In 1964, when Lyndon Johnson began escalating America's involvement in Vietnam, Undersecretary of State George Ball warned that "the party which seems to be losing will be tempted to keep raising the ante." In the summer of 1965, when the United States had less than 100,000 troops in Vietnam, Ball concluded that "humiliation would be more likely than the achievement of our objectives -- even after we have paid terrible costs." As Ball predicted, the United States eventually increased its troop levels to nearly 600,000 and suffered almost 60,000 deaths to no avail.
Since coming into office, the Bush administration has radically altered national-security and military doctrines that had successfully safeguarded American interests for more than 50 years. The changes, as the current crisis in Iraq demonstrates, have actually undermined U.S. security.
George W. Bush's new national-security doctrine, officially promulgated on Sept. 17, 2001, discards the long-standing American policy of using American military and economic power, in conjunction with international support, to create a stable international order by deterring and containing those who would challenge this order.
When George Bush Senior's administration decided that the end of the Cold War made it safe to reduce the defense budget and the size of our armed forces, many neoconservatives and defense hawks, some of whom were serving in that administration, argued against the move. They wanted the United States to maintain military dominance in order to prevent the emergence of a rival power to challenge American hegemony.
Since the attacks of September 11, and the promulgation of the George W. Bush doctrine of unilateral military preemption a year later, many of these same individuals are now calling for an increase of as much as $100 billion a year in defense spending and restoring the size of the active duty military force to its 1990 level. They base their case on four arguments.