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Donald Trump and the Swamp of Endless War


Donald Trump and the Swamp of Endless War

Andrew Bacevich

President-elect Donald Trump’s message for the nation’s senior military leadership is ambiguously unambiguous. Here is he on 60 Minutes just days after winning the election.

Trump: "We have some great generals. We have great generals."

Lesley Stahl: "You said you knew more than the generals about ISIS."

Trump: "Well, I'll be honest with you, I probably do because look at the job they've done. OK, look at the job they've done. They haven't done the job."


Trump is a lifelong Bully.

Generals know how to handle Civilian Bullies.

He'll be putty in their hands, an empty shell, as they continue EndlessWar as a "make work" project for themselves.

Banality of Evil, anyone?


War is not only a racket, it has tentacles into and from every major predatory transnational industry on the planet and owns the majority of politicians. It has become a parallel economic system that sucks however much it wants whenever it wants. It is predatory colonization (first of your mind, which wants to be the best that it can be) with cannibalistic methods (% of vets left out to dry?). It is also the wet dream of the fractional reserve financial system where accountability goes home to die. Trump and the military share lascivious designs on that particular bed.


Thank you Andrew Bacevich--for your end suggestion for how to effect change: to let those who fought and were damaged, and those who also fought and try to change our warring establishment, instruct the said failed war-makers. It is wonderful and apt. It is a departure, I think from your normally acerbic and modulated analysis of our national middle east bloody predicament. It reveals your thirst for justice and sane thinking.

We should be so graced to see such a peace academy for war-makers come to pass.


No easy answers to the questions raised by Professor Bacevich, but as usual he is asking the right ones. I am not hopeful things will change under Trump. Although he said some interesting things on foreign affairs (to the extent decipherable) with respect to lessening tensions with Russia, and not intervening further in the Middle East quagmire, his early appointments are not promising in this regard. And everyone knows what effect the generals and intelligence people have once the president gets in office (see under Obama).

Bacevich is one of the best thinkers out there on the utter futility of our nation's military misadventures. If he hasn't been, he should be advising Bernie on these issues. His books should all be read, most recently, America's War for the Greater Middle East, but his book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War is absolutely essential reading, and certainly would be of interest to folks on this site. I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Generals definitely know how to win (for Wall Street) by creating and maintaining as many perpetual occupations and wars as possible. Restarting the cold war with Russia is the latest high profit venture.

No General has been more successful at carrying out this mission than General Betrayus who is being rewarded with a Wall Street retirement gig that pays way better than his military gig.


Dr. Bacevich makes many strong arguments against endless war, but his indictment of the generals may fail to take into account the complex political and military forces at work here. I'm guessing some of these generals would love to prosecute a decisive war. Problem is, the political and popular will to do this is lacking, for good reason. At the same time, the political forces at play make drastic escalation in the prosecution of such wars risky at best, and dangerous and potentially disastrous at worst.


After WW2 & especially 1947, USA began a long gradual shift into a Military Dictatorship that was essentially completed sometime around 2001. This is why the military is never accountable for its continual failures to achieve anything beyond gargantuan wastage of life & resources, as well as the destabilization of various nations around the globe.

The Trump presidency will be an interesting period. It's an open question as to whether the sheer grotesque absurdity of the USA, now forced into the open by this ugly idiot & his cadre of car-carrying racists, will finally cause people to see our government for what it really is, & has been for many years.


Even before Trump gets into office. The US House Seeks Syria-War Escalation. This should be front page news CD.



Thank you Kathryn for your trenchant response - I especially like the phrase "...your thirst for justice and sane thinking."

The article doesn't name it as such, but I think Bacevich is describing the thickest and most rapacious tentacle of what has been called 'The Deep State.'

In a recent speech Obama cautioned Trump about his upcoming collision with reality - it sounded to me like he was referring to the Deep State.

Our Ship of State is listing way to the right and taking on a lot of water. It will take all hands on deck to save it from the briny deep.


Thoughtful article, but I had trouble after this little tidbit of illusion: "Since the autumn of 2001, something like 370,000 combatants and noncombatants have been killed in the various theaters of operations where U.S. forces have been active." Apparently for his information Bacevich uses the fake news outlets of the MSM, which get their stats from Fake News Central, the US government. This even enables him to call the ongoing destruction of the Arab-Muslim world, "modest by 20th-century standards."

Most other sources outside the empire put the toll at around 1.5 million for Iraq alone. We are in some very deep doodoo, my friends, when even "dissident" thinkers like Bacevich repeat the official lies. Hell, if Obama can brazenly lie to the UN that "Assad gassed his own people" when two separate high-profile studies, one from MIT, the other from the UN War Crimes Commission, found the opposite to be true, and the MSM say not a peep about it, is it surprising when the oft-repeated falsehoods lodge themselves willy-nilly in people's minds as the replacement for reality?

No, it's the desired result. Just ask Dr. Goebbels.


If I correctly understand the national security issues identified as priorities for the future, climate change/global warming related risks are at the top of the list. I suspect the current senior military personnel will be even more spectacularly unsuccessful in coming conflicts.


is this guy dim-witted or is he faking it!? :open_mouth:

usa wars are just the flashy component of the military and commercially displays of force that the usa uses to shock and intimidate the world's lesser people so they do not rebel against how world elites ---and specially usa elites-- monopolize the markups created by western-rigged commercial transactions.

"winning the wars!" stopped being of any concern long time ago, duh!


War is not a game of marbles to win or lose. It should be in defense only. The US is now the world's foremost aggressor. Bring the troops home. Spend the money building up our infrastructure and use our troops making America Great Again by investing in the US...not war.


He is also on the short list for Sec of State.


America's ability to wage war is coming to an end. This country pursued the longest, most expensive, war in US history. We have been drained out militarily and economically.The US spent the years since WWll earning the distrust/rage of much of the world. The international community has increasingly concluded that the US represents the greatest threat to all life on Earth, and Trump already represents their greatest fear -- a clearly disturbed man in charge of the US nuclear arsenal.


On the other hand, the poorer America has grown overall since the 1980s, the less fossil fuels we consume. It's not our masses of poor who drive motor vehicles each day, and we can't blame manufacturing now that so many jobs have been shipped out. Our economic collapse will further shrink our contribution to climate change.


Regarding wars, according to Lao Tzu, those who delight in victories delight in slaughter.

Bacevic notes that “during protracted wars, traditional standards for measuring generalship lose their salience.” This is also because protracted wars by definition have no fixed dates for their beginnings or endings, or even what should be regarded as “war”. Another element of modern protracted wars is that they’re often people’s wars, which means they could continue even when their leader(s) are killed. To “win” such wars often mean to kill an entire people, and this becomes problematical in countries or regions where the resistance number in tens or hundreds of millions. In the Middle East, what unites those people is religion, so it's necessary to divide them into Shites and Sunnis. Even then, each of those sects number in the millions and, moreover, many of them have wised up to the tricks of their oppressors (e.g., unlike their political leaders, many in the Syrian army are actually Sunnis).

Thousands of years ago, Sun Tzu - and many other philosophers from Confucius to the anti-war Mo Tzu - noted that the best way to “win” wars is through the hearts and minds (benevolence is the key). Quite different from the braggarts we have today who flaunt weapons and their ability to inflict “shock and awe.” But, of course, those behind them are not concerned with winning at all, for to “win” is to end the war, which means no more war spending, and that’s a chilling thought to the 1%.


The vast amounts of money that goes missing or can not be accounted for appears to be something that the taxpayers would be very interested in knowing more about and why this money is rarely discussed. Once in a while there is discussion about having the Pentagon audited but has not yet happened or if is has been audited it never makes the news. And, yet every year the budget for the military is increased dramatically and then the scramble to save money on the backs of the taxpayers begins. Cut here, cut there, take away here, take away there. When it becomes necessary to cut food stamps for hungry children so that the military will have all of the money they need it paints a picture of a country that harbors a moral deficit.


Bernie was on Conan tonite. Why does he seldom if ever talk about endless war? Trump was the only one to give lip service to the issue.