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Watch: Andrew Bacevich on the Chaos in Iraq

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Previously published on BillMoyers.com

The escalating bloodbath in Iraq has triggered renewed debate on how muscular America's foreign policy should be. Speaking about the crisis on Thursday, President Obama said that the US is ready for "targeted and precise military action" against advancing Islamists if needed, adding that "American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq."

This week, I speak with combat veteran and historian Andrew Bacevich about the events unfolding in Iraq and what they say about America's role in the world.

While some neoconservatives lament that our "world order shows signs of cracking, and perhaps collapsing," thanks to Obama's inclination to engage less in other countries, Bacevich sees things differently.

"We have been engaged in the Islamic world at least since 1980, in a military project based on the assumption that the adroit use of American hard power can somehow pacify or fix this part of the world. We can now examine more than three decades of this effort.

Let's look at what U.S. military intervention in Iraq has achieved, in Afghanistan has achieved, in Somalia has achieved, in Lebanon has achieved, in Libya has achieved. I mean, ask ourselves the very simple question. Is the region becoming more stable? Is it becoming more democratic? Are we alleviating, reducing the prevalence of anti-Americanism?"

After the full broadcast interview, I so enjoyed my conversation with Bacevich that we kept talking, delving topics such as the Vietnam War, our evolving relationship with Iran and neoconservatives views on US foreign policy. Watch the extended interview.

Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television. Explore more at BillMoyers.com.