Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War
by Andrew J. Bacevich
Metropolitan Books / 2010
Tom Englehardt calls Andrew Bacevich's new book "the single best source for understanding how Washington came to garrison the planet, intervene regularly in distant lands, and turn war-making -- and not even successful war-making at that -- into an American norm."
Excerpts from a recent post by Bacevich on the themes of the book:
On "the end of military history"
A new conventional wisdom has taken hold, endorsed by everyone from new Afghan War commander General David Petraeus, the most celebrated soldier of this American age, to Barack Obama, commander-in-chief and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. For the conflicts in which the United States finds itself enmeshed, “military solutions” do not exist. As Petraeus himself has emphasized, “we can’t kill our way out of" the fix we’re in. In this way, he also pronounced a eulogy on the Western conception of warfare of the last two centuries.
On why we keep fighting
...Unfortunately, Washington has a vested interest in preserving the status quo, no matter how much it costs or where it leads. For the military-industrial complex, there are contracts to win and buckets of money to be made. For those who dwell in the bowels of the national security state, there are prerogatives to protect. For elected officials, there are campaign contributors to satisfy. For appointed officials, civilian and military, there are ambitions to be pursued....
Nearly 20 years ago, a querulous Madeleine Albright demanded to know: “What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?” Today, an altogether different question deserves our attention: What’s the point of constantly using our superb military if doing so doesn’t actually work?
From "The End of (Military) History?", TomDispatch.com, 29 July 2010