Thursday, February 1, 2007

Bacevich on the McCain escalation

All my posts today are dedicated to the memory of Molly Ivins.

Our Blue Voice partner Dave should like this one - even if it does come from The American Conservative! - be because it describes a situation in which both parties are responsible.

It's from one of my current favorites writers and military/political analysts Andrew Bacevich. He publishes in lots of other places, too, including the liberal Catholic magazine Commonweal and even the British New Left Review.

The article is
Going for Broke The American Conservative 01/29/07 issue, where he writes:

Nothing so clearly reveals the impoverished state of American political discourse as the ongoing debate over finding “a way forward” in Iraq. Broadly speaking, that debate pits a resurgent foreign-policy establishment, led by James Baker, against embattled neoconservatives, with Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute their improbable champion. On the surface, Baker and Kagan represent irreconcilable views. Beneath the surface, they are engaged in a common enterprise: deflecting attention from the contradictions that beset U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Baker, the trusted Bush family factotum, resurfaced most recently as co-chair, along with former Congressman Lee Hamilton, of the Iraq Study Group. Almost without fail, media references to the Baker-Hamilton commission emphasize its bipartisan composition as if that alone were enough to win a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Yet to imagine that bipartisanship signifies wisdom or reflects a concern for the common good is to misunderstand the reality of present-day politics. The true purpose of bipartisanship is to protect the interests of the Washington Party, the conglomeration of politicians, hustlers, and bureaucrats who benefit from the concentration of wealth and power in the federal city. A “bipartisan” solution to any problem is one that produces marginal change while preserving or restoring the underlying status quo.
Bacevich takes a dim view of the prospects for the McCain escalation Bush is now implementing: "Marketed as the product of careful analysis, the surge should be seen for what it is: a naked gamble."

And he has some good comments on Reagan's foreign policies and the ambiguous legacy of the Gulf War of 1991.


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