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"Empire of Consumption"

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  • "Empire of Consumption"



    Bill Moyers Journal

    Welcome to the JOURNAL.

    America's in a pickle. Our friends, the Russians, with whom we were about to conduct joint military exercises, decided instead to attack some of our other friends, the Georgians, who not only aspire to democracy but control access to lots of oil and pipelines in which American energy companies have huge investments. But when President Bush demands Russia go home and leave Georgia alone, his pal Vladimir Putin - the modern Russian czar - gets that sardonic smile on his face.

    He knows that American troops are spread so thin in Iraq and Afghanistan that Uncle Sam more resembles Gulliver, tied down by too many commitments, too much hubris, and too many mistakes, than he does to Superman. It's a pickle and a predicament, and it's serious.

    The limits of American power have never been more vividly on display. That's the subject of my conversation this week with Andrew J. Bacevich. Here is a public thinker who has been able to find an audience across the political spectrum, from THE NATION or THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE magazines, lecturing to college classes or testifying before Congress.

    Bacevich speaks truth to power, no matter who's in power, which may be why those of both the left and right listen to him.

    Perhaps it's also because when he challenges American myths and illusions, he does so from a patriotism forged in the fire of experience as a soldier in Vietnam.

    After 23 years in the Army, the West Point graduate retired as a colonel and has been teaching international relations and history at Boston University. Bacevich has published several acclaimed books, including this one, THE NEW AMERICAN MILITARISM. His latest, published this week, is THE LIMITS OF POWER: THE END OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM.

    He's with me now. Welcome to the JOURNAL.


    ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, I think the clearest statement of what I value is found in the preamble to the Constitution. There is nothing in the preamble to the Constitution which defines the purpose of the United States of America as remaking the world in our image, which I view as a fool's errand. There is nothing in the preamble of the Constitution that ever imagined that we would embark upon an effort, as President Bush has defined it, to transform the Greater Middle East. This region of the world that incorporates something in order of 1.4 billion people.

    I believe that the framers of the Constitution were primarily concerned with focusing on the way we live here, the way we order our affairs. To try to ensure that as individuals, we can have an opportunity to pursue our, perhaps, differing definitions of freedom, but also so that, as a community, we could live together in some kind of harmony. And that future generations would also be able to share in those same opportunities.

    The big problem, it seems to me, with the current crisis in American foreign policy, is that unless we do change our ways, the likelihood that our children, our grandchildren, the next generation is going to enjoy the opportunities that we've had, is very slight, because we're squandering our power. We are squandering our wealth. In many respects, to the extent that we persist in our imperial delusions, we're also going to squander our freedom because imperial policies, which end up enhancing the authority of the imperial president, also end up providing imperial presidents with an opportunity to compromise freedom even here at home. And we've seen that since 9/11....'

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/08...anscript1.html

  • #2
    Typical Bill Moyers commentary with the tired worn out phrase 'spread thin because of Iraq'. We've always been tied down with commitments, because our allies rather spend money on massive failed social programs than for their own defense.
    Though I do agree with Bacevich that its not our mission to force another culture to embrace the type of system we have here.
    Pat Buchanan has been saying the same thing expressed in Moyers article for years and would actually do what he says he'll do, but I don't remember him being embraced by Moyers.
    When we legalize the 30 million aliens and they each bring four or five more family members into the country, crushing our social system, Moyers will probably all of a sudden tell us it wasn't a good idea, but only after the fact and then act like nobody else has said it before he did. The words in that last paragraph could also apply to our current immigration problems, an issue which is a much bigger threat to our grandchildren than spending money on foreign conflicts.
    The liberal politician has the only job where they go to the office to work for everyone but those who pay their salary.

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    • #3
      As Tony says, the momdent I saw it was Moyers, my eyes rolled.

      He hates America. 'Nuff said.
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