9780805082968

Breach of Trust How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780805082968

  • ISBN10:

    0805082964

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 9/10/2013
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books

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Summary

A blistering critique of the gulf between America's soldiers and the society that sends them off to war, from the bestselling author of The Limits of Power and Washington Rules

The United States has been "at war" in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade. Yet as war has become normalized, a yawning gap has opened between America's soldiers and veterans and the society in whose name they fight. For ordinary citizens, as former secretary of defense Robert Gates has acknowledged, armed conflict has become an "abstraction" and military service "something for other people to do."

In Breach of Trust, bestselling author Andrew J. Bacevich takes stock of the separation between Americans and their military, tracing its origins to the Vietnam era and exploring its pernicious implications: a nation with an abiding appetite for war waged at enormous expense by a standing army demonstrably unable to achieve victory. Among the collateral casualties are values once considered central to democratic practice, including the principle that responsibility for defending the country should rest with its citizens.

Citing figures as diverse as the martyr-theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the marine-turned-anti-warrior Smedley Butler, Breach of Trust summons Americans to restore that principle. Rather than something for "other people" to do, national defense should become the business of "we the people." Should Americans refuse to shoulder this responsibility, Bacevich warns, the prospect of endless war, waged by a "foreign legion" of professionals and contractor-mercenaries, beckons. So too does bankruptcy—moral as well as fiscal.

Author Biography

Andrew J. Bacevich, a professor of history and international relations at Boston University, served for twenty-three years as an officer in the U.S. Army. He is the author of Washington Rules, The Limits of Power, and The New American Militarism, among other books. His writing has appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.

Table of Contents

Prologue      1
Introduction      7

PART I: NATION AT WAR
   1. People’s War      17
   2. The Great Decoupling      28
   3. Tallying Up      36

PART II: WARRIOR'S PLIGHT
   4. America’s Army      47
   5. Comes the Revolution      62
   6. Searching for Dragons to Slay      80
   7. Coping with Chaos      103

PART III: SKIN IN THE GAME
   8. Smedley and Friends      115
   9. Winners and Losers      124
   10. Trahison des Clercs      138
   11. Droning On      154
   12. American Characters      182

Notes 197
Acknowledgments 225
Index 227

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