Death Of A Son

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich is the Director of that university’s Center For Internaional Relations.  A Vietnam vet, Bacevich is also an outspoken war critic, and author of the critically-acclaimed book, The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War.

Here’s what he wrote in a Washington Post editorial in August 2005:

In fact, apart from consuming $300 billion and many thousands of lives (including more than 1,850 U.S. soldiers), the attempt to tutor Iraqis on their journey to American-style freedom has yielded results quite opposite from those intended: Rather than producing security, our continued massive military presence has helped fuel continuing violence. Rather than producing liberal democracy, our meddling in Iraqi politics has exacerbated political dysfunction. And by signaling the importance that it attributes to satisfying the core interests of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds alike, Washington has encouraged all three factions to increase their demands. Convinced that the Americans will never permit a cataclysmic collision, each faction is committed to playing a high-stakes game of chicken. If Iraq in August 2005 qualifies as the political equivalent of a clapped-out, self-abusing dependent, then the Bush administration ought to be recognized as being an enabler.

Wisdom requires that the Bush administration call an end to its misbegotten crusade. While avoiding the appearance of an ignominious dash for the exits, but with all due speed, the United States needs to liquidate its presence in Iraq, placing the onus on Iraqis to decide their fate and creating the space for other regional powers to assist in brokering a political settlement. We’ve done all that we can do.


For Bush personally, the consequences of leaving Iraq might be the most painful. The prospect of looking antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan in the eye to explain exactly what her son died for will become even more daunting. But as it is, the president can’t dodge that question indefinitely. Postponing the issue simply swells the ranks of those with similar questions to ask.

Professor Bachevich joined those "ranks" of grieving parents: his son, 1st Lt. Andrew J. Bacevich, 27, of Walpole, Mass., died May 13 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his unit during combat patrol operations in Salah Ad Din Province, Iraq.