Andrew Bacevich’s work
One of the major analysts of US geopolitics is Andrew Bacevich. His background in both active military service and academia gives him an excellent perspective from which to explain where we are — and where our present course is leading. All of these are worth reading, as are (on a larger scale) his books. I esp. draw your attention to his testimony before Congress on 15 July 2008, and to the two TomDispatch articles adapted from his new book.
This page has been added to the FM reference library under “Modern warfare’s top experts – the library“. See the top right side menu bar for other sections.
- Biographical information
- Articles about Bacevich
- Excerpts from his books
- Online articles by Bacevich
- Interviews with Bacevich
1. Biographical information about Andrew Bacevich
From the Boston University website
Andrew J. Bacevich (Colonel, US Army, retired) is Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University. A graduate of the U. S. Military Academy, he received his Ph. D. in American Diplomatic History from Princeton University. Before joining the faculty of Boston University in 1998, he taught at West Point and at Johns Hopkins University.
Here is his Wikipedia entry.
2. Some articles about Bacevich
“Andrew Bacevich’s Visit to IU“, Jeremy Young, posted at Progressive Historians, 28 March 2008 – Excerpt:
Bacevich spoke at IU on Wednesdayon the topic of “U.S. Foreign Policy After Iraq.” Thursday morning, I had the privilege of having breakfast with Bacevich and a group of my fellow grad students.
Bacevich has written several books on U.S. military policy, but he’s best known for his numerous articles and op-eds advocating for conservative militarism while denouncing the Iraq war as wrongheaded and pointless. Most recently, Bacevich endorsed Obama, and in the American Conservative, no less, which took a lot of guts. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to ask him about that.
“Bacevich on U.S. Grand Strategy“, by Don Vandergriff (Major, US Army, retired), 17 July 2008 — Opening
I know Andrew Bacevich. He is a great soldier, gave me an extensive interview for my book, Path to Victorywhen I was writing it. I also knew a couple of his former troop commanders (he commanded the 11th ACR during and after the First Gulf War). He also lost his son in Iraq two years ago.
He just testified before a House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations yesterday. The themes in his remarks are ones he addresses more thoroughly in his forthcoming book, they are the people of the Middle East or the entire Islamic world. To persist in seeing U. S. grand strategy as a project aimed at changing the way they live will be to court bankruptcy and exhaustion. In fact, the choice facing the United States is this one: we can ignore the imperative to change the way we live, in which case we will drown in an ocean of red ink; or we can choose to mend our ways, curbing our profligate inclinations, regaining our freedom of action, and thereby preserving all that we value most.
In the end, how we manage, or mismanage, our affairs here at home will prove to be far more decisive than our efforts to manage events beyond our shores, whether in the Persian Gulf or East Asia or elsewhere. The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, which I heartily recommend.
3. Excerpts from his books
Excerpts from The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced by War, posted at TomDispatch:
- “The Normalization of War“, 20 April 2005
- “New Boys in Town – The Neocon Revolution and American Militarism“, 22 April 2005
TomDispatch articles based on his new book, The Limits of Power, The End of American Exceptionalism.
- “Illusions of Victory“, 11 August 2008 — “How the United States Did Not Reinvent War… But Thought It Did”
- “Is Perpetual War Our Future?“, 14 August 2008 — “Learning the Wrong Lessons from the Bush Era”
- “Expanding War, Contracting Meaning“, 30 October 2008 — “The Next President and the Global War on Terror”
4. Online writings and speeches of Andrew Bacevich
- “Seduced by War“, Bostonia, Winter 2004-05 — “Andrew Bacevich argues that Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, have bought into the new American militarism as a solution to our international problems. And that, he says, is bad for our democracy.”
- “Tug of War“, The Nation, 16 June 2005 — “The reality of America’s role in the cold war was far more complex and ambiguous than historical accounts suggest.”
- “Robert Kaplan: Empire Without Apologies“, The Nation, 8 September 2005 — “In his new book, Robert Kaplan proposes that the antidote to anarchy is empire, policed by soldiers holding an assault rifle in one hand and candy bars in the other.”
- “What Isolationism?“, The Huffington Post, 3 February 2006 — Are there advocates of isolationism, as so many neo-cons claim?
- “The Courage of Captain Fishback“, The Huffington Post, 7 October 2005 — “No one doubts the bravery of the American soldier when facing enemy fire. But do senior leaders possess moral courage equal to the physical courage of those they send into battle?”
- “The American Political Tradition“, The Nation, 10 July 2006 — “American foreign policy is shaped by a myth of national righteousness. In two new books, Peter Beinart abuses history to suggest liberals embrace this myth, while Stephen Kinzer uses America’s history of involvement in foreign coups to reveal why we cannot.”
- “Iraq panel’s real agenda: damage control“, Christian Science Monitor, 28 November 2006 – “The Iraq Study Group’s makeup gives away its true purpose.”
- “Rescinding the Bush Doctrine“, Boston Globe, 1 March 2007
- “Downsizing – What the ‘Surge’ really means“, Commonweal, 6 April 2007
- “I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty“, Washington Post, 27 May 2007
- “The Semiwarriors“, The Nation, 5 April 2007 — “By creating an atmosphere of perpetual crisis, Presidents have expanded their powers and hidden their actions from the public eye.”
- “Sycophant Savior“, American Conservative, 8 October 2007 — “General Petraeus wins a battle in Washington-if not in Baghdad.”
- “No Exit from Iraq?“, Commonweal, 12 October 2007
- “The Right Choice?“, American Conservative, 24 March 2008 — “The conservative case for Barack Obama”
- “The Great Divide – The crisis of US Military Policy“, Commonweal, 28 March 2008
- Transcript of testimony by Andrew J. Bacevich before the House Armed Services Committee, 15 July 2008
- “Illusions of Victory“, The Nation, 12 August 2008 — “The United States did not reinvent war after 9/11. It only thought it did.”
- “American Triumphalism – A postmortem“, Commonweal, 30 January 2009
- “Obama’s Sins of Omission“, Counterpunch, 27 April 2009 — What is the purpose of the US military?
- “Farewell, the American Century“, TomDispatch, 28 April 2009 — “Rewriting the Past by Adding In What’s Been Left Out”
- “White House Hones its Strategy in Two-Front War“, PBS Online Newshour, 6 May 2009 — Discussion with Bacevich and John Nagl.
- “Obama’s strategic blind spot“, op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, 6 July 2009 — “How many troops here; what anti-terror tactics to employ there — those questions miss the point.”
- “Best Intentions: An Appreciation of Graham Greene“, World Affairs, Summer 2009
- “The War We Can’t Win – Afghanistan & the Limits of American Power“, Commonweal, 7 August 2009
- “The War We Can’t Win – Afghanistan & the Limits of American Power“, Commonweal, 14 August 2009
- “These colors run red“, American Conservative, 1 October 2009 — “The U.S. follows the Soviet Union into Afghanistan.”
- “Afghanistan – the proxy war“, op-ed in the Boston Globe, 11 October 2009
- “No exit“, American Conservative, 1 February 2010 — “America has an impressive record of starting wars but a dismal one of ending them well.”
- “‘Government in a box’ in Marja“, op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, 17 February 2010 — “No doubt the U.S. military will succeed in clearing the Afghan town of the Taliban. But can we bring lasting change?”
- “More Than Peanut Butter“, World Affairs, 19 February 2010 — “Forget history, and it becomes so much easier to persuade yourself that the presence of U.S. forces in the Caribbean or on the other side of the world represents not a latter-day version of imperialism, but the benign and generous purposes of the United States itself, helping to bring light to a dark and troubled world.”
5. Interviews with Bacevich
- “The Delusions of Global Hegemony“, TomDispatch, 23 May 2006 — Part 1 of 2.
- “Drifting Down the Path to Perdition“, TomDispatch, 25 May 2006 — Part 2 of 2.
- Transcript of Interview on Bill Moyer’s Journal, 15 August 2008
- “White House Hones its Strategy in Two-Front War“, PBS Online Newshour, 6 May 2009 — Discussion by Bacevich and John Nagl.