Fwd: Analysis of US Empire
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
> >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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