Gates’ Book: Emphasizing the Ways, Not the Wisdom, of War

Andrew Bacevich, College of Arts & Sciences

Former defense secretary Robert Gates is out defending his tell-all book to all comers this week, gamely strapped into a neck brace that holds his head high and straight ahead…

Expert quote:

“The truth is something few people in the national-security establishment are willing to confront: confusing capability with utility, the United States knows how to start wars but has seemingly forgotten how to conclude them. Fundamentally, a pronounced infatuation with armed might has led senior civilian officials, regardless of party, and senior military leaders, regardless of service, to misunderstand and misapply the military instrument. Force is good for some things, preeminently for defending what is already yours. Not content to defend, however, the United States in recent decades has sought to use force to extend its influence, control and values.”

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