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Thread: The Andrew Bacevich collection

  1. #61
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Islands are better

    For all manner of reasons I suggest any "forward basing" should be on the islands available, for a moment ignoring politics: Cyprus, Crete, Malta, Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia.

    If access from the Indian Ocean is required, yes no islands - unless Yemen allows use of Socotra (no facilities) - so Oman seems to be the only option.

    davidbfpo

  2. #62
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Part two of the hearings:

    Thursday, July 31, 2008 – 10:00 am – 2212 Rayburn – Open
    The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will meet to hear testimony on A New U.S. Grand Strategy (Part 2).
    * Subcommittee Chairman Snyder’s Opening Statement
    Witnesses:

    Admiral Dennis C. Blair, USN (Ret.) (pdf)
    John M. Shalikashvili Chair
    National Bureau of Asian Research

    Ambassador Robert Hunter (pdf)
    Senior Advisor, RAND Corporation
    U.S. Ambassador to NATO, 1993-98

    Major General Robert H. Scales Jr., USA (Ret.) (pdf)
    President, COLGEN, LP
    Former Commandant, Army War College

    Dr. Philip D. Zelikow (pdf)
    White Burkett Miller Professor of History, University of Virginia
    Former Counselor, Department of State

  3. #63
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Bill Moyers Interviews Andrew J. Bacevich, PBS, August 15, 2008. (Transcript and Video)

    BILL MOYERS
    : And you use this metaphor that is intriguing. American policy makers, quote, "have been engaged in a de facto Ponzi scheme, intended to extend indefinitely, the American line of credit." What's going on that resembles a Ponzi scheme?

    ANDREW BACEVICH: This continuing tendency to borrow and to assume that the bills are never going to come due. I testified before a House committee six weeks ago now, on the future of U.S grand strategy. I was struck by the questions coming from members that showed an awareness, a sensitivity, and a deep concern, about some of the issues that I tried to raise in the book.

    "How are we gonna pay the bills? How are we gonna pay for the commitment of entitlements that is going to increase year by year for the next couple of decades, especially as baby boomers retire?" Nobody has answers to those questions. So, I was pleased that these members of Congress understood the problem. I was absolutely taken aback when they said, "Professor, what can we do about this?" And their candid admission that they didn't have any answers, that they were perplexed, that this problem of learning to live within our means seemed to have no politically plausible solution.
    Worth watching.

  4. #64
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    I apparently am in the minority, but think Prof Bacevich is spot on in his whole interview. I also sympathize with his diagnosis of how our foreign policy should be re-toolded.

    Here's my favorite quote, which I have stated here before:

    BILL MOYERS: You say, and this is another one of my highlighted sentences, that "Anyone with a conscience sending soldiers back to Iraq or Afghanistan for multiple combat tours, while the rest of the country chills out, can hardly be seen as an acceptable arrangement. It is unfair. Unjust. And morally corrosive." And, yet, that's what we're doing.

    .......

    ANDREW BACEVICH: Yeah. Well, my son was killed in Iraq. And I don't want to talk about that, because it's very personal. But it has long stuck in my craw, this posturing of supporting the troops. I don't want to insult people.

    There are many people who say they support the troops, and they really mean it. But when it comes, really, down to understanding what does it mean to support the troops? It needs to mean more than putting a sticker on the back of your car.

    I don't think we actually support the troops. We the people. What we the people do is we contract out the business of national security to approximately 0.5 percent of the population. About a million and a half people that are on active duty.

    And then we really turn away. We don't want to look when they go back for two or three or four or five combat tours. That's not supporting the troops. That's an abdication of civic responsibility. And I do think it - there's something fundamentally immoral about that.

    Again, as I tried to say, I think the global war on terror, as a framework of thinking about policy, is deeply defective. But if one believes in the global war on terror, then why isn't the country actually supporting it? In a meaningful substantive sense?

    Where is the country?
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  5. #65
    Council Member Mark O'Neill's Avatar
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    Default I totally agree with the sentiment

    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    I apparently am in the minority, but think Prof Bacevich is spot on in his whole interview. I also sympathize with his diagnosis of how our foreign policy should be re-toolded.

    Here's my favorite quote, which I have stated here before:
    that Bacevich expresses in the quote that Cavguy has highlighted. I have observed the same thing in CONUS and down under. I think he is spot on.

    I had the opportunity to meet Andrew Bacevich and spend some time talking with him and TX Hammes after dinner at an event in Oxford (UK) last year. It was an enjoyable evening - he struck me as honorable and smart. I think that it would not hurt a few more folks to spend some time reading his material and thinking objectively about what he writes before jumping to conclusions.
    Last edited by Mark O'Neill; 09-09-2008 at 10:57 AM. Reason: syntax

  6. #66
    Council Member sullygoarmy's Avatar
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    I thought his PBS interview was spot on as well. It is time for people to realize that we are in a real bind when it comes to energy and our waning power throughout the world. It seems to me Bacevich pulls some ideas from Robert Kaplan's Imperial Grunts for some of his stuff. You could also say he pulls from Malcom Gladwell (Tipping Point) and some Joseph Nye (Soft Power) as well. That being said, he combines all these ideas with a believable pitch that doesn't come across like whining or bashing any one administration...a refreshing change.
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet withstanding, go out to meet it."

    -Thucydides

  7. #67
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Prof. Bacevich is certainly a unique voice who suffers no fools and is indeed a refreshing voice in the current political discourse. I have had the privilege of taking an American Military history course with him, and consider it the most rewarding experience I have had in classroom. Not only intellectually stimulating, Prof. Bacevich's lessons have challenged me to be a better citizen and man.

    Cavguy's selected quote is powerful, reading it conjures the same sulking sense of shame and dishonor for me as hearing it aloud. It's pretty hard to argue with. Sharp, concise, and packing a wallop. Will we ever hear Senator's McCain or Obama say such a thing? Or for that matter Al Franken or Rush Limbaugh? This is the tragedy.

  8. #68
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    I'll admit my bias up front.

    I agree with literally everything that COL (Ret.) Bacevich talks about, and have for a long time.

    We are overextended in literally every aspect of our national power.

    Thanks for the link to Moyer's program.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-10-2008 at 07:42 AM.
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

    The Eaglet from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
    Bill Moyers Interviews Andrew J. Bacevich, PBS, August 15, 2008. (Transcript and Video)

    Worth watching.
    Read this a couple weeks ago, motivated me to order his The New American Militarism on Amazon. I'm about 50 pages in, highly recommend it so far.

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by sullygoarmy View Post
    I thought his PBS interview was spot on as well. It is time for people to realize that we are in a real bind when it comes to energy and our waning power throughout the world. It seems to me Bacevich pulls some ideas from Robert Kaplan's Imperial Grunts for some of his stuff.
    Curious what you mean here. Bacevich seems to be politically a polar opposite to Kaplan, who's a poor man's (maybe a homeless man's) Kipling.

  11. #71
    Council Member sullygoarmy's Avatar
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    Granite,
    Some of the comments that Bacevich said in his interview made me think of Kaplan's book. In his book, Kaplan goes and visits U.S. military members in some far off places; Mongolia is one example. He avoids the usual spots like Iraq and Afghanistan in this book and instead, focuses on the fringes of where the military is, conducting equally important jobs but without the media focus. Kaplan's thesis (in my interpretation) is the U.S. military is in fact an imperial force, spreading the values, cultures, messages and influences of the U.S. no matter where they go or what the job. From a military attace to an SF team in South America, every member of the U.S. military takes pieces of America with him or her. While we are not forcefully occupying terrority or enslaving a population, we bring a lot of "Soft Power" (to quote Joseph Nye) with us along with the obvious hard power. In fact, all of Kaplan's book focuses on the soft powers these "Imperial Grunts" bring with them.

    Although Kaplan may be politically opposite to Bacevich, the two of them do share a healthy love of the U.S. military. Kaplan has spoken frequently at Fort Leavenworth and I've spoken with him both in person and over e-mail numerous times. Part of me gets the impression that he sees the military as a kindred spirit as him: wandering the globe into some of the worst places imaginable...and always having a story to tell once they return home to the U.S.

    Let me know what you think.
    Last edited by sullygoarmy; 09-15-2008 at 01:33 PM.
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet withstanding, go out to meet it."

    -Thucydides

  12. #72
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    What I find fascinating about this is that so much of it is really not new. We're seeing the same sort of pressures on the military that we saw in the late 1800s and through about 1928 or so, although on a larger overall scale and with 'instant' coverage. Rhetoric aside, the American political body (and a fair percentage of the public) has always seen the military as a disposable asset. It's a fact of life in this country, and has been since the beginning. As a historian, Bacevich should understand this. Up until recently, the bulk of popular adoration was saved for the state volunteer or the wartime volunteer. It's an interesting study on its own.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  13. #73
    Council Member sullygoarmy's Avatar
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    It almost seems that we are in a cycle of how "Imperial" our military is. Late 19th/early 20th century, highly imperial. In the late 1920s and 1930s, we retract, mirroring our society and their unwillingness to get involved (or inability) with foreign affairs. Today's "flattened" world has greatly increased the U.S. involvement in global affairs, even more so from when the Cold War kept us physically out of nations within the Soviet sphere of influence. As a reflection of our society, our military is only as imperial as they are.
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet withstanding, go out to meet it."

    -Thucydides

  14. #74
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Default Speech of & discussion with Bacevich

    http://ericpalmer.wordpress.com/2009...evich-usa-ret/

    I agree 95%.

    I do not tend to publicly agree with others often, so this is quite exceptional.

    (The only thing that irritated me was the supposed theft of California by Mexicans, maybe I just misunderstood something - it doesn't fit into his speech.)

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    Default Andrew J. Bacevich: The Revisionist Imperative

    Andrew J. Bacevich: The Revisionist Imperative

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  16. #76
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Moderator at work

    This thread was called 'Warrior Politics--Andrew Bacevich' and has been renamed (similar title to David Kilcullen's thread, although with fewer reads).

    I have also merged several smaller threads into this one.
    davidbfpo

  17. #77
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The US military deserve better

    A WaPo review of 'Breach of Trust : How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country’ by Andrew J. Bacevich:http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinio...cd6_story.html

    I do like this phrase for describing (US) All Volunteer Forces:
    ....a civil-military relationship founded on the principle that a few fight while the rest watch.
    The reviewer's best passage:
    Evading civic responsibility is the order of the day, replaced by a politics of insult, enmity and evasion. The men and women we so blithely send off to fight wars in places we’ve never heard of deserve better than that, but there’s no reason to believe we’re going to give it to them.
    Whilst I appreciate the book is about the USA, the principles have an application in Western Europe, where conscription has dwindled, but I cannot recall any public debate about an all volunteer military except on the far left.
    davidbfpo

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