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News Link • Military Industrial Complex

A Professional Military and the Privatization of Warfare

• Jeff Shear
In the last, fading days of February, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates told cadets at West Point that America would be wise to avoid wars like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. The secretary, who steps down this year, paraphrased Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who said that any president who sent an American land army into Asia or the Middle East “should have his head examined.”

Gates was surprisingly blunt, and he may have hit a nerve with former President George W. Bush, but he went even further. Iraq and Afghanistan had been labeled the “captains’ wars,” he said, because “officers of lower and lower rank were put in the position of making decisions of higher and higher degrees of consequence and complexity.”


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