National Defense: An Opportunity for Change

We’d like to thank all of the Illahee folks who attended last Wednesday’s lecture, “A Decade of War,” with Andrew Bacevich. The crowd nearly filled Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, as Bacevich discussed decades of American militarism that relegates our country to a permanent state of national security crisis. He argues that this condition will continue to worsen as long as the leaders of the national security establishment go largely unchecked.

With that said, there is no one political party to blame; democrats and republicans are equally at fault. Nor can the blame be placed solely on the federal government either. According to Bacevich, there are a host of others that gain money and power from our state of perpetual war: defense contractors, corporations, big banks, special interest groups, universities, and media outlets.

The American public should also shoulder some of the responsibility too, as we have become increasingly complacent and out of touch with national security issues — unless of course they are unavoidable, like the Vietnam war or Iraq. The American public routinely shows vocal support for the small guard of soldiers that do their fighting, but sacrifice very little, if anything, in return.

Bacevich concludes in his book, Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War:

Americans today must reckon with a contradiction of gaping proportions.  Promising prosperity and peace, the Washington rules are propelling the United States toward insolvency and perpetual war.  Over the horizon, a shipwreck of epic proportions awaits.  To acknowledge the danger we face is to make learning – and perhaps even a course change – possible.  To willfully ignore the danger is to become complicit in the destruction of what most Americans profess to hold dear.  We, too, must choose.

In other words, if there is going to be change, it will have to come from the American people.

So what exactly constitutes our national security? Where do we need to go from here to make a change? Join Illahee on Thursday, May 24th at 7pm as we continue Bacevich’s discussion with three regional experts on national security. For more information, visit our website: www.illahee.org.

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