(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
On his March 23 program, Bill Moyer had a fascinating interview with Andrew Bacevich, West Point graduate, Vietnam vet and author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism on how America needs to start moving beyond war:
Nine years after Baghdad erupted in “shock and awe,” we’re once again hearing in America the drumbeat for war in the Middle East. Now, the bull’s-eye is on Iran. But what we need more than a simple change of target is a complete change in perspective, says Andrew Bacevich, a West Point graduate and Vietnam veteran-turned-scholar who’s become one of the most perceptive observers of America’s changing role in the world. [..]
“Are we so unimaginative, so wedded to the reliance on military means that we cannot conceive of any way to reconcile our differences with groups and nations in the Islamic world, and therefore bring this conflict to an end?” Bacevich tells Moyers.
Bacevich also answers the question of whether Iran is a direct threat to America with a definitive no. “Whatever threat Iran poses is very, very limited,” he tells Moyers, “and certainly does not constitute any kind of justification for yet another experiment with preventive war.”
But it is the last five minutes of the hour interview served up by Moyers that bring into perspective the foreign policies of President Barack Obama and how he has not only adopted the neocon policies of American exceptionalism but is publicly on board with them.
BILL MOYERS: We have to hope a copy of Andrew Bacevich’s new book makes its way to Barack Obama. He could use a dose of the reality served up in its pages. A reality quite contrary to the book the President has been waving around in public for all to see. This book: The World America Made, by Robert Kagan. Kagan’s a well-known figure inside the Beltway, that matrix of think tanks, policy intellectuals, and research centers that have so long and faithfully served to uphold the empire. In it, Kagan dismisses what he calls “the myth of American decline,” and compares the United States to Jimmy Stewart’s character in the Frank Capra movie It’s a Wonderful Life. America is to the world, Kagan contends, what Stewart was to the town of Bedford Falls.
HARRY in It’s a Wonderful Life: To my big brother George, the richest man in town.
BILL MOYERS: Which without him would have fallen into unseemly hands and disrepute, as the world would have without America. To think otherwise, he writes, is “wishful thinking.”
Not surprising that President Obama, according to The New York Times, has “brandished Mr. Kagan’s analysis in arguing that America’s power has waxed rather than waned.”
And just who is Robert Kagan? Well, he served in the State Department when Reagan was president. He advised John McCain in 2008 and these days is special advisor on national security and foreign policy to Mitt Romney.
MITT ROMNEY: Let me make this very clear, as President of the United States, I will devote myself to an American century and I will never, ever apologize for America.
BILL MOYERS: Oh, yes, back in the late nineties, six years after the first Gulf War and four years before 9/11, Robert Kagan and fellow neo-conservative Bill Kristol founded the Project for the New American Century and signed a letter to then-President Bill Clinton urging him to get rid of Saddam Hussein once and for all – by any means necessary.
In 2002, Kagan wrote, “A devastating knockout blow against Saddam Hussein, followed by an American-sponsored effort to rebuild Iraq and put it on a path toward democratic governance, would have a seismic impact on the Arab world — for the better.” Hindsight is 20-20, as the saying goes, and nine years later we look back and see with perfect clarity how well Jimmy Stewart’s America delivered in Iraq. Talk about wishful thinking.
So next time President Obama’s looking for a book to read, better he pick up a copy of this one: The Short American Century: A Postmortem. In it, several distinguished historians – including Andrew Bacevich – urge us to take off the rose-colored glasses and see the world as it is. It is not a movie.
Iran is not a threat. Yet here we are, the bullseye is Iran and President Obama repeating neocon analysis.
H/T to a close friend who brought the Moyers’ video to my attention. He knows who he is. 😉
The full transcript is below the fold