Why fight wars our president doesn’t believe in and we can’t pay for?

Jake Whitney interviews Andrew Bacevich in Guernica:

Bigsmall Sacrifice. It’s a word Andrew Bacevich uses when discussing U.S. national security policy. While he pays respect to the tiny percentage of Americans who currently fight our wars, he also laments that more Americans don’t help shoulder those wars, and decries our politicians for having stopped asking anything of the American people. Bacevich, though, knows what it means to sacrifice. A retired U.S. Army colonel, Bacevich served in post-war Germany, fought in Vietnam, and taught at West Point. In 2007, he lost his twenty-seven-year-old son, Andrew, Jr., in Iraq. While Bacevich refuses to speak about this in interviews (“what is private ought to remain private”), one can surmise that the tragedy was compounded by Bacevich’s profound opposition to the war. Indeed, Bacevich fundamentally disagrees not only with current U.S. militarism in the Middle East but with the unwieldy behemoth that the American national security state has become.

Bacevich’s opposition, however, was not born of a father’s anger over a lost son. It is the opposition of a scholar, teacher, and author who has spent nearly half his life studying American foreign policy and seeing, sometimes from the inside, its uneven, often terrible results. It is an opposition that gathered particular urgency after 9/11, and since then Bacevich has proved an unrelenting and increasingly influential critic of U.S. national security policy. As Bacevich views it, that policy continues to follow a playbook that was penned sixty years ago and no longer makes sense, if it ever did. Blind adherence to this playbook has resulted in our current predicament: 370,000 troops stationed in more than thirty-five countries, a Middle Eastern war that looks increasingly like a quagmire, a defense budget that is bankrupting the country, and, worst of all, a political system that has become little more than theater.

More here.