Monday, August 18, 2008


In the cacophony of political analysis, a student of history with a military background brings an extraordinarily insightful perspective on America’s character and position on the global stage. Andrew Bacevich delivers with uncommon perspicuity, a reflection of America that both unsettles and invigorates his audience. In a recent interview with Bill Moyers, Bacevich’s presentation reached a level of perfection and fluidity worth more than a ticket of admission. Bacevich delivered what can only be described as a tour de force.

At the core of Bacevich’s arguments resides the theme that arrogance is blinding. An overly ego driven society believes in its own invincibility, which prevents it from recognizing realities to its detriment. It is also his argument that national and international policies are a reflection of each individual’s desires, and both Vietnam and Iraq are logical consequences of imperial power and authority. He asserts that America should put its own house in order, and that such should take precedence over dealing with external problems. Although one may rightly dispute some of Bacevich’s contentions, his overall thesis is well founded.

America can be grateful and proud that from within its ranks, comes a clarity and profundity brought to the fore in the form of Andrew Bacevich. It is not so much that the ideas are new, since in many ways we find concepts advanced by others decades ago including some from the polarizing William A. Williams, however, the importance of Bacevich stepping up on the current American consciousness is his delivery and credibility. His analysis has probably been most significantly affected by his experience in Vietnam, and more recently with the loss of his son in Iraq. Such a life-changing event no doubt deepened Bacevich’s perceptions of the world and shaped his penetrating analysis of American national and international policies.

Bacevich’s observation that Congress has no answers to the nation’s current economic difficulties, although evident, are most disturbing. This underlines the lack of leadership and direction, but also emphasizes the necessity for each individual to take action that will in turn be reflected in policies enacted by lawmakers. America should examine whether it is a democratic republic, or an empire. The two are mutually exclusive, and we have fresh evidence of the fact. At a time when there is a dearth of philosopher kings, the likes of Andrew Bacevich, and his tenets and sentiments deserve more than an occasional eavesdropping, they merit our attention.


  1. Thanks for your succinct take on Bacevich's interview on Bill Moyer's Journal. I, like yourself, was thrilled that someone was discussing the issues that currently plague our great nation, while suggesting that we look in the mirror for real, concrete change.

    It is now up to us to stop looking for "leaders" and become leaders ourselves. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country": JFK's quote is so appropriate in these times.

  2. Pamela thank you and I agree that the review is well done.

    I have to state that the issue of whether America has become an empire as opposed to a Republic is amazingly similar to the Roman Empire. History, all too often, repeats itself. A very similar definition to Insanity (doing things over and over and expecting results.

    The press claims Americans are apathetic. Are we? Who has the time to "micro-manage" legislators? They think they are smart by burying pork barrel spending in good bills and forcing the sponsoring party to pass a good bill with an extra couple of billion dollars in spending that they are too lazy or fearful to let stand on its own merits.

    We are not apathetic. We are busy and when we hire someone to do a job OH YEAH YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN HIRED and, unfortunately, we cannot fire you except for every couple of years.

    There is a word that should be foremost in the minds of all elected officials.. Integrity. Do what you say and say what you do EXACTLY... Americans are not Democrats, Republicans, Socialists, Anarchists, Independents or whatever other affiliations exist; first we are Americans and I for one am sick and tired of our elected officials treating us as children because they believe they are smarter. They are not. Americans want to make a living "honestly" for the most part (cannot speak for everyone), we own businesses, worry about our kids, healthcare, taxes etc..

    Do your jobs with integrity. Do your jobs the right way. Shine a bright light on the cockroaches and they will scurry for cover. As for the current crop of candidates. I will vote this year for all non-incumbents... I think we should fire them all and start over with a group of people who do not owe special interest... If that is possible in this day and age....

  3. Jimmy can,

    The analogy illucidated by mr. Bacevich seems to have escaped you. America the nation is an amalgamated collection of individual Americans, and mirror looking needs to take place at the micro-level if anything usefull at scale is to emerge. For one, the same theme seems to echo through this website and much of the complainateriat on the net. Discourse, debate and rigourus constructive criticsm are essential to a healthy republic, but hyper criticism involving motives is also a luxury of Ego. I contend that after 200+ years of democratic government has produced a political class that almost perfectly resembles the pscyhe of it's constituents, and as such is untransformable outside of a similar fate for it's host.