You Must Read This Book: Washington Rules

by Craig Cline

I want to recommend a “must read” book for anyone who wonders why our country is still at war after nine years.  We wage war – -despite the deep wounds and dreadful deaths that it imposes not only on our so-called enemies, but also on ourselves.

Read Washington Rules — America’s Path to Permanent War, by U.S. Army Colonel (retired) Andrew J. Bacevich.

Colonel Bacevich shows how America has moved towards being perpetually involved in “semiwar.”  He argues that the Washington rules have badly hurt our nation; by diminishing our standing with the people of other nations, and by draining our national economy.

He points out that “semiwarriors” — those who perpetuate our fear of a national security crisis — gained de facto control of the U.S. government almost fifty years ago.

Former General and President Dwight D. Eisenhower knew way back then that Washington D.C. would not remedy the problem that it itself had created.  He said:  “Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry” (could restrain the actions of semiwarriors) “so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

For far too long now, we citizens have passively assented to the ever-greater militarization of U.S. foreign policy, and the ever-greater power granted the office of the President.

Bacevich concludes by saying:  “To willfully ignore the danger is to become complicit in the destruction of what most Americans profess to hold dear.”

We, the people, must ourselves choose to change the Washington rules, so that we can finally move towards lasting peace and prosperity, and away from perpetual war and insolvency.

What will be your personal choice?  Reading this worthy book will help you make it.Φ

Craig Cline lives in Salem, Oregon, and works with Oregon PeaceWorks, as well as many other groups.  You can contact him at

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