishings used in real estate are german made (there is german made nat gas furnace in 95% of newly built homes) etc. Two million
young people emigrated to work mostly to UK and Ireland. I'd lived in Dublin for a year in 2003 and there were Chinese people
as salespersons in groceries and seven – elevens everywhere, now there are Poles instead.
Recommended reading about the transformation years dealing is this book:
Thanks for this. Gowan's book, Global Gamble, is also good on the details of shock therapy in the former Warsaw Pact nations.
One key problem was that shock therapy partly rested on he assumption that western European buyers would want to invest in modernizing
plant and equipment in industries they acquired, but it quickly turned out that the German and other western buyers were really
interested only in acquiring new MARKETS for their own products.
And in agriculture, they both insisted on the elimination of subsidies within the eastern nations, and proceeded to use the
area as a dumping ground for their own (often subsidized) agricultural surpluses.
All this gets back, in my minuscule view, to failure to have a decent answer to one little question:
What kind of political economy do "we, the mopes" want to live within?
And related to that, what steps can and must "we, the mopes" take to get to that hopefully wiser, more decent, more homeostatic
and sustainable, political economy?
And it likely doesn't matter for us old folks (obligatory blast at Boomers as cause of all problems and distresses, dismissing
the roots and branches of "civilization," current patterns of consumption, and millennia of Progress), given what is "baked in"
and the current distribution of weatlhandpower. But maybe "we, the mopes" can at least go down fighting. Gilets Jaunes, 150 million
Indians, all that
But without an answer to the first question, though, not much chance of "better," is there? Except maybe locally, for the tiny
set of us mopes who know how to do community and commensalism and some other "C" words
"We, the mopes" could make some important and effective changes. Enough of us, and soon enough, to avoid or mitigate the Jackpot?
Thanks very much for this. Very graphic. So, if you would, could you explain who the Law and Justice Party is, and why they
won the election, and what exactly are they doing to make themselves popular? Are they in fact enacting certain social programs
that we can read about or are they primarily relying on something else, like mainly Catholic traditionalism, for their political
I remember a couple of paragraphs about Poland in my Economics 101 course, some 20 years ago. Was it in in Mankiw's book?
or Lipsey-Chrystal? I do not remember anymore. One of those vicious neoliberal propaganda mouthpieces, anyway. The textbook pitched
Poland's success story against Russia's abject failure, claiming that the former had dismantled and shut down all its inefficient
state-run companies, while the latter still kept its unprofitable heavy industry on life support.
It is unsurprising to read that Poland followed a more nuanced approach. Somehow neoclassical economists always distort
history into a cartoonish parody that confirms their models.
That was in the early 2000s. The university was then brand new and was still filling the shelves of the library. If you
looked carefully, you could still find older books, barely touched, that touted Albania as a neoliberal success story along the
same lines as Poland. Albania almost collapsed in civil war in 1998.
Klein at least provided footnotes, and sources for her claims. Which are conspicuously absent from this piece.
The World Bank, (World Development Indicators, 2006), one of Klein's sources, has a nationwide poverty rate only for 1993,
and has it at 23% at that point, or between 2.3 times and more than 4 time the most common estimate he cites under the ancient
The same source has unemployment averaging 19.9% in 1990-92, and 19% in 2000-2004.
As to the later poverty rate, Klein's source is Przemyslaw Wielgosz, then editor of the Polish edition of le Monde Diplomatique,
who gives this: " Poles living below the 'social minimum' (defined as a living standard of £130 (192,4 EUR) per person and £297
(440,4 EUR) for a three person family per month) affecting 15% of the population in 1989 to 47% in 1996, and 59% in 2003." but
whence he obtains these figures he does not say. Given that it falls in a period when unemployment was pushing 20% for a prolonged
period, and that both the EU's subsidies and outmigration to the EU as an escape valve only start to kick in in 2003, the figure
seems not wildly implausible.
The author's criticism doesn't really address Klein's central points at all, which would be that the crisis was used as
leverage to ram through otherwise politically unpalatable change, and that a great deal of the constraint forcing that was provided
by actors both undemocratic and external. He seems to be of the school that regards such niceties as beside the point, as long
as various macroaggregates eventually rose.
The contrast between what was done, and what Solidarnosc had claimed to be all about when in opposition is incredibly striking,
basically the difference between libertarian Communism and uber Dirigisme style capitalism.
Any discussion of the Polish economy that completely ignores this massive level of economic outmigration, and it's continued
rise among the young, misses a great deal. In a vibrant economy, it seems unlikely that so many educated Poles would find, for
example, lower tier jobs in Britain to be their best path forward.
Yes, your unemployment and poverty rates are lower if a significant fraction of the population works elsewhere in the EU, and
reatriates the money. Though the pattern may cause a few other problems. (while many nations like to export their unemployment,
not everybody wants to import it.)
The migration from Poland does not have only economic reasons. A lot of Poles migrate because they find the polish society
(especially small towns and rural) very stiffling.
A friend of mine left Poland the moment she got her MSc – literally, the same day she was on a bus to Germany. She's now a
sucessfull woman, director level at a large consultancy. Yet her father calls her "old spinster" (this is the polite version),
as she wasn't maried by 30, and she basically avoids going to Poland.
She says she could never be as sucessfull in Poland, being a woman, and not being keen on marrying. I've heard similar stories
from young Poles, not just women.
Inter-war Poland is celebrated a lot in Poland these days, conveniently ignoring the facts it was really a totalitarian
state – when Czechoslovakia was Muniched in 1938, Poles (and Hugarians) were quick to grab bits of territory right after that.
Kasia, January 10, 2019 at 5:17 pm
Poland has taken around a million Ukrainians over the past ten years so while many Poles are emigrating to Europe, they
are being replaced by Ukrainians, who are ethnically and linguistically fairly similar to Poles.
So Poland is proof that nationalist, populist policies can indeed work. Poland has had to taken rough measures with our judicial
system and media to ensure globalist forces do not undermine our successes. No one, I mean no one, in Poland mouths the words,
"diversity is our strength". Internationalist, liberal minded people who are so susceptible to globalist propaganda, are generally
the ones leaving the nation. Indigenous Western Europeans who are suffering the joys of cultural enrichment and vibrant diversity
are starting to buy property in Eastern Europe - more Hungary than Poland - but as the globalists push even more multiculturalism
and continue to impoverish indigenous Europeans, Eastern Europe will become a shining beacon on the hill free of many of the evils
Big brass and government executives play both sides of the military revolving door,
including "the only adult in the room."
Before he became lionized as the "only adult in the room" capable of standing up to
President Trump, General James Mattis was quite like any other brass scoping out a lucrative
second career in the defense industry. And as with other military giants parlaying their four
stars into a cushy boardroom chair or executive suite, he pushed and defended a sub-par product
while on both sides of the revolving door. Unfortunately for everyone involved, that contract
turned out to be an expensive fraud and a potential health hazard to the troops.
According to a
recent report by the Project on Government Oversight, 25 generals, nine admirals, 43
lieutenant generals, and 23 vice admirals retired to become lobbyists, board members,
executives, or consultants for the defense industry between 2008 and 2018. They are part of a
much larger group of 380 high-ranking government officials and congressional staff who shifted
into the industry in that time.
To get a sense of the demand, according to POGO, which had to compile all of this
information through Freedom of Information requests, there were 625 instances in 2018 alone in
which the top 20 defense contractors (think Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin) hired
senior DoD officials for high-paying jobs -- 90 percent of which could be described as
Back to Mattis. In 2012, while he was head of Central Command, the Marine General
pressed the Army to procure and deploy blood testing equipment from a Silicon Valley
company called Theranos. He communicated that he was having success with this effort directly
to Theranos's chief executive officer. Even though an Army health unit tried to terminate the
contract due to it's not meeting requirements, according to POGO, Mattis kept the pressure up.
Luckily, it was never used on the
Maybe it shouldn't be a surprise but upon retirement in 2013, Mattis asked a DoD counsel
about the ethics guiding future employment with Theranos. They advised against it. So Mattis
went to serve on its board instead for a $100,000 salary. Two years after Mattis quit to serve
as Trump's Pentagon chief in 2016, the two Theranos executives he worked with were indicted for
fraud , perpetuating a "multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors, doctors and
patients," and misrepresenting their product entirely. It was a fake.
But assuming this was Mattis's only foray into the private sector would be naive. When he
was tapped for defense secretary -- just three years after he left the military -- he was worth
upwards of $10 million . In addition to his retirement pay, which was close to $15,000 a
month at the time, he received $242,000 as a board member, plus as much as $1.2 million in
stock options in General Dynamics, the Pentagon's fourth largest contractor. He also disclosed
payments from other corporate boards, speech honorariums -- including $20,000 from defense
heavyweight Northrop Grumman -- and a whopping $410,000 from Stanford University's public
policy think tank the Hoover Institution for serving as a "distinguished visiting fellow."
Never for a moment think that Mattis won't land softly after he leaves Washington -- if he
leaves at all. Given his past record, he will likely follow a very long line, as illustrated by
POGO's explosive report, of DoD officials who have used their positions while inside the
government to represent the biggest recipients of federal funding on the outside. They then
join ex-congressional staffers and lawmakers on powerful committees who grease the skids on
Capitol Hill. And then they go to work for the very companies they've helped, fleshing out a
small army of executives, lobbyists, and board members with direct access to the power brokers
with the purse strings back on the inside.
Welcome to the Swamp
"[Mattis's' career course] is emblematic of how systemic the problem is," said Mandy
Smithberger, POGO's lead on the report and the director of its Center for Defense
"Private companies know how to protect their interests. We just wish there were more
protections for taxpayers."
When everything is engineered to get more business for the same select few, "when you have
a Department of Defense who sees it as their job to promote arms sales does this really serve
the interest of national security?"
That is something to chew on. If a system is so motivated by personal gain (civil servants
always mindful of campaign contributions and private sector job prospects) on one hand, and big
business profits on the other, is there room for merit or innovation? One need only look at
Lockheed's F-35 joint strike fighter, the most expensive
weapon system in history, which was relentlessly promoted over other programs by members of
Congress and within the Pentagon despite years of test failures and cost overruns , to see what
this gets you: planes that don't fly, weapons that don't work, and shortfalls in other parts of
the budget that don't matter to contractors like pilot training and maintenance of existing
"It comes down to two questions," Smithberger noted in an interview with TAC.
" Are we approving weapons systems that are safe or not? And are we putting
[servicemembers'] lives on the line" to benefit the interests of industry?
All of this is legal, she points out. Sure, there are rules -- "cooling off" periods before
government officials and members of Congress can lobby, consult, or work on contracts after
they leave their federal positions, or when industry people come in through the other side to
take positions in government. But Smithberger said they are "riddled with loopholes" and lack
Case in point: current acting DoD Secretary Patrick Shanahan spent
31 years working for Boeing , which gets about $24 billion a year as the Pentagon's second
largest contractor. He was Boeing's senior vice president in 2016 just before he was confirmed
as Trump's deputy secretary of defense in 2017. Last week he recused himself from all matters
Boeing, but he
wasn't always so hands off. At one point, he "prodded" for the purchase of 12 $1.2 billion
Boeing F-15X fighter planes, according to Bloomberg.
But the revolving door is so much more pervasive and insidious than POGO could possibly
catalogue. So says Franklin "Chuck" Spinney , who worked
as a civilian and military officer in the Pentagon for 31 years, beginning in 1968. He calls
the military industrial complex a "quasi-isolated political economy" that is in many ways
independent from the larger domestic economy. It has its own rules, norms, and culture, and
unlike the real world, it is self-sustaining -- not by healthy competition and efficiency, but
by keeping the system on a permanent war footing, with money always pumping from Capitol Hill
to the Pentagon to the private sector and then back again. Left out are basic laws of supply
and demand, geopolitical realities, and the greater interest of society.
"That's why we call it a self-licking ice cream cone," Spinney explained to TAC.
" [This report] is just the tip of the iceberg. There's a lot more subtle stuff going on.
When you are in weapons development like I was at the beginning of my career, you learn about
this on day one, that having cozy relationships with contractors is openly encouraged. And
then you get desensitized. I was fortunate because I worked for people who did not like it
and I caught on quickly."
While the culture has evolved, basic realities have persisted since the massive build-up of the military
and weapons systems during the Cold War. The odds of young officers in the Pentagon making
colonel or higher are slim. They typically retire out in their 40s. They know implicitly that
their best chance for having a well-paid second career is in the only industry they know --
defense. Most take this calculation seriously, moderating their decisions on program work and
procurement and communicating with members of Congress as a matter of course.
" Let's just say there's a problem [with a program]. Are you going to come down hard on a
contractor and try to hold his feet to the fire? Are you going to risk getting blackballed
when you are out there looking for a job ? Sometimes there is no word communicated, you just
don't want to be unacceptable to anyone," said Spinney. It's ingrained, from the rank of
lieutenant colonel all the way up to general.
top five and their subsidiaries continue to get the vast majority of work, usually in
($100 billion worth in 2016 alone) , and with cost-plus structures that
critics say encourage waste and never-ending timetables, like the $1.5 trillion F-35. "The
whole system is wired to get money out the door," said Spinney. "That is where the revolving
door is most pernicious. It's everywhere."
The real danger is that under this pressure, parties work to keep bad contracts alive even
if they have to cook the books. "Essentially from the standpoint of Pentagon contracting you
are not going to have people writing reports saying this product is a piece of shit," said
Spinney. Worse, evaluations are designed to deflect criticism if not oversell success in order
to keep the spigot open. The most infamous example of this was the
rigged tests that kept the ill-fated "Star Wars" missile defense program going in the
* * *
Everyone talks about generals like Mattis as though they're warrior-gods. But for decades,
many of them have turned out to be different creatures altogether - creatures of a
semi-independent ecosystem that operates outside of the normal rules and benefits only a
powerful minority subset: the military elite, defense contractors, and Congress. More recently,
the defense-funded think tank world has become part of this ecology, providing the ideological
grist for more spending and serving as a way-station for operators moving in and out of
government and industry.
Call it the Swamp, the Borg, or even the Blob, but attempting to measure or quantify the
revolving door in the military-industrial complex can feel like a fool's errand. Groups like
POGO have attempted to shine light on this dark planet for years. Unfortunately, there is
little incentive in Capitol Hill or at the Pentagon to do the very least: pull the purse
strings, close loopholes, encourage real competition, and end cost-plus practices.
"We generally need to see more (political) championing on this issue," Smithberger said.
Until then, all outside efforts "can't result in any meaningful change."
There's only one thing necessary to maintain the respect and affection of DC's ruling
political and media class: affirm standard precepts of US imperialism & militarism. You
can work for Trump, or cheer menacing authoritarians, and you'll still be revered as long as
you do that:
Nikki Haley @NikkiHaley
Congratulations to Brazil's new President Bolsonaro. It's great to have another
U.S.-friendly leader in South America, who will join the fight against dictatorships in
Venezuela and Cuba, and who clearly understands the danger of China's expanding influence in
Gareth Porter, in an article published in the American Conservative, definitively shows that
Trump's Dec. 19 announcement of the US withdrawal from Syria was, in fact, the end of a fight
of at least a year, between Trump on the one side and his national security team, lead by
Mattis and Dunford on the other. Published accounts of the policy process over the past year
"show that senior national security officials and self-interested institutions have been
playing a complicated political game for months aimed at keeping Trump from wavering on our
indefinite presence on the ground in Syria ," Porter writes. "The entire episode thus
represents a new variant of a familiar pattern dating back to Vietnam in which national
security advisors put pressure on reluctant presidents to go along with existing or proposed
military deployments in a war zone . The difference here is that Trump, by publicly choosing a
different policy, has blown up their transparent schemes and offered the country a new course,
one that does not involve a permanent war state."
Porter cites an April 2018 Associated Press account of an NSC meeting at which Trump's
impatience with his national security team boiled over. At that meeting, Trump ordered them
unequivocally to accept a fundamentally different Syria deployment policy. Instead, they framed
the options as a binary choice -- either an immediate pullout or an indefinite presence in
order to ensure the complete and permanent defeat of Islamic State. Mattis and Dunford, Porter
continues, were consciously exploiting Trump's own defensiveness about a timeline–he had
attacked Obama during the 2016 campaign for imposing a timeline in Afghanistan–"to press
ahead with their own strategy unless and until Trump publicly called them on it."
"The Syria withdrawal affair is a dramatic illustration of the fundamental quandary of the
Trump presidency in regard to ending the state of permanent war that previous administrations
created. Although a solid majority of Americans want to rein in U.S. military deployments in
the Middle East and Africa, Trump's national security team is committed to doing the opposite,
" Porter concludes. "Trump is now well aware that it is virtually impossible to carry out the
foreign policy that he wants without advisors who are committed to the same objective. That
means that he must find people who have remained outside the system during the permanent war
years while being highly critical of its whole ideology and culture. If he can fill key
positions with truly dissident figures, the last two years of this term in office could
decisively clip the wings of the bureaucrats and generals who have created the permanent war
state we find ourselves in today."
Trump has called the bluff of the permanent warfare crowd and now has his decision, but the
possibility of sabotage by that crowd's assets inside the Pentagon cannot yet be discounted.
This is indicated by an exclusive Reuters report claiming that planners at the Pentagon are
proposing that the YPG be allowed to keep the heavy weapons that the US has supplied it with,
though Reuters' sources stress that the planning is still at an early stage and nothing's been
decided yet. And yet, there must be a reason why this is being reported now. It obviously would
throw a monkey wrench in the arrangements that Trump is trying to make with Erdogan to keep
eastern Syria stable in the wake of the US withdrawal. It would also represent a back down from
US promises made earlier to the Turks to retrieve the weapons and Erdogan would throw a fit.
Certainly, the idea that the U.S. military can retrieve all of the weapons that it handed over
is a dubious one, at best , and there are legitimate questions about whether or not Turkish
troops could really operate in the Middle Euphrates valley near the Iraqi border, hundreds of
kilometers from the Turkish border.
But the key to the proposal is this: The recommendation "is a rejection of Trump's policy to
withdraw from Syria," a person familiar with the discussions told Reuters. So, really, it is an
attempt at sabotage.
Very interesting. It is understandable that Trump does not read briefings, if all he is fed
is a variety of permanent war options at odds with his strategic goals. The Syrian war that
matters is clearly now being fought within the USG and Trump has won the latest battle. As
Porter says, this war will only be won if Trump can successfully replace key Borg positions
with people of his own.
If the pullout can be completed without being sabotaged, Russia ought
to be able to seamlessly step in guarantor of peace - and the SAG and Iraq between then can
finish IS. The permanent war crowd with then just have to vent their frustrations elsewhere.
A good outcome for all.
"that the YPG be allowed to keep the heavy weapons that the US has supplied it with"
I would love to find out what those "heavy weapons" were exactly. I have been putting up
comments all over the place saying that as far as I have been able to find out the US has not
supplied anything with a barrel bigger than an 80mm mortar or a vehicle heavier than a MRAP.
Up to now no-one has contradicted me. The reason the US did this was precisely this
situation, not to upset the Turks if gear was left behind.
Am I wrong? Is this equipment now regarded as "heavy weapons"?
I have looked as to where I might post my comment on this important site; this article seems
to be the best fit for my comment on another site about the retirement of Gen Kelly and a
link to an interview with Gen Kelly (I hope Col Lang will be lenient in allowing a secondary
posting of my comment from another site):
On the subject of trump this AM, zerohedge has a summary of an interview with Gen Kelly
which occurred just prior to his departure-to say that it was "bone crushing hard" probably
is a long way from describing the difficulty of that Chief of Staff job in a chaotic white
house working for a chaotic individual.
I have just a ton of respect for Gen Kelly-even in this totally mucked up country with all
of its unending flustercucks, there are individuals still willing to step up and try,
emphasis on try, to restore some sanity to the situations. God speed, Gen Kelly!!
Two factors not mentioned are the SAA and support from Russia. Turkey may be somewhat off the
hook for a deep thrust if Syrian forces move in and convince the YPG to stand down, by force
or otherwise. As Col. Lang points out, starving the YPG of ammunition is a practical
approach. If the PMU links up with Syrian forces to secure the eastern border areas, the
Kurdish interests should be balanced out. My point being that the so-called vacuum left for
Iran to fill is an overplayed shadow puppet.
In any case withdrawal from Syria was a surprising and bold move on the Part of the Trump.
You can criticizes Trump for not doing more but before that he bahvaves as a typical neocon, or a
typical Republican presidents (which are the same things). And he started on this path just two
month after inauguration bombing Syria under false pretences. So this is something
I think the reason of change is that Trump intuitively realized the voters are abandoning him
in droves and the sizable faction of his voters who voted for him because of his promises to end
foreign wars iether already defected or is ready to defect. So this is a move designed to keep
"... "fight against terrorism" ..."
"... "sticking it to" ..."
"... "The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. It's not fair when the burden is all on us, the United States We are spread out all over the world. We are in countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous." ..."
"... "We're no longer the suckers, folks." ..."
"... "spread all over the world" ..."
"... "America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price," ..."
"... "not pulling their weight" ..."
"... "world's policeman" ..."
"... "A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", ..."
"... "defend freedom and democracy." ..."
"... "business solutions." ..."
"... "our protection." ..."
"... Trump is one man against Billions of people and dollars in corruption. ..."
President Trump's big announcement to pull US troops out of Syria and Afghanistan is now
emerging less as a peace move, and more a rationalization of American military power in the
Middle East. In a surprise visit to US forces in Iraq this week, Trump
said he had no intention of withdrawing the troops in that country, who have been there for
nearly 15 years since GW Bush invaded back in 2003.
Hinting at private discussions with commanders in Iraq, Trump boasted that US forces would
in the future launch attacks from there into Syria if and when needed. Presumably that rapid
force deployment would apply to other countries in the region, including Afghanistan.
In other words, in typical business-style transactional thinking, Trump sees the pullout
from Syria and Afghanistan as a cost-cutting exercise for US imperialism. Regarding Syria, he
has bragged about Turkey being assigned, purportedly, to "finish off" terror groups.
That's Trump subcontracting out US interests.
Critics and supporters of Trump are confounded. After his Syria and Afghanistan pullout
call, domestic critics and NATO allies have accused him of walking from the alleged "fight
against terrorism" and of ceding strategic ground to US adversaries Russia and Iran.
Meanwhile, Trump's supporters have viewed his decision in more benign light, cheering the
president for "sticking it to" the deep state and military establishment, assuming
he's delivering on electoral promises to end overseas wars.
However, neither view gets what is going on. Trump is not scaling back US military power; he
is rationalizing it like a cost-benefit analysis, as perhaps only a
real-estate-wheeler-dealer-turned president would appreciate. Trump is not snubbing US
militarism or NATO allies, nor is he letting loose an inner peace spirit. He is as committed to
projecting American military as ruthlessly and as recklessly as any other past occupant of the
White House. The difference is Trump wants to do it on the cheap.
Here's what he said to reporters on Air Force One before touching down in Iraq:
"The United States cannot continue to be the policeman of the world. It's not fair when
the burden is all on us, the United States We are spread out all over the world. We are in
countries most people haven't even heard about. Frankly, it's ridiculous." He added:
"We're no longer the suckers, folks."
Laughably, Trump's griping about US forces "spread all over the world" unwittingly
demonstrates the insatiable, monstrous nature of American militarism. But Trump paints this
vice as a virtue, which, he complains, Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus
countries around the globe that its forces are present in.
As US troops greeted him in Iraq, the president made explicit how the new American
militarism would henceforth operate.
"America shouldn't be doing the fighting for every nation on earth, not being reimbursed
in many cases at all. If they want us to do the fighting, they also have to pay a price,"
This reiterates a big bugbear for this president in which he views US allies and client
regimes as "not pulling their weight" in terms of military deployment. Trump has been
browbeating European NATO members to cough up more on military budgets, and he has berated
the Saudis and other Gulf Arab regimes to pay more for American interventions.
Notably, however, Trump has never questioned the largesse that US taxpayers fork out every
year to Israel in the form of nearly $4 billion in military aid. To be sure, that money is not
a gift because much of it goes back to the Pentagon from sales of fighter jets and missile
The long-held notion that the US has served as the "world's policeman" is, of
course, a travesty.
Since WWII, all presidents and the Washington establishment have constantly harped on, with
self-righteousness, about America's mythical role as guarantor of global security.
Dozens of illegal wars on almost every continent and millions of civilian deaths attest to
the real, heinous conduct of American militarism as a weapon to secure US corporate
But with US economic power in historic decline amid a national debt now over $22 trillion,
Washington can no longer afford its imperialist conduct in the traditional mode of direct US
military invasions and occupations.
Perhaps, it takes a cost-cutting, raw-toothed capitalist like Trump to best understand the
historic predicament, even if only superficially.
This gives away the real calculation behind his troop pullout from Syria and Afghanistan.
Iraq is going to serve as a new regional hub for force projection on a demand-and-supply basis.
In addition, more of the dirty work can be contracted out to Washington's clients like Turkey,
Israel and Saudi Arabia, who will be buying even more US weaponry to prop the
This would explain why Trump made his hurried, unexpected visit to Iraq this week.
said : "A lot of people are going to come around to my way of thinking", regarding
his decision on withdrawing forces from Syria and Afghanistan.
Since his troop pullout plan announced on December 19, there has been serious pushback from
senior Pentagon figures, hawkish Republicans and Democrats, and the anti-Trump media. The
atmosphere is almost seditious against the president. Trump flying off to Iraq on Christmas
reportedly his first visit to troops in an overseas combat zone since becoming president
two years ago.
What Trump seemed to be doing was reassuring the Pentagon and corporate America that he is
not going all soft and dovish. Not at all. He is letting them know that he is aiming for a
leaner, meaner US military power, which can save money on the number of foreign bases by using
rapid reaction forces out of places like Iraq, as well as by subcontracting operations out to
Thus, Trump is not coming clean out of any supposed principle when he cuts back US forces
overseas. He is merely applying his knack for screwing down costs and doing things on the cheap
as a capitalist tycoon overseeing US militarism.
During past decades when American capitalism was relatively robust, US politicians and media
could indulge in the fantasy of their military forces going around the world in large-scale
formations to selflessly "defend freedom and democracy."
Today, US capitalism is broke. It simply can't sustain its global military empire. Enter
Donald Trump with his "business solutions."
But in doing so, this president, with his cheap utilitarianism and transactional
exploitative mindset, lets the cat out of the bag. As he says, the US cannot be the world's
policeman. Countries are henceforth going to have to pay for "our protection."
Inadvertently, Trump is showing up US power for what it really is: a global thug running a
It's always been the case. Except now it's in your face. Trump is no Smedley Butler, the
former Marine general who in the 1930s condemned US militarism as a Mafia operation. This
president is stupidly revealing the racket, while still thinking it is something virtuous.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with
articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a
Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal
Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For
over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including
The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his
columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.
Once again, Cunningham has hit the nail on the head. Trump mistakenly conflates fear with respect. In reality, around the
world, the US is feared but generally not respected.
My guess is that the same was true about Trump as a businessman, i.e., he was not respected, only feared due to his
willingness to pursue his "deals" by any means that "worked" for him, legal or illegal, moral or immoral, seemingly gracious
Complaining how the US gets no thanks for its foreign intervention. Kind of like a rapist claiming he should be thanked
for "pleasuring" his victim. Precisely the same sentiment expressed by those who believe the American Indians should thank
the Whites for "civilising" them.
"Washington gets no thanks for from the 150-plus countries around the globe that its forces are present in."
That might mean they don't want you there. Just saying.
None of these wars are working out for the US strategically. All they do is sow chaos. They seem to not be gaining
anything, and are just preventing others from gaining anything as well.
Ernie For -> ProRussiaPole
i am a huge Putin fan, so is big Don. Please change your source of info Jerome, Trump is one man against Billions of
people and dollars in corruption. He has achieved more in the USA in 2 years than all 5 previous parasites together.
It could be a change for a better direction. Time will tell. 'If you do what you've always been doing, you'll get what
you've always been getting.'
"... Maybe I am overestimating the intelligence of MIC profiteers, but my impression is that those thieves know that their loot is only useful as long as they are alive. There is a lot of silly hostile talk against Russia and China, but have you noticed how the US military always makes sure that there are no direct confrontations with countries that can turn the US into radioactive dust? The profiteers want huge Pentagon budget to steal from, but not the war where they lose along with everyone else. ..."
Maybe I am overestimating the intelligence of MIC profiteers, but my impression is
that those thieves know that their loot is only useful as long as they are alive. There is a
lot of silly hostile talk against Russia and China, but have you noticed how the US military
always makes sure that there are no direct confrontations with countries that can turn the US
into radioactive dust? The profiteers want huge Pentagon budget to steal from, but not the
war where they lose along with everyone else.
As to the wall, it is one of the silliest projects ever suggested. Maybe that's why it was
so easy to sell it to the intellectually disadvantaged electorate. There are two things that
can stop illegal immigration.
First, go for the employers, enact a law that fines them to
the tune of $50,000 or more per every illegal they employ. Second, enact the law that anyone
caught residing in the US illegally has no right to enter the US legally, to obtain asylum,
permanent residency, or citizenship for life, and include a provision that marriage to a US
citizen does not nullify this ban.
Then enforce both laws. After that illegals would run out of the country, and greedy
employers won't hire any more. Naturally, the wall, even if built, won't change anything: as
long as there are employers trying to save on salaries, immigration fees, and Social Security
tax, and people willing to live and work illegally risking nothing, no wall would stem the
Unfortunately, no side is even thinking about real measures, both are just posturing.
Am wondering in which prosperous U.S. Zionist "career" field has John Yoo landed?
He is a distinguished professor at Berkley Law, UC. Here's his bio:
Professor Yoo is the Emanuel Heller Professor of Law and director of the Korea Law
Center, the California Constitution Center, and the Law School's Program in Public Law and
Policy. His most recent books are Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots, and Space Weapons
Change the Rules for War (Encounter 2017) (with Jeremy Rabkin) and Point of Attack:
Preventive War, International Law, and Global Welfare (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Professor Yoo is a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a visiting
fellow at the Hoover Institution
From 2001 to 2003, he served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of
Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, where he worked on issues involving
foreign affairs, national security and the separation of powers.
Notice how they gloss over his diabolical activities as deputy AG for the Bush II
Adminstration "where he worked on issues involving foreign affairs, national security and the
separation of powers."
And, oh, yeah, he cobbled together legal statements that gave the Bush Admin carte blanche
to engage in "enhanced interrogation techniques," more commonly known as "torture." He was
about to be in big dodo for his crimes. but just like the 5 dancing Israelis were rescued by
Chertoff, a guy named David Margolis managed to get Yoo off the hook:
The Office of Professional Responsibilty (OPR) report concluded that Yoo had "committed
'intentional professional misconduct' when he advised the CIA it could proceed with
waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against Al Qaeda suspects,"
although the recommendation that he be referred to his state bar association for possible
disciplinary proceedings was overruled by David Margolis, another senior Justice department