When the chips are down, who you gonn’a call: US Military
The Washington Post article by Andre Bacevich is the subject for this NowPublic treatment.
The article implies that Generals get too big for their britches as my Mother used to say. I don’t think there is any evidence of a trend here that is anything different than the historical norm. As the article indicates, one thing that is different is the long protractedness of multiple wars and high level of wear and tear on the entire military system.
The American public has been aligned with a war against terrorists. The patriotic response after 9/11 brought citizens together independently from politics to defend our nation.
The Bush Administration and associated hawks leveraged our patriotism and the moment to advance its own agenda, to get even with Iraq, for instance. While the real targets were in Afghanistan and escaping to hideouts in Pakistan, the Bush Administration directed the military under Donald Rumsfeld to march briskly across Iraq and to secure a quick victory for the purpose of making a statement, “shock and awe.”
The US Congress including Democrats let this happen. We took our eye from the target.
The defense establishment enjoyed this, of course, because their business saw a boom. I see it for what it is corporate welfare. The money that goes into defense does not increase the GDP; it is a major factor in increasing the debt.
Some Generals get a little cocky during this because it is a time when one can advance their career.
Most don’t think that way. Most don’t like engaging in war activity unless they know why and what they are trying to accomplish with an exit strategy based on that achievement.
All of this criticism of the military based on a small cadre of a General and a few in his command is overreaction and fails to address the real problem. America has no business in Iraq; diminishing interest in Afghanistan; and had better develop much more interest in preparing a strategy for optimizing performance in a globally competitive environment where we need many more friends and many fewer enemies. History is showing us that we are creating enemies and making them stronger by deficient US foreign policy for which Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama are responsible.
It is the US Foreign Policy that is broken and Obama and Clinton are on the hot seat to fix it. A few general officers rattling around is the symptom, not the problem.
“Endless war, a recipe for four-star arrogance
By Andrew J. Bacevich
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Long wars are antithetical to democracy. Protracted conflict introduces toxins that inexorably corrode the values of popular government. Not least among those values is a code of military conduct that honors the principle of civilian control while keeping the officer corps free from the taint of politics. Events of the past week -- notably the Rolling Stone profile that led to Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's dismissal -- hint at the toll that nearly a decade of continuous conflict has exacted on the U.S. armed forces. The fate of any one general qualifies as small beer: Wearing four stars does not signify indispensability. But indications that the military's professional ethic is eroding, evident in the disrespect for senior civilians expressed by McChrystal and his inner circle, should set off alarms.”
In the end, it is not the NRA crowd armed with handguns, shotguns, and rifles that will defend America, it is the US military. It is smarter to cultivate their respect and to honor them than it is to wander into relentless criticism based on a very small handful of deviants.