War Managers: Pundits and Policy Officials

  • Carl Mirra
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Oral History book series (PSOH)


No book on the Iraq War would be complete without some attention to the policy debates among war planners and public intellectuals. This chapter opens with two well-known pundits, Andrew Bacevich and David Horowitz, both identified as conservative, albeit with far different understandings of the term. Since this book seeks to open dialogue, a brief explanation on the inclusion of Horowitz is in order given that he is a “polarizing figure.”


Foreign Policy Middle East Security Council Bush Administration Security Council Resolution 
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  1. 1.
    Richard Perle, “Relax, Celebrate Victory,” USA Today, May 1, 2003. David Rose, “Neo Culpa,” Vanity Fair (November 2006). The Vanity Fair article generated controversy, and was accused of misrepresenting Perle’s words. Perle’s statement that the occupation was a mistake was on the BBC program, Hard Talk, and the video is available at <>, accessed July 18, 2008.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    William Buckley, Jr., “It Didn’t Work,” National Interest (February 2006). Available at <>, accessed July 18, 2008. George Will, “A War Still Seeking a Mission,” Washington Post, September 11, 2007, p. A16. Patrick J. Buchanan, “Stay the Course Is Not Enough,” in The Right War? The Conservative Debate on Iraq, ed. Gary Rosen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 201–203.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Andrew Bacevich, “I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty,” Washington Post, May 27, 2007, p. B01.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For a discussion and context on Carter see Andrew Bacevich, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), pp. 175–204. The Carter Doctrine states, “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Scott Sherman, “David Horowitz’s Long March,” The Nation, July 3, 2000. Jennifer Jacobson, “What Makes David Run: David Horowitz Demands Attention for the Idea That Conservatives Deserve a Place in Academe,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 6, 2005: p. A9.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Falwell is a television evangelical preacher, whose remark that homosexuals and abortionists are in part to blame for the 9/11 attack created a storm of controversy. He later apologized for the following comment: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way—all of them who have tried to secularize America—I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’” See John F. Harris, “God Gave U.S. ‘What We Deserve,’ Falwell Says,” Washington Post, September 14, 2001, p. C03.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See Tim Weiner, “The Case of the Spies without a Country,” New York Times, January 17, 1999 and Hans Blix, Disarming Iraq (New York: Pantheon Books, 2004), pp. 36–37.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry Kissinger, and Sam Nunn, “A World Free of Nuclear Weapons,” Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2007.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Right-hand man quotation in Dana Milbank, “Colonel Finally Saw Whites of Their Eyes,” Washington Post, October 20, 2005. Brian Knowlton, “Former Powell Aide Says Bush Policy Run by Cabal,” New York Times, October 21, 2005. Ring quoted in Richard Leiby, “Breaking Ranks,” Washington Post, January 19, 2006.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    See Mark Mazzetti, “US Army Says Prison Deaths Are Homicides,” Boston Globe, March 26, 2005; “US Acknowledges Torture at Guantanamo; in Iraq, Afghanistan—UN,”, June 24, 2005, available at <>, accessed August 10, 2007. For further documentation, consult Human Rights First, “One Year after the Abu Ghraib Torture Photos: U.S. Government Response ‘Grossly Inadequate,”’ A Human Rights First Assessment, April 26, 2005, available at <>, accessed August 10, 2007.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lawsuits were filed in Germany and France against Rumsfeld over the mistreatment of detainees; see Adam Zagorin, “Exclusive: Charges Sought against Rumsfeld over Prison Abuse,” Time, November 10, 2006. Rumsfeld reportedly made a hasty exit from France because of such lawsuits, see “Rumsfeld Flees France, Fearing Arrest,” Alternet, October 29, 2007, available at <>, accessed March 12, 2008.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Quotation on Feith as top planner and the following Feith comment in Eric Schmitt, “Controversial Pentagon Official Is Stepping Down,” New York Times, January 27, 2005.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), see especially Part III. Seymour Hersh, “Selective Intelligence,” New Yorker (May 2003). Inspector General, United States Department of Defense, “Review of the Pre-war Activities of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy,” Report No. 07-INTEL-04, February 9, 2007. To be sure, the Inspector General report does not specifically address the Office of Special Plans.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    See Hersh, “Selective Intelligence”; Robert Dreyfus and Jason West, “The Lie Factory,” Mother Jones (January/February 2004); and Inspector General, “Review of the Pre-war Activities.”Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    Peter Waldman, “Resigning in Protest, a Career Diplomat Turns Peace Envoy—Letter to Powell Makes Him an Unlikely Antiwar Icon,” Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2003.Google Scholar
  16. 19.
    Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (New York: Penguin Press, 2006), pp. 329–340. Ricks describes what he calls the 2nd Battalion’s “near mutiny,” and that this first use of Iraqi forces for internal operations indicated a “strategic failure for the entire U.S. approach.”Google Scholar
  17. 20.
    Douglas A. Ollivant and Eric D. Chewning, “Producing Victory: A 2007 Postscript for Implementation,” Military Review (March–April 2007), v. 87, pp. 109–110.Google Scholar
  18. 21.
    Roger Cohen, “The Ghost in the Baghdad Museum,” New York Times, April 2, 2006.Google Scholar

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© Carl Mirra 2008

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  • Carl Mirra

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