Narrator Sean Runnette
U.S. Army colonel turned academic, Bacevich (The Limits of Power) offers an unsparing, cogent,
and important critique of assumptions guiding American military policy. These central tenets,
the "Washington rules"--such as the belief that the world order depends on America maintaining
a massive military capable of rapid and forceful interventions anywhere in the world--have
dominated national security policy since the start of the cold war and have condemned the U.S.
to "insolvency and perpetual war." Despite such disasters as America's defeat in Vietnam and
the Cuban missile crisis, the self-perpetuating policy is so entrenched that no president or
influential critic has been able to alter it. Bacevich argues that while the Washington rules
found their most pernicious expression in the Bush doctrine of preventive war, Barack Obama's
expansion of the Afghan War is also cause for pessimism: "We should be grateful to him for
making at least one thing unmistakably clear: to imagine that Washington will ever tolerate
second thoughts about the Washington rules is to engage in willful self-deception. Washington
itself has too much to lose."
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