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July 2, 2013

Insights and Outbursts: Don't forget war's harsh realities

July 4th is not my favorite holiday.

While I honor our military men and women, including a nephew and cousin in the Navy, I prefer Memorial Day tributes, because they remind us that only 1 percent of those in our country fights the battles, while the rest of us enjoy the parades.

Andrew J. Bacevich’s upcoming book, “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country,” about the “yawning gap … between America’s soldiers and the society in whose name they fight” will be available in September.

I’ve admired him ever since he spoke at the Rockport Library in 2008, because he’s a patriot who continues to serve his country by exposing the awful reality behind the flags and bumper stickers.

Professor of History and International Relations at Boston University, Bacevich warned us of “three interlocking crises” in “Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism:”

“The first,” he says, “is economic and cultural, the second political, and the third military. All three share this characteristic: They are of our own making.”

A retired Army colonel who served in Vietnam and father of a son killed in Iraq, he said: “Foreign policy … has increasingly become an expression of domestic dysfunction – an attempt to manage or defer coming to terms with contradictions besetting the American way of life.”

In his 2010 book, “Washington Rules: The Path to Perpetual War,” he wrote about: “America’s ‘sacred trinity,’ the need of a global military presence, to configure its forces for global power projection, and to counter existing or anticipated threats by relying on a policy of global interventionism.”

After Obama’s re-election, Bacevich wrote: “During his first term, Obama abandoned his predecessor’s inclination to invade and occupy countries with expectations of transforming them. Instead, he instituted a policy of killing individuals he decides to kill, wherever they might happen to be found, relying on missile-firing drones or commando raids to do the trick ...”

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