من القوات, المزيد من المتاعب
أنجلوس تايمز- 18/6/2007
ان المرشحين للرئاسة الذين
دعوا لرفع عديد قواتنا في
العراق لسحق الإرهاب أظهروا سوء
فهم عميق للشرق الأوسط.
troops, more troubles
who call for beefing up our armed forces to deter
terrorism show a profound misunderstanding of the
Andrew J. Bacevich, ANDREW J. BACEVICH is a professor of
history and international relations at Boston University.
THE U.S. Army too small?
Democrats vying to succeed George W. Bush think so.
Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and
Barack Obama all promise, if elected, to expand our land
forces. Clinton has declared it "past time to
increase the end-strength of the Army and Marines."
Edwards calls for a "substantial increase."
Obama offers hard numbers: His program specifies the
addition of 92,000 soldiers.
Republicans concur. John McCain has long advocated a
bigger Army. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney are now
chiming in. Giuliani wants to expand the Army with an
additional 10 combat brigades. Romney says that "at
least 100,000" more troops are needed.
bipartisan consensus — which even includes Bush, who
recently unveiled his own five-year plan to enlarge the
Army and Marine Corps — illustrates the inability or
refusal of the political class to grasp the true nature
of our post-9/11 foreign policy crisis. Any politician
who thinks that the chief lesson to be drawn from the
last five years is that we need more Americans toting
rifles and carrying rucksacks has learned nothing.
fact, this enthusiasm for putting more Americans in
uniform (and for increasing overall military spending)
reflects the persistence of a second consensus to which
leading Democrats and Republicans alike stubbornly
second consensus consists of two elements. According to
the first element, the only way to win the so-called
global war on terrorism, thereby precluding another
9/11, is to "fix" whatever ails the Islamic
world. According to the second element, the United
States possesses the wherewithal to effect just such a
transformation. In essence, by employing American power,
beginning with military power, to ameliorate the ills
afflicting Islam, we will ensure our own safety.
is sheer twaddle, as events in Iraq have manifestly
shown. Yet even today, among mainstream Republicans and
Democrats, expectations persist that the United States
can somehow reform and therefore pacify the Muslim world.
fact, the great lesson of Iraq (further affirmed in
Afghanistan) is that the umma — the Arabic name for
the entire Muslim community — is all but impervious to
change imposed from the outside. If anything, our
ham-handed efforts to inculcate freedom and democracy,
even if well-intentioned, have played into the hands of
violent Islamic radicals. The Bush administration's
strategy has exacerbated the problem it was designed to
solve, while squandering American lives, treasure, moral
standing and political influence to little avail.
the mess in which we currently find ourselves,
increasing the number of men and women under arms makes
about as much sense as drinking bourbon to treat
depression. In the short term, the antidote might make
you feel better, but at a cost of masking the underlying
problem and allowing it to fester.
underlying problem is that the basic orientation of U.S.
policy since 9/11 has been flat wrong. Bush's conception
of waging an open-ended global "war" to
eliminate terrorism has failed, disastrously and
irredeemably. Simply trying harder — no matter how
many more soldiers we recruit and no matter how many
more Muslim countries we invade and "liberate"
— will not reverse that failure. More meddling will
evoke more hatred.
CHALLENGE confronting those aspiring to the presidency,
therefore, is to devise an alternative to Bush's failed
strategy. To pass muster, any such strategy will have to
recognize the limits of American power, military and
otherwise. It must acknowledge that because the United
States cannot change Islam, we have no alternative but
to coexist with it.
coexistence should not imply appeasement or passivity.
Any plausible strategy will prescribe concrete and
sustainable policies designed to contain the virulent
strain of radicalism currently flourishing in parts of
the Islamic world. The alternative to transformation is
not surrender but quarantine.
time, of course, Islam will become something other than
what it is today. But as with our own post-Christian
West, that evolution will be determined primarily by
forces within. Our interest lies in nudging that
evolution along a path that alleviates rather than
perpetuates conflict between Islam and the West. In that
regard, the requirement is not for a bigger Army but for
fresh ideas, informed by modesty and a sense of realism.
candidate who can articulate such ideas might well merit
respect and popular support. Those who in the absence of
serious strategic analysis reflexively posture about the
need for more troops deserve only contempt.
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