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Posted on Oct 4, 2013
Sarah Crichton Books

By Andrew Bacevich

(Page 3)

In recent years, of course, senior military leaders have manifestly fallen short on both counts, with soldiers paying the price for their failure. Should that failure persist — should our too-small army once again become mired in a too-long war — then only a single option will remain for easing the burden on U. S. troops. That option will entail expanding the force, inviting the American people to share in the sacrifices currently exacted of only the few volunteering to serve.

That, too, would constitute an admission of failure to which American generals have contributed. That failure finds expression in a deeply perverse and thoroughly dishonest relationship between soldiers and society. The hackneyed phrase providing a title for Finkel’s fine book exquisitely captures the hypocrisy pervading that relationship. The travails of those whose suffering he recounts give us a glimpse of the costs incurred and of who pays them.

Andrew Bacevich teaches at Boston University. His new book is “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.”

©2013, Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group

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