Free Forum Q&A- ANDREW BACEVICH, author of BREACH OF TRUST: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their CountryWritten on October 7th, 2013
What do you feel when at sporting events or other public gatherings crowds join in a call to “support the troops?” If you’re like me, I always have some misgivings. On the simplest level, the gesture seems pretty meaningless. What am I or anyone else in that crowd actually doing to support the troops? And when they add some clichéd phrases about fighting for our freedoms, a voice in my head always asks, “Yeah, how? Where?” In Iraq, Afghanistan, operating a drone that’s flying over Pakistan or Yemen?
Today’s guest ANDREW BACEVICH has thought long and hard about such things, and has written a series of fairly short, very readable books that pursue questions that too many ignore or pretend don’t matter.
The United States has been “at war” for more than a decade. Yet as war has become normalized, a gap has widened between America’s soldiers and the society in whose name they fight. For ordinary citizens, as former secretary of defense Robert Gates has acknowledged, armed conflict has become an “abstraction” and military service “something for other people to do.”
In his latest book, BREACH OF TRUST, Bacevich takes stock of the separation between Americans and their military, tracing its origins to the Vietnam era and exploring its implications, which include a nation with an appetite for war waged at enormous expense by a volunteer army and a huge number of privatecontractors unable to achieve victory.
MALOU INNOCENT is a Foreign Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute, and her primary research interests include Middle East and Persian Gulf security issues and U.S. foreign policy toward Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China. Following dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Mass Communications and Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago, she has appeared as a guest analyst on CNN, BBC News, Fox News, Al Jazeera, CNBC Asia, and Reuters, and has published in journals such as Foreign Policy, Wall Street Journal, Asia, Christian Science Monitor, Armed Forces Journal, the Guardian, and the Huffington Post.
Join us as we talk about Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Middle East, the cost of foreign adventures to domestic well-being, and hopefully some issues and areas that I haven't even thought of yet.
Malalai Joya is an Afghan politician who has been called "the bravest woman in Afghanistan." As an elected member of the Wolesi Jirga from Farah province, she has publicly denounced the presence of what she considers warlords and war criminals in the parliament.
The daughter of a former medical student who lost a foot while fighting the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Malalai Joya was 4 years old when her family fled Afghanistan in 1982 to the refugee camps of Iran and later Pakistan. After the Soviet withdrawal, Malalai Joya returned to Afghanistan in 1998 during the Taliban's reign. As a young woman she worked as a social activist and was named a director of the non-governmental group, Organisation of Promoting Afghan Women's Capabilities (OPAWC) in the western provinces of Herat and Farah
Title of Joya's autobiography "Raising My Voice", which was published in the US/Canada under the title of "A Woman Among Warlords" was published in October 2009
Noam Chomsky writes: "Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this inspiring memoir is that despite the horrors she relates, Malalai Joya leaves us with hope that the tormented people of Afghanistan can take their fate into their own hands if they are released from the grip of foreign powers, and that they can reconstruct a decent society from the wreckage left by decades of intervention and the merciless rule of the Taliban and the warlords who the invaders have imposed upon them."