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Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War

General Petraeus & the Counter-Insurgency Theory

By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS

Healdsburg, CA–Andrew Bacevich, who retired as an American Army Colonel with a distinguished military career, twenty years ago, and, then, became an academic with a position, currently, in Boston has created a book (the title of this piece) that has created quite a stir through several layers of society to the  point of being on the New York Times best seller list.

Bacevich was at Berkeley, speaking to an academic audience, to promote this new hardback last month.  He left his notes in the hotel; so, he strayed from the subtitle on the subject of General David Petreus’ Insurgency in Iraq and now in Afghanistan.  His presentation wandered more into a remembered off-the-cuff remarks regarding study. This produced more of a sincere ring to them then if he were giving a speech on the content of this book.

For a “retired” military man, Bacevich writes with a sensitively with a national political vision.  Washington Rules merges foreign affairs into recent American military history.  The study intends to examine the national issues of the day.   Historically, what he discusses are America’s security questions since the denouement of the Second World War.

Dr. Bacevich deduces that America’s external affairs’ theorem for your student is similar to Israel’s validation for its Eternal [unsustainable] War modus operandi that largely was developed by American Neo-Conservatives during the first of Netanyahu’s Prime Ministerships. 

America’s policy credo has to have the Armed Services de facto – although not in name — control the civilian body politik.  The fortified soldiers’ primary function is no longer to defend the United States, but to extend the District of Columba’s dominance within Globalism.  This strategy was configured in the period after World War Two, and has been enlarged since, but the world was a much different place then and America was truly the dominant policeman, but not so now.  There are many more local forces available than the U.S.A. to do that job.

Washington is doing its own toil only for (the interests of) itself (D.C).   (Retired) Colonel Bacevich claims that David Petraeus is working solely for the benefit of the U.S.A.  That claim your reviewer holds a strong disagreement with the book‘s author.  General Petareus is an independent thinker and a brilliant military strategist with a profound understanding and respect for the terrain and the people he is holding and defending.  He has had to fight due to the inept fumbling of the Bush and before the Reagan Administrations. 

Both the Generals McWaters (recently fired from the Afghani Theater) and Petraeus (who replaced him) belong to the more liberal of the two American political parties.  Your writer strongly suspects, although he has stated to the contrary, he will become a prominent influence on American political life when he retires from the military, and dons a civilian suit.  It has been apparent to your essayist from the Observer here that he holds similar views from the commentator on this page on how to create a long-lasting peace in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Islamic World.  Although a military man, like Marine Corps General Zini – the (U.S) Centcom chief under (President) Clinton — he respects the Muslim peoples and culture(s) and their nations. 

Unfortunately, official Washington’s  “…[the American government’s] efforts [to outreach] to the Islamic world have brought [even] more instability” even, though President Obama’s Administration has attempted to reverse this long-standing trend.

Iraq was not a security threat at all!  Afghanistan was a threat (but, if a Post-Al’Quaeda world can be achieved, a government of national unity from Kabul with inclusive of elements of the Taliban is not outside the range of possibilities).  Bacevich emphatically states that War should only become a tool of self-defense – not employed as a preventative stratagem in and of itself such as in the Bush Doctrine.

Although the States have been formally hostile to losing the slightest status in the past, contemporary Civil Society in the Americas and Europe are in rebellion to the Classic modern vision of the Metropole (Washington, D.C.). 

This book looks at the alternatives to the status quo of the last fifty-five years.   Foremost, the NPT (the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty) should become part and parcel to the U.S.’ Security schemata   we do not require bases or even an armed presence worldwide anymore.  He gives the example of China’s expanding control of Africa’s natural resources without deploying one single occupying soldier!

Your researcher concurs with Professor Bacevich, “Globalism is where the big guys win and the little guys lose.”  (In fact your scribe would go so far as to declare that the rise of the Global along with a reinvigorated Capitalism [economic Liberalization] has been one of the worst disasters to the average citizen worldwide!)  Regional control of local resources is the call for the day!

Curiously, the (Former) Colonel considers himself to be a Conservative whereas the tome he penned  has been taken up enthusiastically by the Democratic Left within his own country and our allies and detractors, for he perceives an alternative hegemony.   Your correspondent, further, observes Andrew Bacevich to be a political moderate out of the time-honored traditional antipathy of for foreign adventurism.  Therefore, he considers “… the [U.S.] redefinition of the Counter-Insurgency Doctrine, has made… [the only]… possible…conclusion to armed conflict solely [a] military… [one].”  Hopefully, Professor Bacevich is inaccurate, and the process will quickly make it possible for NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), our allies in the Hindu Kush, to exit Muslim lands with stability, and an orderly military withdrawal for all the armed forces involved in the battle.


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