Nine years after the U.S. military invaded Afghanistan, military leaders have "unwittingly forfeited" their claim to providing an important service to society, according to retired U.S. Army Colonel and Boston University professor Andrew J. Bacevich.
In an interview with Bill Moyers, Bacevich argues that admissions from Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. Stanley M. McChrystal that there is no military solution in Afghanistan are historic and ultimately undermine the American officer corps' purpose to demonstrate that war can work.
Bacevich: After Vietnam, this humiliation that we had experienced, the collective purpose of the officer corps, in a sense, was to demonstrate that war worked. To demonstrate that war could be purposeful. That out of that collision on the battlefield, would come decision, would come victory.
And that soldiers could claim purposefulness for their profession by saying to both the political leadership and the American people, 'This is what we can do. We can in certain situations solve very difficult problems by giving you military victory.'
Well here in the year 2010, nobody in the officer corps believes in military victory...
Bacevich argues that the war in Afghainstan is not war as the American military traditionally conceives of it. He wonders why, if the purpose is to "drag [Afghanistan] into the modern world," the U.S. is depending on a four-star general. Bacevich suggests that leadership could come from a successful mayor of a large U.S. city or even a group of social reformers.
Moyers' interview with Bacevich airs Friday evening on "Bill Moyers Journal."