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Monday, March 28, 2005


andrew bacevich

chalmers johnson, himself a compelling and insightful anti-imperialist author, reviews a new book by andrew bacevich titled, "the new american militarism".

"In the end, the effort to rebuild American military power while restricting its use, initiated by [Gen.] Creighton Abrams and carried to its fruition by [Gen.] Colin Powell, failed. Or, more accurately, because that effort generated a capacity for global power projection surpassing anything the world had ever seen, reticence about how and where to use that power soon went by the board."

"It had taken the officer corps fifteen years, from 1975 to 1990, to recover from Vietnam," Bacevich writes. "It took another fifteen years, from 1990 to 2005, to fritter away most of what the reform project had wrought. By the time of [Gen. Wesley] Clark's botched Kosovo campaign, cracks in the edifice were clearly becoming visible. It was left to the administration of George W. Bush to complete the demolition."

Bacevich's main argument, only briefly outlined here, is the most powerful and compelling part of his highly original analysis. He also has chapters on the role of neo-conservative thought, Christianity and militarism, the baneful influence of civilian strategists (such as Albert Wohlstetter, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz's teacher at the University of Chicago), and what he calls "World War IV," the attempt by the United States to dominate the Middle East in order to guarantee our oil supplies. He concludes with a chapter on what to do, which is utterly sound if politically impossible. Every thoughtful American should read this book.
having read and valued johnson's work, i will do just that.

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