Magazine May 2, 2011, Issue

The People’s Military

From the cover of U.S. Civil-Military Relations After 9/11 (Continuum)
U.S. Civil-Military Relations After 9/11: Renegotiating the Civil-Military Bargain, by Mackubin Thomas Owens (Continuum, 224 pp., $22.95)

Paradoxically, the post–Cold War “unipolar moment” of American power has also been a period of constant crisis in American civil-military relations. Even Operation Desert Storm, now romanticized as a golden moment of the prudent use of armed force, had moments of extreme tension and uncertainty. We won’t know the details of the Obama administration’s debates over Libya for some time, depending on how soon we get the next Bob Woodward fly-on-the-wall book, but it’s a safe bet that the story will be similar.

Adding further to the paradox is the amazingly successful experiment of the All-Volunteer Force. The AVF was something

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The market functions well enough to bring Walmart to its senses. Alas, for Big Government, there are no such corrective mechanisms.

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