Saturday, July 18, 2009

Andrew Bacevich Criticizes the War in Afghanistan

On yesterday's Friday News Roundup, one of the guests cited to an extremely interesting argument by Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich: Mexico is beset with all of the same problems as Afghanistan and poses a far more significant threat to American interests. Bacevich was mentioned during the course of a larger conversation about the Obama Administration facing increasingly difficult questions about its expansion of the war in Afghanistan.

Bacevich's argument is fascinating. I assume he means that Mexico (1) is like Afghanistan in having an enormous drug problem (is it a "narco state"?) and (2) is actually a more likely staging point, for terrorists, given its proximity to the US.

259. What other analogies does Bacevich draw between the two countries?

I've just read about Bacevich on Wikipedia and learned that his 27-year old son was killed serving in Iraq in 2007. Bacevich served in Vietnam and taught at West Point prior to BU.

Bacevich's perspective is summed up on Wikipedia as follows:
Bacevich is critical of American foreign policy in the post Cold War era, maintaining the United States has developed an over-reliance on military power, in contrast to diplomacy, to achieve its foreign policy aims. He also asserts that policymakers in particular, and the American people in general, overestimate the usefulness of military force in foreign affairs. Bacevich believes romanticized images of war in popular culture (especially movies) interact with the lack of actual military service among most of the population to produce in the American people a highly unrealistic, even dangerous notion of what combat and military service are really like.
Given Bacevich's background, he has hugely significant personal and professional context for his perspective/critique.
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One guest on the News Roundup said that Vice President Biden is becoming increasingly critical of the nature of US involvement in Afghanistan -- that's the first time I'd heard this about Biden.

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