Andrew Bacevich on Our Lack of Special Ops Accountability

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In this one, Bacevich offers a devastating anatomy of the world we are likely to have if the American way of war turns into the age of special operations forces.  The blowback, in every sense, is sure to be disastrous.  Consider this one an eye-opener!  Love, Tom

From TomDispatch this morning: Three reasons why we should think twice before unleashing special operations forces globally -- Andrew Bacevich, “Unleashed, Globalizing the Global War on Terror” listen to Timothy MacBain's latest Tomcast audio interview in which Bacevich discusses what we don’t know about special operations forces, visit

We are now officially in the age of special operations forces, that secret military that’s been growing for years inside the U.S. military.  Now, TomDispatch regular and bestselling author Andrew Bacevich dissects the special operations mentality and offers a devastating anatomy of what a special-operations-first style war policy would mean for this country.

Bacevich begins: “John F. Kennedy famously gave the Green Berets their distinctive headgear.  Obama has endowed the whole special operations ‘community’ with something less decorative but far more important: privileged status that provides special operators with maximum autonomy while insulating them from the vagaries of politics, budgetary or otherwise.  Congress may yet require the Pentagon to undertake some (very modest) belt-tightening, but one thing’s for sure: no one is going to tell [the special operations command] to go on a diet.  What the special ops types want, they will get, with few questions asked -- and virtually none of those few posed in public.”

Bacevich follows with a vivid account of just what will be lost in a world in which special operations types are unleashed in a major way to fulfill American war and foreign policy goals.  He offers three reasons why we should think twice before turning global security over to Special Operations commander Admiral McRaven and his associates.  He labels them: “Goodbye accountability,” “Hello imperial presidency,” and finally “And then what…?” (because, once started, there will be no end to it).

He concludes:  “In short, handing war to the special operators severs an already too tenuous link between war and politics; it becomes war for its own sake.  Remember George W. Bush’s ‘Global War on Terror’?  Actually, his war was never truly global.  War waged in a special-operations-first world just might become truly global -- and never-ending.  In that case, Admiral McRaven’s ‘generational struggle’ is likely to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

I think you’ll find this a stunner!

Andrew Bacevich, a retired Army Colonel, Boston University professor, author of Washington Rules, and editor most recently of The Short American Century, talks about the changing face of the so-called global war on terror.

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