Jeremy Young, primus inter pares of Progressive Historians , had breakfast with noted military writer, Iraq war critic and professor, Colonel Andrew Bacevich and has a a review of Bacevich’s lecture at Indiana University:
Generally, one doesn’t think of columnists as being engaging speakers, so I was pleasantly surprised when Bacevich proved the exception to the rule. He held forth for about forty-five minutes before a crowd of about 200 people, packed into a room that seated about 75. Bacevich’s main argument was that in the aftermath of 9/11, the administration had developed what he termed the “freedom agenda,” which rested on three assumptions: that American military power was invincible, that the greater Middle East was ripe for transformation, and that it was possible for Americans to instill democracy in the region at a minimal cost. Subsequent events, of course, have proved all three of these assumptions wrong. Today, Bacevich argued, America’s military and foreign policy strategy has failed — and worse, the Bush Administration has no comprehensive, moral strategy to replace it.
….I asked Bacevich what he thought our future defense spending priorities should be. His response was that we should focus on beefing up our navy, and secondarily on maintaining our air superiority, while cutting budgets for the army and marines. For those of you who read this blog, that’s suggesting a combined 2GW/3GW force to meet a 4GW threat — a clear no-no in strategic theory. When one of my fellow grad students pressed Bacevich on the navy question, he admitted to being a Mahanian and said we needed a strong navy to deter pirates!
Read the rest here.
Bacevich has a sense of humor. Multibillion dollar platforms to take out jerry-rigged Somali and Indonesian gunboats manned by illiterate tribesmen?