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An American Foreign Legion

February 17, 2009
William Astore
2/16/2009

Is the U.S. military now an imperial police force?

A leaner, meaner, higher tech force – that was what George W. Bush and his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld promised to transform the American military into. Instead, they came close to turning it into a foreign legion. Foreign as in being constantly deployed overseas on imperial errands; foreign as in being ever more reliant on private military contractors; foreign as in being increasingly segregated from the elites that profit most from its actions, yet serve the least in its ranks.

Now would be a good time for President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to begin to reclaim that military for its proper purpose: to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Now would be a good time to ask exactly why, and for whom, our troops are currently fighting and dying in the urban jungles of Iraq and the hostile hills of Afghanistan.

A few fortnights and forever ago, in the Bush years, our “expeditionary” military came remarkably close to resembling an updated version of the French Foreign Legion in the ways it was conceived and used by those in power – and even, to some extent, in its makeup.

The story continues …..

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