August 18, 2021

MICHAEL WALSH: Pullout From Afghanistan Signals End of ‘Liberal World Order.’

During the Civil War, Grant had no sooner received Robert E. Lee’s surrender than he planned to immediately return to Washington because, in the words of his adjutant, Gen. Horace Porter, “he was anxious above all things to begin the reduction of the military establishment, and diminish the enormous expense attending it, which at this time amounted to nearly four millions of dollars a day.”

The idea of a huge, permanent standing army was anathema to American sensibilities. And America as world policeman? Perish the thought.

Since World War II, however, we have rarely stood down. We still have troops in Germany (!), Italy, the UK, Bahrain, Japan, Korea, and elsewhere. Like the British before us, who sought to make the world England, we believe our culturally specific Enlightenment values are shared by all.

“We go forward with complete confidence in the eventual triumph of freedom,” Bush said in his second inaugural address in 2005. “We have confidence because freedom is the permanent hope of mankind, the hunger in dark places, the longing of the soul.”

What naïve foolishness. But it’s thinking like that which has brought us to our present pass. So let it die with the American misadventure in Afghanistan.

What’s needed now is to return to first principles. Cut the Pentagon by at least half and abolish the CIA. Retire every military officer higher than a major general or rear admiral (there must be some penalty for failure and dereliction of duty) and start promoting on the basis of ability, not ideology. Expunge “social justice” from the service academies and refocus on their only mission: winning on the battlefield.

President DeSantis should do a massive housecleaning of the deep state.

Related: Glenn’s latest NY Post column: Fire the military and intelligence bigs who bungled Afghanistan — now.

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