Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Palliatives for Militarism

In re the book I mentioned yesterday Bracevich's The New American Militarism is worth your time to read. If you're interested in how we got to this pitiful state of affairs we're in now, where one must grovel a the feet of the generals and kiss the posteriors of the military at every turn. (Bracevich argues that He argues that the virulent militarism we experience now in this country grew out of the Vietnam war. Just another of the truly bad things that war gave life to. I certainly would have located the origins of our militarism back to the Second World War. Until that time, the American people maintained a very healthy skepticism about the existence of standing armies among a free people.

Bracevich describes the following prescriptions as "not a panacea but the prospect of causing present-day militaristic tendencies to abate":
  1. Heed the intentions of the Founders--nothing in the compact "commits or even encourages the US to employ military force to save the rest of humankind or to remake the world in its own image or even hints at any such purpose."
  2. Revitalize the concept of separation of powers--the presidency has not gotten too strong; Congress has failed egregiously to fulfill its responsibilities of deciding when and if the US should undertake military interventions abroad
  3. View Force as a Last Resort--Well, duh! Explicit renunciation of the Bush doctrine of preventative war. And return to declaratory policy in keeping with "our past moral and religious traditions, international law, and common sense."
  4. Enhance US self-sufficiency--a corollary of the above. Limit extent of US dependence on foreign resources.
  5. Organize US forces explicitly for national defense--Eschew "power projection." 
    • Shed unnecessary obligations
    • Bring US troops home from places they are no longer needed
    • Make clear to allies they have to pull their fair share of the load 
Continued tomorrow . . .
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