|Fwd: Analysis of US Empire||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: patty guerrero (pattypaxicloud.com)|
|Date: Mon, 6 May 2019 19:41:22 -0700 (PDT)|
We haven’t been meeting for few months but need people to read this from Coleen. Patty Sent from my iPhone Begin forwarded message: > From: "rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net" <rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net> > Date: May 6, 2019 at 9:09:39 PM CDT > To: GARY W KING <g5king [at] msn.com> > Cc: Tackling Torture Committee <TacklingTortureAtTheTop [at] > groupspaces.com>, Patty Guerrero <pattypax [at] icloud.com>, "dxcgrs [at] > mac.com" <dxcgrs [at] mac.com> > Subject: Re: Analysis of US Empire > Reply-To: "rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net" <rowleyclan [at] earthlink.net> > > And now Bolton-Trump appear to be going to simultaneously launch war on both > Venezuela and Iran (following the blood-drenched Netanyahu and Saudi Prince > Salman's demands) with almost no US citizen even raising an eyebrow. That's > due to what Bacevich observes: "When it comes to war, we are a nation of > addicts unaware of our addiction, in no small part because the evil effects > tend to be felt most directly and powerfully by others." Which is exactly > what former Foreign Service Officer Robert Wing and I explained in greater > detail in this op-ed (which 15 major American newspapers secessively declined > to publish a couple years ago): > https://consortiumnews.com/2018/02/04/recipe-concocted-for-perpetual-war-is-a-bitter-one/ > Public television political experts repeatedly pointed tonight to polls > that Americans care only about domestic issues and not about their foreign > wars which only kill "others." > > Up till now and especially since the US removed most of its "boots on the > ground" relying exclusively on aerial/drone bombing and use of terrorist > proxy forces, our US-NATO-Israel's wars became almost totally cost free to > Americans and more like slaughters or mass murder of foreigners instead of > "war." But my guess is that these "good times" for US military might that > relied upon bombing poor, almost defenseless countries may be coming to an > end. With any further attacks on Iran, Venezuela, etc., we may quickly find > ourselves involved in real war, not only with poorly armed "insurgent" > Iranians and Venezuelans etc but most dangerously for the planet and the > human race, with the remaining nuclear powers who oppose our continued > attempt at unipolar dominance. > > Coleen R. > -----Original Message----- > >From: GARY W KING > >Sent: May 6, 2019 1:30 PM > >To: GARY W KING > >Subject: Analysis of US Empire > > > >Andrew Bacevich is a professor of history, former army commander, who lost > >one son in Iraq. He has great analysis. Here is the US Empire, full of > >b.s....... > > > > > >http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176560/best_of_tomdispatch:_andrew_bacevich,_the_american_military_crisis/#more > > > >Best of TomDispatch: Andrew Bacevich, The American Military Crisis | > >TomDispatch > >[Note for TomDispatch Readers: In August 2008 -- the U.S. war on terror had > >been underway by then for almost seven years -- TomDispatch posted its first > >essay by former Army colonel and historian Andrew Bacevich, adapted from his > >new book, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. Almost 11 > >years later, reposted today as a "best of TomDispatch" piece, Bacevich's > >analysis remains a painfully on target portrait of the U.S. military's > >ongoing forever wars and of a Washington that has proven remarkably > >incapable, year after year, of reassessing what U.S. military power can and > >(mostly) can't do. Bacevich has written a new introduction for the piece. > >Tom] > >My very first piece for TomDispatch, reposted below, appeared more than a > >decade ago. Perhaps I'm not the best person to judge, but I believe that my > >critical assessment of American military policy and of the U.S. military > >system has stood the test of time. > >Of course, other observers of our "forever wars" have offered a similar > >critique, among them more than a few contributors to TomDispatch, including > >William Astore, Ann Jones, Danny Sjursen, Nick Turse, and the late Chalmers > >Johnson. I'll refer to them collectively as antiwar writers, although the > >term doesn't adequately capture the breadth of their critique and their > >aspirations for an America that differs from the one that accepts permanent > >war as the norm. > >It's akin to categorizing Martin Luther King as a civil rights leader. > >Although he surely was that, his vision went well beyond seeking equality > >for African Americans. King wanted this country itself to become a different > >place. So, too, do those who, since 9/11, have helped create a vast body of > >antiwar literature. > >In my estimation, it equals or surpasses in quality the antiwar literature > >inspired by the Vietnam War. Much of it comes from progressives. Yet no > >small amount is the handiwork of writers who identify themselves, as I do, > >as conservatives. Perhaps more significantly, former soldiers who have > >fought in places like Iraq and Afghanistan are now beginning to make their > >own notable contributions. And, of course, this body of work continues to > >accumulate, month after month. > >Yet when it comes to the way Washington policy elites think about war and > >the U.S. military, that vast antiwar outpouring of poetry and prose, fiction > >and nonfiction, images and videos has had negligible impact. I don't mean to > >suggest that nothing has changed since 2003 when George W. Bush so > >confidently inaugurated Operation Iraqi Freedom. Today, few members of the > >foreign policy establishment subscribe to the conviction that the United > >States is called upon to spread democracy globally at gunpoint under the > >rubric of "the Global War on Terror." Even among most neoconservatives, the > >phrase "regime change" has lost whatever allure it once possessed. And apart > >perhaps from the current national security advisor, few advocate for > >preventive war whenever Washington takes a dislike to some faraway strongman. > >Even so, all these years later, the underlying premises of U.S. policy and > >the forever wars that go with it remain very much intact -- the massive > >military budget, the military-industrial complex, the empire of bases, the > >preference for coercion rather than diplomacy, with "all options" always "on > >the table." No doubt policy elites have learned a few things since 9/11. But > >none of that has fundamentally affected the way that the establishment > >defines America's proper role in the world. When it comes to war, we are a > >nation of addicts unaware of our addiction, in no small part because the > >evil effects tend to be felt most directly and powerfully by others. > >So it has been gratifying for me to do my own bit in opposing militarism and > >Washington's misguided use of armed force. And it's been a privilege to > >express my views in a venue like TomDispatch. But there's no disguising this > >essential fact: mission accomplished is nowhere in sight. Andrew J. Bacevich > >Illusions of Victory > >How the United States Did Not Reinvent War But Thought It Did > >By Andrew Bacevich > >"War is the great auditor of institutions," the historian Corelli Barnett > >once observed. Since 9/11, the United States has undergone such an audit and > >been found wanting. That adverse judgment applies in full to America's armed > >forces. > >Valor does not offer the measure of an army's greatness, nor does fortitude, > >nor durability, nor technological sophistication. A great army is one that > >accomplishes its assigned mission. Since George W. Bush inaugurated his > >global war on terror, the armed forces of the United States have failed to > >meet that standard. > >In the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Bush conceived of a bold, offensive > >strategy, vowing to "take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and > >confront the worst threats before they emerge." The military offered the > >principal means for undertaking this offensive, and U.S. forces soon found > >themselves engaged on several fronts. > >Two of those fronts --- Afghanistan and Iraq -- commanded priority > >attention. In each case, the assigned task was to deliver a knockout blow, > >leading to a quick, decisive, economical, politically meaningful victory. In > >each case, despite impressive displays of valor, fortitude, durability, and > >technological sophistication, America's military came up short. The problem > >lay not with the level of exertion but with the results achieved. > >In Afghanistan, U.S. forces failed to eliminate the leadership of Al Qaeda. > >Although they toppled the Taliban regime that had ruled most of that > >country, they failed to eliminate the Taliban movement, which soon began to > >claw its way back. Intended as a brief campaign, the Afghan War became a > >protracted one. Nearly seven years after it began, there is no end in sight. > >If anything, America's adversaries are gaining strength. The outcome remains > >much in doubt. > >In Iraq, events followed a similar pattern, with the appearance of easy > >success belied by subsequent developments. The U.S. invasion began on March > >19, 2003. Six weeks later, against the backdrop of a White House-produced > >banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," President Bush declared that > >"major combat operations in Iraq have ended." This claim proved illusory. > >Writing shortly after the fall of Baghdad, the influential neoconservatives > >David Frum and Richard Perle declared Operation Iraqi Freedom "a vivid and > >compelling demonstration of America's ability to win swift and total > >victory." General Tommy Franks, commanding the force that invaded Iraq, > >modestly characterized the results of his handiwork as "unequalled in its > >excellence by anything in the annals of war." In retrospect, such judgments > >-- and they were legion -- can only be considered risible. A war thought to > >have ended on April 9, 2003, in Baghdad's al-Firdos Square was only just > >beginning. Fighting dragged on for years, exacting a cruel toll. Iraq became > >a reprise of Vietnam, although in some respects at least on a blessedly > >smaller scale. > >A New American Way of War? > >It wasn't supposed to be this way. Just a few short years ago, observers > >were proclaiming that the United States possessed military power such as the > >world had never seen. Here was the nation's strong suit. "The troops" > >appeared unbeatable. Writing in 2002, for example, Max Boot, a well-known > >commentator on military matters, attributed to the United States a level of > >martial excellence "that far surpasses the capabilities of such previous > >would-be hegemons as Rome, Britain, and Napoleonic France." With U.S. forces > >enjoying "unparalleled strength in every facet of warfare," allies, he > >wrote, had become an encumbrance: "We just don't need anyone else's help > >very much." > >Boot dubbed this the Doctrine of the Big Enchilada. Within a year, after > >U.S. troops had occupied Baghdad, he went further: America's army even > >outclassed Germany's Wehrmacht. The mastery displayed in knocking off > >Saddam, Boot gushed, made "fabled generals such as Erwin Rommel and Heinz > >Guderian seem positively incompetent by comparison." > > All of this turned out to be hot air. If the global war on terror has > > produced one undeniable conclusion, it is this: Estimates of U.S. military > > capabilities have turned out to be wildly overstated. The Bush > > administration's misplaced confidence in the efficacy of American arms > > represents a strategic misjudgment that has cost the country dearly. Even > > in an age of stealth, precision weapons, and instant communications, armed > > force is not a panacea. Even in a supposedly unipolar era, American > > military power turns out to be quite limited. > >How did it happen that Americans so utterly overappraised the utility of > >military power? The answer to that question lies at the intersection of > >three great illusions. > >According to the first illusion, the United States during the 1980s and > >1990s had succeeded in reinventing armed conflict. The result was to make > >force more precise, more discriminating, and potentially more humane. The > >Pentagon had devised a new American Way of War, investing its forces with > >capabilities unlike any the world had ever seen. As President Bush > >exuberantly declared shortly after the fall of Baghdad in April 2003, "We've > >applied the new powers of technology to strike an enemy force with speed and > >incredible precision. By a combination of creative strategies and advanced > >technologies, we are redefining war on our terms. In this new era of > >warfare, we can target a regime, not a nation." > >The distinction between regime and nation was a crucial one. By employing > >these new military techniques, the United States could eliminate an > >obstreperous foreign leader and his cronies, while sparing the population > >over which that leader ruled. Putting a missile through the roof of a > >presidential palace made it unnecessary to incinerate an entire capital > >city, endowing force with hitherto undreamed-of political utility and easing > >ancient moral inhibitions on the use of force. Force had been a club; it now > >became a scalpel. By the time the president spoke, such sentiments had > >already become commonplace among many (although by no means all) military > >officers and national security experts. > >Here lay a formula for certain victory. Confidence in military prowess both > >reflected and reinforced a post-Cold War confidence in the universality of > >American values. Harnessed together, they made a seemingly unstoppable > >one-two punch. > >With that combination came expanded ambitions. In the 1990s, the very > >purpose of the Department of Defense changed. Sustaining American global > >preeminence, rather than mere national security, became its explicit > >function. In the most comprehensive articulation of this new American Way of > >War, the Joint Chiefs of Staff committed the armed services to achieving > >what they called "full spectrum dominance" -- unambiguous supremacy in all > >forms of warfare, to be achieved by tapping the potential of two "enablers" > >-- "technological innovation and information superiority." > >Full spectrum dominance stood in relation to military affairs as the > >political scientist Francis Fukuyama's well-known proclamation of "the end > >of history" stood in relation to ideology: Each claimed to have unlocked > >ultimate truths. According to Fukuyama, democratic capitalism represented > >the final stage in political economic evolution. According to the proponents > >of full spectrum dominance, that concept represented the final stage in the > >evolution of modern warfare. In their first days and weeks, the successive > >invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq both seemed to affirm such claims. > >How Not to "Support the Troops" > >According to the second illusion, American civilian and military leaders > >subscribed to a common set of principles for employing their now-dominant > >forces. Adherence to these principles promised to prevent any recurrence of > >the sort of disaster that had befallen the nation in Vietnam. If politicians > >went off half-cocked, as President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense > >Robert McNamara had back in the 1960s, generals who had correctly discerned > >and assimilated the lessons of modern war could be counted on to rein them > >in. > >These principles found authoritative expression in the Weinberger-Powell > >Doctrine, which specified criteria for deciding when and how to use force. > >Caspar Weinberger, secretary of defense during most of the Reagan era, first > >articulated these principles in 1984. General Colin Powell, chairman of the > >Joint Chiefs of Staff during the early 1990s, expanded on them. Yet the > >doctrine's real authors were the members of the post-Vietnam officer corps. > >The Weinberger-Powell principles expressed the military's own lessons taken > >from that war. Those principles also expressed the determination of senior > >officers to prevent any recurrence of Vietnam. > >Henceforth, according to Weinberger and Powell, the United States would > >fight only when genuinely vital interests were at stake. It would do so in > >pursuit of concrete and attainable objectives. It would mobilize the > >necessary resources -- political and moral as well as material -- to win > >promptly and decisively. It would end conflicts expeditiously and then get > >out, leaving no loose ends. The spirit of the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine was > >not permissive; its purpose was to curb the reckless or imprudent > >inclinations of bellicose civilians. > >According to the third illusion, the military and American society had > >successfully patched up the differences that produced something akin to > >divorce during the divisive Vietnam years. By the 1990s, a reconciliation of > >sorts was under way. In the wake of Operation Desert Storm, "the American > >people fell in love again with their armed forces." So, at least, General > >Colin Powell, one of that war's great heroes, believed. Out of this love > >affair a new civil-military compact had evolved, one based on the confidence > >that, in times of duress, Americans could be counted on to "support the > >troops." Never again would the nation abandon its soldiers. > >The All-Volunteer Force (AVF) -- despite its name, a professional military > >establishment -- represented the chief manifestation of this new compact. By > >the 1990s, Americans were celebrating the AVF as the one component of the > >federal government that actually worked as advertised. The AVF embodied the > >nation's claim to the status of sole superpower; it was "America's Team." In > >the wake of the Cold War, the AVF sustained the global Pax Americana without > >interfering with the average American's pursuit of life, liberty, and > >happiness. What was not to like? > >Events since 9/11 have exposed these three illusions for what they were. > >When tested, the new American Way of War yielded more glitter than gold. The > >generals and admirals who touted the wonders of full spectrum dominance were > >guilty of flagrant professional malpractice, if not outright fraud. To judge > >by the record of the past twenty years, U.S. forces win decisively only when > >the enemy obligingly fights on American terms -- and Saddam Hussein's demise > >has drastically reduced the likelihood of finding such accommodating > >adversaries in the future. As for loose ends, from Somalia to the Balkans, > >from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, they have been endemic. > >When it came to the Weinberger-Powell Doctrine, civilian willingness to > >conform to its provisions proved to be highly contingent. Confronting Powell > >in 1993, Madeleine Albright famously demanded to know, "What's the point of > >having this superb military that you're always talking about, if we can't > >use it?" Mesmerized by the prospects of putting American soldiers to work to > >alleviate the world's ills, Albright soon enough got her way. An odd > >alliance that combined left-leaning do-gooders with jingoistic politicians > >and pundits succeeded in chipping away at constraints on the use of force. > >"Humanitarian intervention" became all the rage. Whatever restraining > >influence the generals exercised during the 1990s did not survive that > >decade. Lessons of Vietnam that had once seemed indelible were forgotten. > >Meanwhile, the reconciliation of the people and the army turned out to be a > >chimera. When the chips were down, "supporting the troops" elicited plenty > >of posturing but little by way of binding commitments. Far from producing a > >stampede of eager recruits keen to don a uniform, the events of 9/11 > >reaffirmed a widespread popular preference for hiring someone else's kid to > >chase terrorists, spread democracy, and ensure access to the world's energy > >reserves. > >In the midst of a global war of ostensibly earthshaking importance, > >Americans demonstrated a greater affinity for their hometown sports heroes > >than for the soldiers defending the distant precincts of the American > >imperium. Tom Brady makes millions playing quarterback in the NFL and rakes > >in millions more from endorsements. Pat Tillman quit professional football > >to become an army ranger and was killed in Afghanistan. Yet, of the two, > >Brady more fully embodies the contemporary understanding of the term patriot. > >Demolishing the Doctrine of the Big Enchilada > >While they persisted, however, these three illusions fostered gaudy > >expectations about the efficacy of American military might. Every president > >since Ronald Reagan has endorsed these expectations. Every president since > >Reagan has exploited his role as commander in chief to expand on the > >imperial prerogatives of his office. Each has also relied on military power > >to conceal or manage problems that stemmed from the nation's habits of > >profligacy. > >In the wake of 9/11, these puerile expectations -- that armed force wielded > >by a strong-willed chief executive could do just about anything -- reached > >an apotheosis of sorts. Having manifestly failed to anticipate or prevent a > >devastating attack on American soil, President Bush proceeded to use his > >ensuing global war on terror as a pretext for advancing grandiose new > >military ambitions married to claims of unbounded executive authority -- all > >under the guise of keeping Americans "safe." > >With the president denying any connection between the events of September > >11th and past U.S. policies, his declaration of a global war nipped in the > >bud whatever inclination the public might have entertained to reconsider > >those policies. In essence, Bush counted on war both to concentrate greater > >power in his own hands and to divert attention from the political, economic, > >and cultural bind in which the United States found itself as a result of its > >own past behavior. > >As long as U.S. forces sustained their reputation for invincibility, it > >remained possible to pretend that the constitutional order and the American > >way of life were in good health. The concept of waging an open-ended global > >campaign to eliminate terrorism retained a modicum of plausibility. After > >all, how could anyone or anything stop the unstoppable American soldier? > >Call that reputation into question, however, and everything else unravels. > >This is what occurred when the Iraq War went sour. The ills afflicting our > >political system, including a deeply irresponsible Congress, broken national > >security institutions, and above all an imperial commander in chief not up > >to the job, became all but impossible to ignore. So, too, did the > >self-destructive elements inherent in the American way of life -- especially > >an increasingly costly addiction to foreign oil, universally deplored and > >almost as universally indulged. More noteworthy still, the prospect of > >waging war on a global scale for decades, if not generations, became > >preposterous. > >To anyone with eyes to see, the events of the past seven years have > >demolished the Doctrine of the Big Enchilada. A gung-ho journalist like > >Robert Kaplan might still believe that, with the dawn of the twenty-first > >century, the Pentagon had "appropriated the entire earth, and was ready to > >flood the most obscure areas of it with troops at a moment's notice," that > >planet Earth in its entirety had become "battle space for the American > >military." Yet any buck sergeant of even middling intelligence knew better > >than to buy such claptrap. > >With the Afghanistan War well into its seventh year and the Iraq War marking > >its fifth anniversary, a commentator like Michael Barone might express > >absolute certainty that "just about no mission is impossible for the United > >States military." But Barone was not facing the prospect of being ordered > >back to the war zone for his second or third combat tour. > >Between what President Bush called upon America's soldiers to do and what > >they were capable of doing loomed a huge gap that defines the military > >crisis besetting the United States today. For a nation accustomed to seeing > >military power as its trump card, the implications of that gap are > >monumental. > >Andrew Bacevich is a TomDispatch regular. His most recent book is Twilight > >of the American Century published by the University of Notre Dame Press. > >This piece was adapted from his book, The Limits of Power: The End of > >American Exceptionalism (Metropolitan Books, 2008). > >Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest > >Dispatch Books, John Feffer's new dystopian novel (the second in the > >Splinterlands series) Frostlands, Beverly Gologorsky's novel Every Body Has > >a Story, and Tom Engelhardt's A Nation Unmade by War, as well as Alfred > >McCoy's In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of U.S. > >Global Power and John Dower's The Violent American Century: War and Terror > >Since World War II. > >From the book The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism by > >Andrew Bacevich, copyright (c) 2008 by Andrew Bacevich. Reprinted by > >arrangement with Metropolitan Books, an Imprint of Henry Holt and Company, > >LLC. All Rights Reserved. > "Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best." > --Edward Abbey > > > "Power is always dangerous. Power attracts the worst and corrupts the best." > --Edward Abbey > > >
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