Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.

Author:Cirafici, John
Position:Book review
 
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Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country. By Andrew J. Bacevich. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2013. Notes. Index. Pp. xii, 238. $26.00 ISBN: 978-0-8050-8296-8

Bacevich explains in his most recent book that we, the American people, need to recognize, from a national security perspective, that the United States is not the benevolent nation we imagine. In support of his position, he touches on a selection of imprudent national security policies emanating from "inside the beltway." His central theme in this book, however, is that the all-volunteer army is disconnected from mainstream America--he calls it a dysfunctional relationship--and is, consequently, subject to misuse. This is the fault of all Americans and not just Washington. He goes on to say that this is just one of a number of manifestations of abuse of power in Washington: "... by no stretch of the imagination did the all-volunteer army qualify as--or seek to be--an army of the people. Now culturally in step [with the current social agenda], it was content to march alongside, but at arm's length from the rest of American society."

He describes the willingness of presidents--supported by members of government and acting in the absence of a military draft environment--to employ military force without fear of resistance from the American public. The result is a "free pass" to use military force rather than diplomacy. Said more directly, the mindset in Washington is one of perpetual war. To support his charge of perpetual war, Bacevich points to recent history: the Persian Gulf tanker war of the mid-1980s, Desert One, the recent Libya campaign (and the retaliatory attacks on Libya in the mid-1980s), Desert Storm, the 1983 Beirut tragedy, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Panama, Yemen, Somalia, Operation Iraqi Freedom, the war in Afghanistan, and on and on. One can add to that list the threat of war in Syria and Iran--wars that are only a...

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