Military

The US military can’t get the job done, and the problem starts at the top

By Andrew Bacevich,

Professional sports is a cutthroat business. Succeed and the people running the show reap rich rewards. Fail to meet expectations and you get handed your walking papers. American-style war in the 21st century is quite a different matter.

Of course, war is not a game. The stakes on the battlefield are infinitely higher than on the playing field. When wars go wrong, “We’ll show ’em next year — just you wait!” is seldom a satisfactory response.

At least, it shouldn’t be. Yet somehow, the American people, our political establishment, and our military have all fallen into the habit of shrugging off or simply ignoring disappointing outcomes. A few years ago, a serving Army officer of unusual courage published an essay — in Armed Forces Journal no less — in which he charged that “a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

The charge stung because it was irrefutably true then, and it remains so today.

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Categories: Military

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