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Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (American Empire Project) Paperback – September 9, 2014
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The Amazon Book Review
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“Scorching...heartbreaking...Bacevich dismantles the warrior myth we civilians and politicians so enjoy worshiping from afar, and replaces that idol with flesh and blood, vulnerable humans, who deserve better than the profligate, wasteful way in which we treat them.” ―Rachel Maddow, the New York Times Book Revie
“A powerful critique...splendid...Bacevich has written a book that precious few people in Washington will like, at least those people...who are connected in one way or another to what Dwight Eisenhower in 1961 called the ‘military-industrial complex.'” ―The Washington Post
“Breach of Trust is a necessary and important commentary on modern American life....I can almost guarantee that, in these war-weary times, this timely and informative read will change the way you think.” ―James Carville, The Hill
About the Author
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 Magazine, The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.
Top customer reviews
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A criticism of Bacevich I have read in the past is that all his books are essentially the same: The misuse of the country's military to solve matters of international diplomacy. However, a close look at his work shows how he systematically analyzes each facet of how the government, and in turn the country's citizens, look to using the armed forces as an end in itself to maintain America's role as the one indispensable nation on the planet.
A must read for those interested in what a lack of genuine concern, and in turn, the responsibilities of citizenship, for the men and women in uniform will affect the country's future.
The author, quoting the typical blather from the business/economics-illiterate liberal media, blames the Great Recession on business, banks, and Wall Street. But objective economists attribute the sole responsibility for the fiasco to unwise government policies and intrusion in the housing market forcing banks to loan money to deadbeats.
In the spring of 2007 Fed-Head Bernanke said loudly and publicly that the real estate market was sound and healthy. Within a year it melted down causing colossal collateral damage to the stock market thereby vaporizing a third to a half or more of ordinary prudent Americans' net worth!
Then politicians once again targeted the banks as their favorite scapegoat and the Obominable regime piled on to extort over $100 billion from bank shareholders, on phoney pretexts, mostly racial, to dole out to their constituencies, e.g., “community organizers.” They topped that with Dodd-Frank, an abominable welfare program for lawyers, regulators, and bureaucrats.
These execrable iniquities were perpetrated by our putrid kakistocracy.
The scathing indictment of the military system is not addressed to the men and women in uniform, but to our elected political leadership and the flag grade officers of the military. The United States being a participatory democracy, such criticism inevitably flows downhill to the citizens who by their votes permit this condition to continue.
In summary fashion, Bacevich describes United States military history from the Second World War up until the present time. The author’s characterizations can be challenged, but the underlying facts are matters of record. After the all-volunteer army was installed, U.S. military intervention in foreign countries occurred with increasing frequency, and wars stretched out for increasingly longer periods of time. To the surprise of many of us who lived through World War II, there was no sacrifice on the home front, no food rationing, and no restrictions of any kind.
In the present-day army, many traditional functions – food supply, weapons maintenance, security operations – are now provided by outside contractors such as Blackwater USA, giving rise to additional billions of dollars in costs, and severe control problems.
Bacevich presents his thoughts in short segments that are easy to follow. However, sometimes he marshals his supporting information like so many pieces of artillery without paying attention to where the guns are pointed. It is tough to buy in to the views of people like General Stanley McChrystal and Admiral William H. Standley, both of whom changed their outspoken views when change suited their own selfish purposes. Similarly, some historical events – such as the Roberts Commission’s investigation of the attack on Pearl Harbor – are presented in a distorted fashion. Perhaps that is because the book does not contain enough pages properly to explain what happened and why.
The book is well-written overall. However, there are occasions in almost every chapter when it appears as though the professor is casting out obtuse language as a challenge to the reader. It is hard for me to imagine Bill Mauldin’s Willie and Joe, sitting in their foxholes and using words like, “simulacrum” and “quotidian.”
All told, the subject matter is important, and the book is well worth reading.