On this edition of Parallax Views, historian, veteran, and Quincy Institute President Andrew J. Bacevich returns to Parallax Views to discuss the new volume he co-edited with Afghanistan war vetern Danny Sjursen entitled Paths of Dissent: Soldiers Speak Out Against America’s Misguided Wars. What does it mean to be a veteran of war, especially those “forever wars” in the wake of 9/11 such as Iraq and Afghanistan? And what is it that we, the citizenry, sometimes fail to understand about veterans and the experiences in the ways we celebrate their service on holidays like veterans day? Moreover, what of those soldiers who have spoken against war due to their own personal experiences? Have we neglected to hear their stories? What can we learn from those stories and what they say about empire, militarism, and U.S. foreign interventions in the 21st century? According to Prof. Bacevich they may well show that General William Tecumseh Sherman’s famous adage that “War is Hell” is both true and insufficient, because, as Bacevich puts it, war may well serve as a form of education. And for many soldiers that education is a painful one in which their basic assumptions about the U.S. and the world is challenged in a transformative way. We, Bacevich contends, owe it to those soldiers to hear their stories and take into consideration what their education has taught them.
Among the topics covered:
– Prof. Bacevich’s journey from a career military man to being one of the foremost skeptics of U.S. foreign policy since the end of the Cold War
– Moral injury and the cost of war
– The All-Volunteer Force (AVF) and criticisms of it
– The Global War on Terror and the story of United States Army officer Ian Fishback, who expressed concern with torture and abuse of prisoners
– Professor Bacevich’s feelings on Veteran’s Day and the ways in which we sometimes celebrate veterans in a way that is arguably hollow or not understanding fully of their often difficult experiences
– Elites and the foreign policy “Blob”
– And much, much more!
NOTE: Usual outro song got mistakenly left out of this episode. Editing error!