Best Defense

Bacevich: It is no longer our military

The new issue of Daedalus is about the U.S. military. It has an all-star lineup, but unfortunately most of it is not online. (I was involved in an early discussion of what subjects the issue should cover, and am pleased to see the issue’s contents overcome the Boston-New York provincialism I sensed in that long-ago ...

The new issue of Daedalus is about the U.S. military. It has an all-star lineup, but unfortunately most of it is not online. (I was involved in an early discussion of what subjects the issue should cover, and am pleased to see the issue’s contents overcome the Boston-New York provincialism I sensed in that long-ago session.)

I was particularly struck by this assertion by retired Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, who now teaches at Boston University, and has a great ear for BS:

‘We the People’ need to understand: it’s not longer our army; it hasn’t been for years; it’s theirs and they intend to keep it. The American military belongs to Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright, to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, to Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates. Civilian leaders will continue to employ the military as they see fit. If Americans do not like the way the army is used, they should reclaim it, resuscitating the tradition of the citizen-soldier and reasserting the connection between citizenship and military service. … [A]s long at the tradition of the citizen-soldier remains moribund, reversing the militarization of U.S. foreign policy will be a pipe dream.

(Pp. 11-12, Daedalus, Summer 2011)

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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