RANGER AGAINST WAR: Jumping the Shark <

Friday, November 09, 2007

Jumping the Shark

This much we can say with certainty:
Bush is as much in the dark as you are
--Andrew Bacevich

Andrew Bacevich sounded the death knell this week for the Phony War on Terror (PWOT©) ((Picking Up After the Failed War on Terror). He's not the first, but his reasoning is as follows:

"War requires adherence to principles.
Once a conflict becomes an exercise in improvisation, it ceases to be meaningful. It becomes the antithesis of war -- killing without political purpose or moral justification.

"The Bush administration is no longer engaged in a principled effort to address the threat posed by violent Islamic radicalism. In lieu of principles, the administration now engages in crisis management, reacting to problems as they pop up. Last week, it was Turkey's threat to invade Iraqi Kurdistan. This week, it's Pervez Musharraf, key ally and beneficiary of $10 billion in U.S. aid since 2001, imposing naked military rule on Pakistan. Next week, who knows what surprises await?"

But reactionary crisis management is not the sole mode of conducting the PWOT. It also requires the skills of consummate spinmeisters contorting logic and reality to fit the paradigm PWOT. The war is as phony as every justification given for it.
Justifying a war is not the same as winning it.

"During the heady run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the president was boldly promising that the United States, drawing on its 'unparalleled military strength and great economic and political influence,' would not only 'defend the peace by fighting terrorists and tyrants' but also 'extend the benefits of freedom across the globe.'"

Fighting terrorists and tyrants has expended our military strength, destroyed U.S. economic viability and discredited our political influence. Other than those miserable failures, all is well in Crawford, Texas.

On Condoleezza Rice: "Because the United States 'has always been, and will always be, not a status quo power but a
revolutionary power,' the Bush administration was going to engineer a democratic revolution, thereby creating what Rice called a "new Middle East." "This revolution has demonstrably failed. In such places as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, it never got off the ground. "

To borrow Alice Randall's title, the wind done gone out of those once revolutionary sails. In any event, a revolution is effected by an impulse upwelling from within a society. A nation can inspire via example and assist from the boundary, but to enter unbidden and smash a country's leadership and then impose one's own ideology is fascist. Obvious, right?

"Policymakers such as Rice, who once disdained mere stability, are now frantically trying to prevent the greater Middle East from sliding into chaos. As the clock runs down on the Bush era, the administration preoccupies itself with damage control."

Professor Bacevich, not even a military scholar, ends with some sound suggestions on how the U.S. might comport itself
via a vis Islamic radicalism. The last one is priceless.

"The essence of these principles can be expressed in a single word: realism, which implies seeing ourselves as we really are and the world as it actually is." What this administration needs is not spinmeisters, but opthamologists.


: Prof. Bacevich is most certainly a military scholar. Mea culpa.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a military scholar . . . Hhm Ranger, let's see; Ranger school, combat service in the cavalry in Vietnam, war college, retired colonel, PhD - yep, he's in.

Saturday, November 10, 2007 at 1:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Didn't know--thanks. That's quite a vita. Onviously, I'm not familiar with Bacevich; just saw the piece in the L.A. Times.

Just going by the gloss at the article's end, which said merely historian at Boston U, as I recall.

Saturday, November 10, 2007 at 1:42:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Not only is Bacevich—whom I've met and who is IMO, a serious gentleman who knows what he's talking about—eminently well qualified to do what he's doing, he lost his only child, an infantry officer, in Iraq.

Saturday, November 10, 2007 at 11:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


Thanks for the further information. We were asleep at the wheel on this one.

We almost never read the HufPo, and only occasionally the Nation, so we've missed Bacevich's estimable contributions. I am familiar with him as an author, but I had no idea of his service, nor his loss.

Jim writes ex nusquam, generally speaking. He is kind of like an idiot savant, in the way. He says only that it's a great sorrow to lose a child for any reason.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 10:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Publius said...

Not to worry, Lisa/Jim. Just wanted to ensure you folks know this guy is not a pointy-headed intellectual. IMO, he's on the side of truth, justice and the American way. You know, the home team.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 8:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Lisa said...


Noted. The quality of his thinking and writing speaks for itself, regardless of his numerous other contributions.

We spoke to his piece because it impressed us. Even not knowing his military background, we thought his suggestions fully more sensible than those being implemented by this administration.

Thanks again for the additions.

Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 10:49:00 PM GMT-5  

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