Andrew Bacevich And The Perpetual War Machine

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President Obama has again pledged to end the war in Iraq.

Andrew Bacevich (Boston University)
Andrew Bacevich (Boston University)

His speech Monday to a group of disabled veterans in Atlanta follows the deadliest month in America's other war: Afghanistan, which has carried on for nearly nine years.

Early in his presidency, Mr. Obama decided to raise the number of troops on the ground in Afghanistan while still planning a withdrawal by July 2011.

On Sunday, almost 700 soldiers of the Massachusetts 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, shipped off for Afghanistan — the largest deployment of Massachusetts National Guard members since World War II. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown was in Worcester to see them off.

"I've been to Afghanistan, and what I noted there was the enthusiasm and excitement and the way they're so focused on completing their mission," Brown said.

But exactly is that mission? Is it rooting out Islamic extremism? Is it stabilizing Afghanistan? Is it something else? Our guest says it will be impossible to ever say the mission is complete. In other words, America is on the path to permanent war.

As the president lays down the path out of Iraq — and sets a final course for Afghanistan — we look at the road to war and whether the U.S. military commitment ever truly ends. We talk with former army colonel and professor of history and international relations at Boston University, Andrew Bacevich.


This program aired on August 2, 2010.


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