Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Uh Oh

From CNews:

Army War College report says invasion of Iraq was ‘a strategic error’


MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – A report published by the Army War College calls the U.S. war on terrorism unfocused and says the invasion of Iraq was “a strategic error.”

The research paper by Jeffrey Record, a professor at the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, said the president’s strategy “promises much more than it can deliver” and threatens to spread U.S. military resources too thin. Record also wrote that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq did not present a threat to the United States and was a distraction from the war on terrorism.

Record is a visiting professor at the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa. The paper was published last month by the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute.

Lt.-Col. Merideth Bucher, public affairs officer for the Army War College, said Monday it is not unusual for students, mostly higher ranking officers, at the war college to be exposed to critical thought that might be contrary to current national policy. She said students are often exposed to speakers with varying views.

The director of the Strategic Studies Institute, Douglas Lovelace, said it was originally founded by president Dwight Eisenhower to take a critical independent analysis of military issues from an academic perspective.

“Dr. Record is a noted national security specialist. It’s not at all at odds for us to analyse a given mission and arrive at a conclusion that seems at odds with national policy,” Lovelace said. He said in the past the institute has released studies analysing U.S. policy in Haiti, Afghanistan and other hot spots.

Record could not be reached immediately for comment Monday through army public affairs offices and he did not immediately respond to e-mails from The Associated Press. He is the author of six books and is a former legislative assistant for national security affairs to Senator Sam Nunn, (D-Ga.) and former senator Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas).

Record’s report concludes that the war on terrorism is too widespread and should focus on al-Qaeda and other terrorist threats to the United States.

“The United States may be able to defeat al-Qaeda, but it cannot rid the world of terrorism, much less evil,” Record writes.

It’s one thing when civilians criticize the invasion of Iraq. It’s another when it comes from those whose business it is to run such operations. As my friend who passed this on to me said, “Well, it ain’t Cronkite on the evening news saying ‘It’s time to get out of Vietnam,’ but…it’s close.”