Andrew Bacevich

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Andrew J. Bacevich, 12 June 2012

Andrew J. Bacevich (born July 5, 1947) is an American historian specializing in international relations, security studies, American foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history. He is a Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at the Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies. He is also a retired career officer in the Armor Branch of the United States Army, retiring with the rank of colonel. He is a former director of Boston University's Center for International Relations (from 1998 to 2005), now part of the Pardee School of Global Studies. Bacevich is the co-founder and president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.


  • In war-as-spectacle, appearances could be more important than reality, because appearance often ended up determining reality.
    • The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (2005).
  • We are squandering our wealth in many respects, to the extent that we persist in our imperial delusions, we're also going to squander our freedom.
    • Moyer's Journal, 2008 August 15.
  • The U.S. has become a de facto one-party state, with the legislative branch permanently controlled by an incumbent's party and every president exploiting his role as Commander-in-Chief to expand on the imperial prerogatives of his office.
    • The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008).
  • For the majority of contemporary Americans, the essence of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness centers on a relentless personal quest to acquire, to consume, to indulge, and to shed whatever constraints might interfere with those endeavors.
    • The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (2008).
  • Call it habit or conditioning or socialization: The citizens of the United States have essentially forfeited any capacity to ask first-order questions about the fundamentals of national security policy.
    • Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (2010)
  • War is an unvarnished evil.
    • Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (2013, p. 17).
  • The way a nation wages war — the role allotted to the people in defending the country and the purposes for which it fights — testifies to the actual character of its political system.
    • Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (2013).
  • In its quest to control an unruly world, the Pentagon — acting in the name of the American people — slices and dices that world into smaller and smaller segments, while neglecting to assess the actual costs and benefits of the persistent meddling that it terms engagement.
    • Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (2013).
  • In this way, the bravery of the warrior underwrites collective civic cowardice, while fostering a slack, insipid patriotism.
    • Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country (2013).
  • As it dragged on, the Iraq War exposed as hollow any American aspirations to global hegemony. Left behind when U.S. troops finally withdrew was their reputation for military supremacy. Meanwhile as reports of prisoner abuse, torture, and the killing of noncombatants mounted, American moral confidence lost its luster.
    • The Duplicity of the Idealogues: US Policy and Robert Kagan’s Fictive Narrative, 2014 July 11.
  • You know, we live in a country where if you want to go bomb somebody, there's remarkably little discussion about how much it might cost, even though the costs almost inevitably end up being orders of magnitude larger than anybody projected at the outcome.
    • Conversation with Bill Moyers, 2014 June 20.
  • From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in that region. Within a decade, a great shift occurred. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed anywhere except the Greater Middle East.
    • America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History (2016).

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