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Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their…
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Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (American Empire Project) (edició 2013)

de Andrew J. Bacevich (Autor)

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12213228,368 (3.84)3
Bacevich takes stock of the separation between Americans and their military, tracing its origins to the Vietnam era and exploring its pernicious implications: a nation with an abiding appetite for war waged at enormous expense by a standing army demonstrably unable to achieve victory. Rather than something for "other people" to do, Bacevich argues that national defense should become the business of "we the people."… (més)
Títol:Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (American Empire Project)
Autors:Andrew J. Bacevich (Autor)
Informació:Metropolitan Books (2013), Edition: 1, 256 pages
Col·leccions:Living Room, Case 3, Shelf 2

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Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country de Andrew Bacevich

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Es mostren 1-5 de 14 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Compelling. ( )
  LizzK | Dec 8, 2023 |
He asks a lot of questions. And he is spot on about us needing to have a military staffed by ALL citizens. Not just volunteers. he strongly gazes back and plays the "what-if" game. But doesnt seem to present a plan on how to extricate us from this problem. And it is a big problem. ( )
  bermandog | Jun 21, 2019 |
The author is a triple threat - writer, historian, retired Army Colonel, and his theorem will not please supporters of an all-volunteer defense. Having fought in Vietnam, he knows about wasted efforts caused by political nonsense, but he believes that the entire country must be engaged in its defense. But how can the country support such deadly, useless efforts such as Iraq and Afghanistan? Bacevich feels that since the entire country will NOT support political wars, they can possibly be halted by instituting mandatory service to country, such as Israel's, without making a military commitment obligatory. So that those who choose to serve their two years in the military can do so, and others can work at different service positions that benefit the total population. For a self-described conservative, the author despises the 1% plutocracy that gains from the 1% who serves and risks death or permanent mental and physical disability. There's a lot of opinion on the Pentagon's grasp of the Information Age (drones), and on the twin travesties of Iraq and Afghanistan. This is an intellectually rigorous and challenging read, well worth the extra effort (for me, anyway) to understand the author's pathways to changing current policies. ( )
  froxgirl | Jul 23, 2018 |
Ressenya escrita per a Crítics Matiners de LibraryThing .
I am about three years late as an early reviewer of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, by Andrew J. Bacevich, but even though it slipped through the cracks my uncorrected proof edition has long beckoned to me from the shelf, and now its time has come. I have read Bacevich before: his 2008 The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, a kind of manifesto that essentially calls for a full reset of American military goals and direction grounded on pragmatism and realism, was a radical departure from the kind of analysis one would expect from a former military man billed as a “conservative historian.” Of course, the tragic stumbles into Afghanistan and Iraq and the aftermath of wars with no foreseeable end have provoked critical thinking on all sectors except the most stubbornly ideological, but to his credit Bacevich generally brings a refreshing new perspective to familiar conundrums, while occasionally striking a sort of utopian chord lacking specificity that might more often be found on the left rather than the right-of-center.
There is less ambiguity in Breach of Trust. Bacevich defines his thesis at the outset: Americans lack “skin in the game,” as it were, and thus are willing to tolerate unending wars because in an era of an all-volunteer army their children cannot be drafted and put at risk. Bacevich goes on to unsparingly indict this professionalization of the American military, not only by its reliance solely on volunteers but by the ongoing utilization of security contractors that operate as business entities rather than patriots with the interests of the nation in mind. Moreover, he decries the gainsaying of the “support our troops” mantra, which has become a diluted slogan for the real apathy most Americans lend to our endless wars. The latter especially resonated with me, for I have long said that “support our troops” is simply a forced euphemism for “support our wars.”
Breach of Trust opens with Bacevich as a young platoon leader in Vietnam 1970-71, with “fragging” becoming a popular act of resistance against authority, something no one in the military then or since has wanted to discuss out loud, a telling reminder that as Vietnam has devolved into myth there was indeed plenty of opposition to the war from within. It is worth pausing here to reflect on Bacevich’s background. A West Point graduate and combat officer in Vietnam, he went on to a career of some twenty-three years in the army, including the Gulf War, retiring with the rank of Colonel. (It is said his early retirement was predicated upon being passed over for promotion after he graciously took full responsibility for an explosive accident at a camp he commanded in Kuwait.) He went on to become an academic, and is currently Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University. A longtime critic of George W. Bush’s doctrine of preventative war and the Iraqi conflict, which he has rightly termed a “catastrophic failure,” his own son was killed in Iraq in 2007. This resume attaches to Bacevich either enormous credibility or an axe to grind, or perhaps both. Regardless, his books are well worth the read.
Breach of Trust reminds us of our military tradition in the United States, which called for a small citizen army in peacetime that was vastly augmented in times of war by both volunteers and draftees, and then demobilized when the crisis passed. It was this kind of military that ended the rebellion of the Confederacy in the Civil War and defeated Germany and Japan in World War II. The realities of the Cold War era left much larger forces in place after WWII, but that tradition still held, at least until the unpopular draft of the unpopular war in Vietnam. The all-volunteer army was the legacy of that conflict, and Bacevich admits that he once favored this approach. Yet, it is the unintended consequences of this professional military machine that forms the core of Breach of Trust and Bacevich makes a persuasive case that the result has been a disconnect between most Americans and the faraway endless wars we are waging.
The “Prologue” is telling: he relates the story of a Red Sox game at Fenway on July 4, 2011 when the Lydon family – and millions of Americans watching the game on television – are treated to their surprise reunion with their daughter Bridget, a sailor serving on an aircraft carrier deployed in support of the war in Afghanistan, courtesy of the Pentagon and the Red Sox. It was a patriotic celebration while the nation publically renewed its pledge to “support our troops,” and then Bridget returned to war and the rest of the country went on with its business. Americans are always eager to fight the bad guys – with other Americans, that is, or with other Americans’ children. As I write this, in December 2015, the country is oppressed by a kind of irrational fear of ISIL. Still, when polled more than 60% of millennials advocated sending ground troops to Syria to combat ISIL but only 12% were willing to serve!
Breach of Trust reminds us that it has not always been this way and urges that it need not remain this way going forward. Towards the end of the book, however, Bacevich turns to the old notion of mandatory service for all Americans, either in the military or in some worthwhile peacetime endeavor, and I find this less than convincing. There are indeed perils to the professionalization of the American military that transcend public apathy to endless wars – historians can easily conjure up memories of Roman legions and the like; mercenaries always pose a threat to a republic, even if you turn your own citizens into those mercenaries with a uniform and a paid education. But would the country ever support mandatory service? Would a return to the draft ever fly except during an existential threat to our national survival? I don’t see it. Instead, in my view the focus must return to putting pressure on our national leaders to force a conclusion to our current military adventures, and insist that we maintain a strong defensive posture while turning to war only as an absolute last resort.
Bacevich has been a critic of American foreign policy since 911, but he has remained a voice in the wilderness. I would recommend this book, yet I doubt it will have the kind of influence it deserves. War has become almost an intrinsic part of our culture these days, and if we are not very, very careful, our addiction to it may one day destroy us.
On a final note, some may point to the loss of Bacevich’s son in Iraq as the spark to his epiphany that we are on the wrong track, but it actually long predated it. In fact, some less charitable souls contacted him after this tragedy to taunt him with responsibility for the death of his son through his political opposition to the war. At the time, Bacevich wrote, both he and his son were doing their duties to their country. ( In my opinion, it is our duty as citizens to hear what he has to say.

My review of: Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, by Andrew Bacevich … ( )
1 vota Garp83 | Dec 20, 2015 |
Ressenya escrita per a Crítics Matiners de LibraryThing .
I think Bacevich raises some really interesting issues that are worth considering in greater depth and discussing more broadly in our society. He essentially argues that a few changes in the way American society and its military interact and relate to each other have helped to create (or at least reinforce) a world in which war becomes normalized and the people have become apathetic about use of force.

Bacevich looks at three core ideas that he says infuse American thinking, particularly post-9/11 and post-elimination of the draft—(1) that Americans will not change (i.e., the idea that "they" win when we change our lives in response to the war), (2) that Americans will not pay now (the fact that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been mostly financed by large amounts of debt, rather than sacrifice in the form of increased taxes or other revenue-raising policies), and (3) that we will not bleed (that is, that the military is composed of those who volunteer, and that other Americans have little or no "skin in the game"). He argues that these three concepts have led to an America in which war has become the new normal, and American military might has become more imperial in nature than democratic, with the growing military-industrial complex and private security sectors as symptoms of this. There's a lot more to the argument that just that, but I think Bacevich makes some interesting points, particularly looking at the world through his own experiences as a U.S. Army officer of 23 years, an academic in the field of history and international relations, and the father of a soldier who died in Iraq.

I can't say whether I agree or disagree with his arguments, as I had never really thought about them before, but the book gave me a lot to think over and made its points well. This is definitely a topic that I will be thinking about and discussing more, and I feel like Bacevich's book gave me a solid basis to begin doing so. It was well-written and easy to follow, and provided a solid foundation for deeper thinking about the issues presented. ( )
1 vota crazylilcuban | Jun 15, 2014 |
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Bacevich takes stock of the separation between Americans and their military, tracing its origins to the Vietnam era and exploring its pernicious implications: a nation with an abiding appetite for war waged at enormous expense by a standing army demonstrably unable to achieve victory. Rather than something for "other people" to do, Bacevich argues that national defense should become the business of "we the people."

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