Friday, February 10, 2017

Our Commander-In-Chief’s Vicarious Baptism Of Fire

Over at the Atlantic, Andrew Bacevich writes, as he always does, an article with noteworthy insight into the U.S. special-operations raid in Yemen that President Donald Trump hailed as a success.

Bacevich is a retired colonel and Vietnam War veteran, and professor emeritus of international relations and history at Boston University. His writing is always a good read.

Here are a few selected paragraphs:

“Impoverished, violent, and bitterly divided, Yemen has hitherto had a place on the roster of countries that the United States periodically bombs without being graced with the presence of U.S. forces on the ground. As long as this arrangement persisted, few Americans paid attention to events in this far corner of the “war on terror.” After all: Whoever was killed and maimed by U.S. ordnance falling from the skies, it wasn’t our guys.

Bacevich writes,"Killing people and bombing things has become a substitute for policy and indeed for thinking. Where there should be strategy, there is a void. Will a president who looks to the likes of Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn for advice fill that void? I don’t think so.

"The operative question is not: Why did last week’s raid in Yemen fail? Instead, it is: What are U.S. forces doing there in the first place? How, at this stage of the game, is further expansion of the conflict once known as the Global War on Terrorism advancing the basic security interests of the United States? All that Mr. Trump is doing is to embrace the legacy of his predecessors: perpetuating what has become an open-ended war of attrition.

“Slow and ponderous”? Me, I’ll take it any day of the week, especially if the sole alternative on offer is “hasty and stupid,” as it appears to be."

Women walk past a graffiti, denouncing strikes by U.S. drones in Yemen,
painted on a wall in Sanaa, Yemen on February 6, 2017