Bacevich: Abolish the Joint Chiefs

Powell was too powerful (as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that is), while most of his predecessors and all of his successors have been utterly feckless. So let’s get rid of the JCS, says Andrew Bacevich.

See also Bacevich’s “More Troops, More Troubles,” on the bipartisan folly of super-sizing the Army and Marine Corps. An excerpt:

This bipartisan consensus — which even includes Bush, who recently unveiled his own five-year plan to enlarge the Army and Marine Corps — illustrates the inability or refusal of the political class to grasp the true nature of our post-9/11 foreign policy crisis. Any politician who thinks that the chief lesson to be drawn from the last five years is that we need more Americans toting rifles and carrying rucksacks has learned nothing…

… the great lesson of Iraq (further affirmed in Afghanistan) is that the umma — the Arabic name for the entire Muslim community — is all but impervious to change imposed from the outside. If anything, our ham-handed efforts to inculcate freedom and democracy, even if well-intentioned, have played into the hands of violent Islamic radicals. The Bush administration’s strategy has exacerbated the problem it was designed to solve, while squandering American lives, treasure, moral standing and political influence to little avail.

Given the mess in which we currently find ourselves, increasing the number of men and women under arms makes about as much sense as drinking bourbon to treat depression. In the short term, the antidote might make you feel better, but at a cost of masking the underlying problem and allowing it to fester.

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One thought on “Bacevich: Abolish the Joint Chiefs

  1. Matthew June 19, 2007 / 5:02 pm

    Restricting the ground war in Operation Desert Storm has been hailed as a genius move as of late. It seems that Powell’s willingness to use his star power to slow down military adventurism was a benefit, one that GWB has tried to avoid with his picks.

    Indicting the JCS with the debacle in the Middle East seems a bit short sighted. The Joint Commands aren’t even under the authority of the Chiefs, and they are the war fighters. Praising a general like Powell for being courageous, if not opportunistic, is one thing; condemning a general for following legal orders from the White House is unfair.

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