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Andrew Bacevich
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Entries by Andrew Bacevich

Washington in Wonderland

(62) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 10:41 AM

Down the Iraqi Rabbit Hole (Again) 

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

There is a peculiar form of insanity in which a veneer of rationality distracts attention from the madness lurking just beneath the surface. When Alice dove down her rabbit hole to enter a place where smirking cats...

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Rationalizing Lunacy: The Intellectual as Servant of the State

(62) Comments | Posted March 8, 2015 | 11:12 PM

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

Policy intellectuals -- eggheads presuming to instruct the mere mortals who actually run for office -- are a blight on the republic. Like some invasive species, they infest present-day Washington, where their presence strangles common sense and has brought to the verge of extinction the...

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Save Us From Washington's Visionaries

(140) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 8:39 AM

In (Modest) Praise of a Comforting Mediocrity

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

En route back to Washington at the tail end of his most recent overseas trip, John Kerry, America’s peripatetic secretary of state, stopped off in France “to share a hug with all of Paris.”...

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Malarkey on the Potomac

(19) Comments | Posted November 24, 2014 | 7:10 AM

5 Bedrock Washington Assumptions That Are Hot Air

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

“Iraq no longer exists.” My young friend M, sipping a cappuccino, is deadly serious. We are sitting in a scruffy restaurant across the street from the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Manhattan’s...

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Always and Everywhere: The New York Times and the Enduring 'Threat' of Isolationism

(120) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 10:41 AM

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

The abiding defect of U.S. foreign policy? It’s isolationism, my friend. Purporting to steer clear of war, isolationism fosters it. Isolationism impedes the spread of democracy. It inhibits trade and therefore prosperity. It allows evildoers to get away with murder. Isolationists prevent the United States...

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The Hill to the Rescue on Syria?

(33) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 9:30 AM

Don’t Hold Your Breath

Cross-posted from TomDispatch.com.

Sometimes history happens at the moment when no one is looking.  On weekends in late August, the president of the United States ought to be playing golf or loafing at Camp David, not making headlines.  Yet Barack Obama...

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Naming Our Nameless War

(235) Comments | Posted May 28, 2013 | 10:05 AM

How Many Years Will It Be?

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

For well over a decade now the United States has been “a nation at war.” Does that war have a name?

It did at the outset.  After 9/11, George W. Bush's administration wasted no time in announcing...

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Boykinism: Joe McCarthy Would Understand

(49) Comments | Posted September 25, 2012 | 9:23 AM

Joe McCarthy Would Understand

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

First came the hullaballoo over the “Mosque at Ground Zero.”  Then there was Pastor Terry Jones of Gainesville, Florida, grabbing headlines as he promoted “International Burn-a-Koran Day.”  Most recently, we have an...

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The Golden Age of Special Operations

(143) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 10:44 AM

Globalizing the Global War on Terror

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

As he campaigns for reelection, President Obama periodically reminds audiences of his success in terminating the deeply unpopular Iraq War.  With fingers crossed for luck, he vows to do the same with the equally unpopular...

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Scoring the Global War on Terror

(91) Comments | Posted February 20, 2012 | 12:44 PM

From Liberation to Assassination in Three Quick Rounds

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

With the United States now well into the second decade of what the Pentagon has styled an “era of persistent conflict,” the war formerly known as the global war on terrorism (unofficial acronym WFKATGWOT) appears...

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Big Change Whether We Like It or Not

(72) Comments | Posted November 14, 2011 | 10:05 AM

Only Washington Is Clueless


Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

In every aspect of human existence, change is a constant.  Yet change that actually matters occurs only rarely. Even then, except in retrospect, genuinely transformative change is difficult to identify.  By...

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Ballpark Liturgy: America's New Civic Religion

(8) Comments | Posted July 28, 2011 | 9:47 AM

Cheap Grace at Fenway

Cross-posted from TomDispatch.com

Fenway Park, Boston, July 4, 2011.  On this warm summer day, the Red Sox will play the Toronto Blue Jays.  First come pre-game festivities, especially tailored for the occasion.  The ensuing spectacle -- a carefully scripted encounter...

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War Fever Subsides in Washington

(105) Comments | Posted June 28, 2011 | 2:07 PM

On the Mend?
America Comes to Its Senses

Cross-posted from Tomdispatch.com


At periodic intervals, the American body politic has shown a marked susceptibility to messianic fevers.  Whenever an especially acute attack occurs, a sort of delirium ensues, manifesting itself...

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Not Why, But How: To the Shores of (and Skies Above) Tripoli

(20) Comments | Posted April 12, 2011 | 4:12 PM

Crossposted with TomDispatch.com

It is a commonplace of American politics: When the moving van pulls up to the White House on Inauguration Day, it delivers not only a closetful of gray suits and power ties, but a boatload of expectations. 

A president, being the most powerful man in...

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Cow Most Sacred: Why Military Spending Remains Untouchable

(396) Comments | Posted January 27, 2011 | 11:43 AM

Crossposted from TomDispatch.com.

In defense circles, “cutting” the Pentagon budget has once again become a topic of conversation.  Americans should not confuse that talk with reality.  Any cuts exacted will at most reduce the rate of growth.  The essential facts remain: U.S. military outlays today equal that of...

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The Long War: Year Ten Lost in the Desert with the GPS on the Fritz

(34) Comments | Posted October 7, 2010 | 1:30 PM

Crossposted with TomDispatch.com.

In January 1863, President Abraham Lincoln’s charge to a newly-appointed commanding general was simplicity itself: “give us victories.”  President Barack Obama’s tacit charge to his generals amounts to this: give us conditions permitting a dignified withdrawal.  A pithy quote in Bob Woodward’s new book captures...

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Prisoners of War: Bob Woodward and All the President's Men (2010 Edition)

(106) Comments | Posted September 27, 2010 | 2:10 PM

Crossposted with TomDispatch.com.

Once a serious journalist, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward now makes a very fine living as chief gossip-monger of the governing class.  Early on in his career, along with Carl Bernstein, his partner at the time, Woodward confronted power.  Today, by relentlessly exalting Washington trivia, he flatters...

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The Unmaking of a Company Man: An Education Begun in the Shadow of the Brandenburg Gate

(89) Comments | Posted August 26, 2010 | 11:00 AM

Originally posted at TomDispatch

Worldly ambition inhibits true learning. Ask me. I know. A young man in a hurry is nearly ineducable: He knows what he wants and where he’s headed; when it comes to looking back or entertaining heretical thoughts, he has neither the time nor the...

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The End of (Military) History? The United States, Israel, and the Failure of the Western Way of War

(1045) Comments | Posted July 29, 2010 | 10:01 AM

Crossposted with TomDispatch.com.

“In watching the flow of events over the past decade or so, it is hard to avoid the feeling that something very fundamental has happened in world history.”  This sentiment, introducing the essay that made Francis Fukuyama a household name, commands renewed attention today, albeit...

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Farewell, the American Century

(15) Comments | Posted April 28, 2009 | 2:29 PM

Crossposted with TomDispatch.com


Rewriting the Past by Adding In What's Been Left Out


In a recent column, the Washington Post's Richard Cohen wrote, "What Henry Luce called 'the American Century' is over." Cohen is right. All that remains is to drive a stake through the...

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