Search      Translate
with Jesus

Andrew Bacevich, Breach of Trust; How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2013), 238pp.Andrew Bacevich, Breach of Trust; How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2013), 238pp.

           For the last ten years, Andrew Bacevich has combined his personal experiences and professional expertise to critique American culture. Bacevich graduated from West Point, spent twenty-three years in the military (including Vietnam), and later earned a PhD from Princeton. By 2003, his long-held neo-conservative beliefs about the "benign purposes of American power" had so completely crumbled that he now considers them "preposterous." In 2007, Bacevich's son was killed in Iraq.

           Today he's director of Boston University's Center for International Relations. Bacevich has described himself as a cultural conservative who views mainstream liberalism with skepticism, but also as a person whose "disenchantment with what passes for mainstream conservatism, embodied in the [former] Bush administration and its groupies, is just about absolute." He also identifies himself as a "conservative Catholic." Bacevich started to write one sort of book, but ended up in a different place than he expected.

           His convictions about our "civil-military dysfunction" led him to see that as a mere symptom of a deeper problem: "an approach to national security at odds with democratic values that actually undermines the country's well-being" (225).Our military system is not only "broken," it's "deeply wrong." What most people see as our greatest strength is our "abiding flaw," namely, the all-volunteer service instituted by president Nixon. We've moved from compulsory conscription, shared collective sacrifice, and a citizen-military, to a military of professional warriors controlled by the state.

           Less than 1% of our citizens serve in the military, which makes it possible for the 99% of us to remain "blissfully unaware" about our state of "perpetual war." The state no longer needs the consent of citizens to wage war, and so there are barely any inhibitions to war. There's plenty of blame to go around, and it's not at all limited by party affiliation. In one chapter, Bacevich laments the "contemptible irresponsibility" of our intellectuals. Politicians are paid by the military-industrial complex. We've outsourced significant aspects of the military to for-profit contractors. Military careerists are loathe to change. All of which point to what he calls "a form of prolonged ritual suicide."

Copyright © 2001–2024 by Daniel B. Clendenin. All Rights Reserved.
Joomla Developer Services by Help With