Our Army, says Abizaid, is not "built to sustain a long war." Yet we are committed by NATO to defend Central and Eastern Europe -- including the Baltic republics and the eastern Balkans, against a resurgent Russia. We are committed to defend Israel, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states from Iran. We are committed to defend Afghanistan from the Taliban, South Korea from North Korea, and Japan and Taiwan from China.
Who do we think we are kidding? America today is like an auto insurance company with the cash on hand to handle one or two fender-benders, but anything beyond that means Chapter 11.
In the Reagan decade, writes national security analyst William Hawkins, the United States had 18 Army divisions. Clinton cut it to 10. Yet, since Reagan, we have not cut commitments, but added to them: in Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Gulf and the Taiwan Strait.
The American Imperium is hollow. We have nowhere near the troops to sustain the security commitments and war guarantees we have ladled out. Like the Brits in 1945, ours is an overstretched empire with a sinking currency, whose enemies are salivating at the prospect of being in on the kill.
America may need a larger Army. More imperative is the need for a radical reduction in treaty and war commitments.
While the U.S. Navy and Air Force remain supreme, the Army and Marines are, as Abizaid says, too small a force to fight a long war. We must adjust our commitments to reflect our capabilities and, beyond that, to defend only what is truly vital to the national security.
While our armed forces are more than adequate to defend us, they are insufficient to defend an empire. Rather than bleed and bankrupt the nation endlessly, we should let go of the empire.
Americans must learn how to mind our own business and cease to meddle in other nation's quarrels. Iraq was never a threat to the United States. Only our mindless intervention has made it so.