Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (American Empire Project)
a book by Andrew J. Bacevich
(our site's book review)
Bacevich is the swinging banjo in the movie Deliverance, forewarning us of grave repercussions should we continue on the wrongheaded Might Makes Right path we're on
The bestselling author of The Limits of Power critically examines the Washington consensus on national security and why it must change.
For the last half century, as administrations have come and gone, the fundamental assumptions about America's military policy have remained unchanged: American security requires the United States (and us alone) to maintain a permanent armed presence around the globe, to prepare our forces for military operations in far-flung regions, and to be ready to intervene anywhere at any time. In the Obama era, just as in the Bush years, these beliefs remain unquestioned gospel.
In Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War, a vivid, incisive analysis, Andrew J. Bacevich succinctly presents the origins of this consensus, forged at a moment when American power was at its height. He exposes the preconceptions, biases, and habits that underlie our pervasive faith in military might, especially the notion that overwhelming superiority will oblige others to accommodate America's needs and desires—whether for cheap oil, cheap credit, or cheap consumer goods. And he challenges the usefulness of our militarism as it has become both unaffordable and increasingly dangerous. Bacevich challenges Washington (the President, Congress, and the military industrial complex) as well as citizens to rethink the credo (lead, save, liberate, and transform the world, global leadership and hyper-militarism and interventionism) that has directed national security for generations. And yet the way we "fix" the world seems to look to the rest of the world like "breaking" the world!
The way we 'fix' the world . . .
. . . seems to look to the rest of the world like 'breaking' the world!
Our collective understanding of war has come to be one in which we think our role is simply to defer
to these military experts. Says Bacevich: “Well, gosh, if General McChrystal and General Petraeus say that this [American strategy should now be about global counterinsurgency] makes sense, then I guess it does.” Of course, it is mainstream media propaganda (the foreign affairs aspect of which is filtered through CIA talking points—which they admit (Source: Media Now Openly Admitting The Government Controls The News) that conditions us to believe the CW (conventional "wisdom") of the day. It's not as though most citizens receive their understanding about war via serious reflection and soul searching based on researching the more salient aspects of the matter in books and online. Most people continue to "believe" whatever they learn from the boob tube—but, on the other hand, the vast majority do not trust them! Believing propaganda on TV saves us the trouble of having to think—just let Rather or O'Reilly do it for us! See Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion.
A 2013 Gallup poll found only 23% Americans trust television or newspaper news, meaning that 77% DO NOT TRUST THEM. (Source: Americans' Confidence in Congress Falls to Lowest on Record) See also Majority of Americans Don't Trust Newspapers and Television News.
"Just 6 percent of people say they have a lot of confidence in the media [i.e., 94% do NOT], putting the news industry about equal to Congress and well below the public's view of other institutions." Readers are looking for balance and transparency. "A majority of people get news from social media, most frequently by far from Facebook. . . . Yet only 12 percent of those who use Facebook say they have a lot of trust in the news and information they see on the site." [I.e., 88% do NOT.] (Source: Poll: Getting facts right key to Americans' trust in media) But don't think of Facebook news as something not mainstream. The powers-that-be ensure that the propaganda they want you to read is what you read. Not many alternative media perspectives leaking in.
Though our politicians deny it, American global might is faltering. This is the moment, Bacevich argues, to reconsider the principles which shape American policy in the world—to acknowledge that fixing Afghanistan should not take precedence over fixing Detroit. (Afghanis would be likely to say "you broke it—you fix it" except for the fact that they are dying for us to go away and never come back!) Replacing this Washington world-fixing consensus is crucial to America's future, and may yet offer the key to the country's salvation.
Bacevich argues, to reconsider the principles which shape American policy in the world—to acknowledge that fixing Afghanistan should not take precedence over fixing Detroit
These Washington Rules are no longer vital to the existence of the United States, says Bacevich, and they have led to actions that threaten to break the army and bankrupt the treasury. But they are kept in place by individuals who derive personal benefit from their continuance, he says. He can see that these people act in their own interest rather than the nation's interest, trying to further careers at any cost. Here is where his research faltered. He pointed to behavior he had seen himself, except he saw it with "new eyes." Where he had once conformed to chain-of-command thinking and CW he now saw the underlying greed and self-interest driving these people. But this is an officer-level, person-level perspective in danger of not seeing the forest for the trees. Everything he says is true, but it is missing the bigger picture.
The warmongering neocon elites' policies of unafordable empire building have led to actions that threaten to break the army and bankrupt the treasury; we citizens object, but no one listens—welcome to the rise of the Corporate Security State
Is it truly merely individual career advancement and greed at the bottom of all this or is there guidance from unseen forces that are neither in the chain of command nor the elected command structure? Are the suicidally stupid actions and decisions of our military and foreign policies coming from foolish, greedy individuals in our government's structure or from outside its legitimate structure? Research could have answered this for him. There is evidence all around that a hidden command structure is at work. A lot of our Presidents, Congresspeople, mayors, and best and wisest authors have seen it at work and warned the American people about it. The author abstains from questioning the patriotism of past leaders, so it seems inconsistent to question their sworn word. (Source: The Shadow Government)
Letting neocons run the decisions in Washington is like letting a fox guard a henhouse
If the warnings of these reputable and reliable sources were not seen as evidence in his researches, it means that he believes that only he has eyes and a brain and good sense and wisdom. That is egotistical and it is definitely not the case! Like we say, his reseach was incomplete, although competent as far as it went. This website has reviews on dozens of the books that expose these hidden command structure facts—see our articles on America. And we are not suggesting "conspiracy," which may or may not be true—many Presidents say it IS true. We are suggesting only a hidden command structure, which our researches have proven, as have the researches of hundreds if not thousands of others.
Many Presidents say the shadow government is a true conspiracy
The author addresses the following questions. What did we get out of Desert Storm? What should our role be with regard to the Islamic World? What happens if we back down in Afghanistan? Bacevich says our role in the Mideast should be to demonstrate that liberalism can coexist with religion. See The Rise of Global Civil Society: Building Communities and Nations from the Bottom Up.
The author says that leaders, when faced with the choice of admitting failure or lying, will almost always choose the latter. He goes on with the observation that U.S. international strategy is neither successful nor sustainable and maintained more by lies than by actual results. The lies are the propaganda that keeps the public from withdrawing support for failed policies and actions.
Both political parties are in bed with Wall Street. Both have sold out labor to the concept of globalization. Both have put into place policies that have transformed our country from the largest creditor nation to the largest debtor nation, with an unsustainable trade deficit. Who was it that offered the concept of globalization to the "powerful" in the first place? How was it sold to them? Why did the "powerful" bite? Bacevich insists that globalization is yet another form of imperialism. See Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and the End of the Republic.
Bacevich says we all drank the Kool-Aid that we could create a domino effect of democracy by use of preemptive war—that the Iraq War was about democratization
Bacevich says we all drank the Kool-Aid that we could create a domino effect of democracy by use of preemptive war. This is too much like kids getting spanked after they fight "to teach them violence is not the answer." It is foolish and hypocritical.
The idea that we can create a domino effect of democracy by use of preemptive war is too much like kids getting spanked after they fight "to teach them violence is not the answer," which is foolish and hypocritical
Bacevich argues forcefully that U.S. military forces should be used only as a last resort, and only in self-defense or in defense of our most vital interests. Amen. In short, he concludes, "if the United States has a saving mission, it is, first and foremost, to save itself." So until we decide to stop the madness, the madness will not stop. Bacevich ends his book with these four words. "We too, must choose." And we must. Shall we continue down this path and break ourselves or shall we become a great and prosperous country once again? So we, like Bacevich, say please help the United States with its saving mission—the mission to save itself. See We Found the Answer to How to Turn This Country Around, and Now We Need Your Help Figuring Out How to Get It to the Few People in a Position to Act on It.
Shall we continue down this path and break ourselves or shall we become a great and prosperous country once again by fixing ourselves, not by fixing the world (which we've botched miserably)?
The only certain, irrefutable, perpetual and insidious bias in reporting comes from the neocon elites themselves, which make an all-out effort to stay covert and invisible to the unsuspecting citizen
When warriors die for the tyranny of political folly, why doesn't the public complain? Patriots dying for nothing should make the public sit up and take notice, but they don't because these things are censored when the mainstream media attempts to report on them. We do not really have a free press in this country and the U.S. is not a democracy. (See Democracy—an American Delusion and Freedom of the Press—an American Delusion.)
And why is a crisis anywhere in the world immediately our crisis? Because the U.S. shadow governnment sees crisis as opportunity. Opportunity to exploit, control, or conquer. So that is why we have 700+ military bases around the world. So we get there first and with the most firepower. And then there is the fact that the USA is often the cause of the crisis, like in Iraq and Afghanistan.
America’s purpose is to be America, striving to fulfill the aspirations expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
Bacevich proposes the U.S. follows these ideals: “America’s purpose is to be America, striving to fulfill the aspirations expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as reinterpreted with the passage of time and in light of hard-earned experience” and “the purpose of the U.S, military is not to combat evil or remake the world but to defend the United States and its most vital interests.” This is the kind of thinking we need in Washington, not "get everything you can as fast as you can and while you can, since who knows when some backstabber or a throw-the-bums-out election will dislodge you from your place in front of the trough and the gravy train will be over." However, this is not nearly the problem it was when the nation was young, since the revolving door between government and corporations has made this worry fade away like flatulence in a hurricane.
Worrying about the next election is no more—the revolving door between government and corporations has made this worry fade away like flatulence in a hurricane
Why is Andrew J. Bacevich a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations? Because he is an expert of foreign affairs and international relations. Apparently, even though what the shadow government-led American government does is the opposite of what Bacevich advises, they want their buddies on the Council on Foreign Relations to hear what he has to say so they can pretend to be objective and well-informed. And, for his part, Bacevich keeps trying to wise them up that we do not need nor can we afford the current imperialistic stance. Imperialism was costing too much for the British Empire so they let most of their colonies go—especially since some were fighting back.
U.S. is building an empire which they hope will outshine the 500-year reign of the British Empire—however, countries today do NOT want to be colonies
The USA doesn't seem to be able to learn from peers like the British or from history itself. The neocons in charge—via the shadow government—don't seem to be able to learn at all. They're like retarded children: no amount of failure, debt, war deaths, resources squandered, ruin to U.S.'s international reputation, or terroristic blowback teaches them a thing. If we get deep in debt, borrow more. It our soldiers fail at war, start another one. If our reputation is in tatters, invest in more propaganda campaigns. If we're losing too many soldiers in battle, double the manpower. If our battles wreck countries, blame the enemy. If terrorism against the West increases as a result of our greedy empire building, send in more troops and increase drone killings and double the huge budget for national security so we can have enough intel to catch them before they strike.
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over always expecting a different result
Notice how this sounds insane. Sane people do not act this way. Neither do sane countries. "There is none so blind as he who WILL NOT SEE." Est (Erhard Seminars Training) in the 70s and 80s used to say that a mouse will go down a cheeseless tunnel (in behaviorism laboratories) only a few times before abandoning it and searching elsewhere, but if a human has a BELIEF that there is cheese in a certain tunnel, he will keep going down it forever, accepting his beliefs more than his direct experiences, as if he was a metaphor for "There is none so blind as he who WILL NOT SEE." Est says such a person would rather be right than alive. Live people experience things and they learn from them.
There is none so blind as he who WILL NOT SEE, nor as deaf as he WHO WILL NOT HEAR
The U.S. is acting like it is so "right" that there is nothing to learn. All opinions of other countries or of the wisest advisors or the best authors are irrelevant. We are simply so "right" that we're obviously steering a course right into our grave and we'll take the other nations with us. However, China, Russia, and Europe will get fed up with us sooner rather than later and will start blocking our actions—hopefully. The shadow government, knowing how terribly RIGHT it is, will tell our leaders to use our military against them, risking WWIII because they just know they are RIGHT. This will be the moment of truth. Are our soldiers actually stupid enough to follow these orders or will they finally wise the hell up and throw down their weapons and refuse to be used as cannon fodder anymore by the greedy elite oligarchs? There's only so much RIGHTness a soldier can stand before s/he gets sick, vomits, and walks away! This is rebellion against insanity, not against the nation. It is rebellion FOR the country, against only the sick obsessions of neocon empire builders that want to stuff oligarchs' wallets at any and all costs to the country, including any amount of deaths, debt, and terrorism blowback. It is amazing how long we fell for it!
Are our soldiers actually stupid enough to follow WWIII-starting orders or will they finally wise the hell up and throw down their weapons and refuse to be used as cannon fodder anymore by the greedy elite oligarchs?