Andrew Bacevich

Articles by this author

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Monday, November 16, 2015
A War the West Cannot Win
President Francois Hollande’s response to Friday’s vicious terrorist attacks in France, attributed to the Islamic State, was immediate and uncompromising. “We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,” he vowed. Whether France itself possesses the will or the capacity to undertake such a war...
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Tuesday, October 13, 2015
On Building Armies (and Watching Them Fail)
First came Fallujah , then Mosul , and later Ramadi in Iraq. Now, there is Kunduz , a provincial capital in northern Afghanistan. In all four places, the same story has played out: in cities that newspaper reporters like to call “strategically important,” security forces trained and equipped by the...
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Thursday, June 18, 2015
Washington in Wonderland: Down the Iraqi Rabbit Hole (Again)
There is a peculiar form of insanity in which a veneer of rationality distracts attention from the madness lurking just beneath the surface. When Alice dove down her rabbit hole to enter a place where smirking cats offered directions, ill-mannered caterpillars dispensed advice, and Mock Turtles...
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Monday, March 09, 2015
Rationalizing Lunacy: The Intellectual as Servant of the State
Policy intellectuals -- eggheads presuming to instruct the mere mortals who actually run for office -- are a blight on the republic. Like some invasive species, they infest present-day Washington, where their presence strangles common sense and has brought to the verge of extinction the simple...
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Thursday, January 29, 2015
Save Us From Washington’s Visionaries
En route back to Washington at the tail end of his most recent overseas trip, John Kerry, America’s peripatetic secretary of state, stopped off in France “to share a hug with all of Paris.” Whether Paris reciprocated the secretary’s embrace went unrecorded. Despite the requisite reference to...
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Torture Report Highlights Consequences of Permanent War
The just-released Senate report on CIA interrogation practices since 9/11 contains nothing that would have surprised the journalist and critic Randolph Bourne. Back in 1918, in an essay left unfinished at the time of his death later that year, Bourne had warned that “war is the health of the state...
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Monday, November 24, 2014
Malarkey on the Potomac: Five Bedrock Washington Assumptions That Are Hot Air
“Iraq no longer exists.” My young friend M, sipping a cappuccino, is deadly serious. We are sitting in a scruffy restaurant across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. It’s been years since we’ve last seen each another. It may be years before our...
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Saturday, October 04, 2014
Even If We Defeat the Islamic State, We’ll Still Lose the Bigger War
As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extend into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or...
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Friday, September 12, 2014
Obama Is Picking Targets in Iraq and Syria While Missing the Point
“We are now living in what we might as well admit is the Age of Iraq ,” New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks recently wrote. There, in the Land of the Two Rivers, he continued, the United States confronts the “core problem” of our era — “the interaction between failing secular governance and...
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Monday, January 13, 2014
The Misuse of American Might, and the Price It Pays
The U.S. military is like the highly skilled, gadget-toting contractor who promises to give your kitchen a nifty makeover in no time whatsoever. Here's the guy you can count on to get the job done. Just look at those references! Yet by the time he drives off months later, the kitchen's a shambles and you're stuck with a bill several times larger than the initial estimate.
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