There's no writer today whom I admire more than Andrew Bacevich. A former Army colonel and Vietnam vet who now teaches at Boston University, and a longtime self-described "Catholic conservative," he emerged in the 2000s as a leading critic of American military policy and the conduct of the wars in Afghanistan and on Iraq; on the latter subject he wrote with great moral authority even before his own son died in combat there in 2007. He had an op-ed in Sunday'sWashington Post that goes way beyond the media's superficial coverage of the Gen. Stanley McChrystal affair, to look at what's really at stake.
Here's an excerpt:
To be an American soldier today is to serve a people who find nothing amiss in the prospect of armed conflict without end. Once begun, wars continue, persisting regardless of whether they receive public support. President Obama's insistence to the contrary notwithstanding, this nation is not even remotely "at" war. In explaining his decision to change commanders without changing course in Afghanistan, the president offered this rhetorical flourish: "Americans don't flinch in the face of difficult truths." In fact, when it comes to war, the American people avert their eyes from difficult truths. Largely unaffected by events in Afghanistan and Iraq and preoccupied with problems much closer to home, they have demonstrated a fine ability to tune out war. Soldiers (and their families) are left holding the bag.