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Creating a Perpetual War Machine


Creating a Perpetual War Machine

Andrew Bacevich

The purpose of all wars, is peace. So observed St. Augustine early in the first millennium A.D. Far be it from me to disagree with the esteemed Bishop of Hippo, but his crisply formulated aphorism just might require a bit of updating.


Bacevich attributes the ‘failure to achieve peace’ of the U.S. military to its structure. This is only partly right. He fails to address the central purpose of the post-WW2 U.S. military monster: TO MAKE THE WORLD SAFE FOR CAPITALISM.

He just can’t write those words. Because if he did, he would see that his beloved institution actually succeeds wildly at its central purpose: seizing and controlling resources, lands and people to feed the most horrific machine that humans have ever created.

This is a truth too terrible to speak.


Bacevich is indeed missing the crux of the matter.

Since the Dubya years the perpetual war machine has had enough momentum and popular support that it will be hard to break even if the draft is restored.


I would say even before the Dubya years. Draftees during the U.S. wars in Southeast Asia were instrumental in helping to end those wars. And the all-volunteer (mercenary) military that we have now is much more manageable on the rank-and-file level; but as you say, the people remain owned by U.S. exceptionalism and the capitalist order.

This is a critical flaw throughout Bacevich’s career and writings. Like the vast majority in this nation, he is unable to name the beast. Even though he is consistently (and correctly) critical of some of its most violent excesses (like the Iraq adventures in which he lost a son); in the end, he is unwilling/unable to admit what the U.S. military is and why it is.

And then every once-in-awhile he’ll come up with something like this red-baiting smear of only a month ago published in American Conservative:

I doubt if CD or Tom’s Dispatch will reprint this one. It wreaks of the lowest kind of overgeneralization; it pisses on all progressives in the U.S. Yup, we’re just a bunch of Stalinists at heart.


This just may be one of the most honest, most intelligent essays that we will ever read!


You are right, Ray. Too many Americans seem to prefer spending Trillions to kill people in other countries, rather than to use a fraction of that to improve the lives of their fellow citizens. The
dysfunction of our military is a reflection of our whole Socioeconomic system, as it now exists, along with its warped values.


'Nor is the Pentagon’s mania for creating new headquarters confined to terra firma. We already have U.S. Cyber Command. Can U.S. Galactic Command be far behind?’

No need . . . we already have the ‘Space Command’.


I agree with Bacevich and Chomsky, among others, who believe the draft should exist again. I’m pretty sure that would put a stop (eventually, at least) to rampant militarism. It was certainly a factor in Vietnam, at least included with the high casualties and length of the war.


Too true — especially when one includes the capitalists profiting from sales of arms not only to the U.S. government but also to numerous allies – and others of questionable allegiance – throughout the world.


If you’re talking about the current administration, ‘Spaced Command’ would be a more accurate title.


Not according to America’s Military-Industrial Complex, a wholly-owned subsidiary of several Multi-NaZional Korporations.  According to the M-IC, with the full concurrence of our federal government, “Any war failing to yield profits is purposeless and, if profitless, both wrong and stupid.”


Not to beat a dead horse but Mr. Bacevich should spent his obvious talent exposing the Lie of 911! Once that fraud is exposed then all of these wars will be exposed for what they are - a land grab for resources.


My sentiments exactly: The real reason we keep fighting wars we can’t and don’t even really want to end is because the oligarchs our politicians serve earn a handsome profit thereby. The fact that Bacevich fails to so much as mention this can only be due to seriously warped judgement.


What incisive words has Bacevich writ - regards his regard for military management during the years that he spent as an officer?

Careerist, brown-nosing shit rises to the top. We need a pancreatic system of management and leadership to cut out and neutralize the careerist molecules of fat, those beribboned molecules who have only been allowed to rise if they swear allegiance to NeoConservative doctrine.

The decision in favor of an all volunteer force has been by far the worst of all decisions in this country’s history.