The Philadelphia Inquirer
February 8, 2004
report criticizing Iraq war draws flak
(See sidebars below
containing excerpts from the report and background on the U.S. Army War
CARLISLE, Pa. - The folks at the U.S. Army
Jeffrey Record's opinions on Iraq might spark
some debate, even
They did not expect
a public firestorm.
But since Record's essay came to light last month arguing
that the Iraq invasion was "unnecessary" and a "detour"
from the war
on terrorism, the
elite military college west
of Harrisburg has come under an unaccustomed
Antiwar activists, hardly the college's traditional champions, have
embraced Record's commentary as proof that the war was misguided.
Supporters of the invasion have questioned the school's patriotism.
"Why does the U.S. Army War College hate America?" wrote one
visitor to an Internet chat room where Record's report was dissected.
Such sentiment seems alien at the war college, where the offices are
decorated with paintings of U.S. military heroes and a sign posted outside
the main lecture hall warns students - mostly high-ranking officers tapped
for greater leadership - to guard against leaks of top-secret information.
"We're really not used to this sort of attention," said
Lovelace Jr., a retired Army colonel who heads the college's Strategic
Studies Institute, the think tank that published Record's report.
a Vietnam War veteran with multiple postgraduate degrees, is used to being
branded an "ultra-right conservative" simply because of his
affiliation. He is not often tagged "an anti-Bush
commie-liberal," as one
commentator called him for allowing publication of Record's 56-page
monograph, "Bounding the Global War on Terrorism."
In it, Record, an experienced military analyst and visiting research
professor from the U.S. Air War College in Montgomery, Ala., argues that
the global war on terrorism "is strategically unfocused, promises
it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate U.S. military resources in an
endless and hopeless search for absolute security."
He asserts that the Iraq invasion was not integral to the war on
terrorism, and that fusing al-Qaeda and Iraq into a single terrorist
was a "strategic error of the first order."
Record, who is spending a year at the Strategic Studies Institute to
research a book about the Iraq war, also wrote that unanticipated
resistance to the occupation has "stressed the U.S. Army to the
The report sat quietly on the college's Web site for a month and might
have gone unnoticed - most of the institute's reports are absorbed into
defense community debate without much of a public ripple - had the
Washington Post not cited it in a Jan. 12 news story.
Timing is everything. "Dr. Record's paper came out at a confluence of
events," Lovelace said.
Only days earlier, the nonprofit Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace had released a report concluding that Saddam Hussein did not
immediate threat to the United States, the region or global
former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill went public with assertions that
Bush White House was planning to oust Hussein well before 9/11.
No longer unnoticed, Record's report was quoted worldwide. Presidential
candidate Howard Dean immediately borrowed his phrase "strategic
The Guardian in Britain ran the report under the headline: "Bush
by war college." Within days, Record was doing interviews with CNN
while being lauded and skewered on the Internet.
Critics pointed out that Record had worked in the past as an adviser to
Senators Sam Nunn, Lloyd M. Bentsen, William Cohen and Gary
Hart, saying it was evidence that he must have a partisan motive. Most of
were Democrats, except Cohen, a Republican who later became President
defense secretary [corrected from published version].
"Some people have imputed to the study some kind of political
said Record, 60, who has worked as an analyst for more than 30 years,
mostly from within the military community.
"I'm not a closet political hack with political aims."
He and war college officials take umbrage at suggestions that the
institution would engage in anything less than scholarly work. Though it
part of the Defense Department, the college jealously guards its academic
"Even though we're the Army War College, we're not pure Army and
not pure war," Lovelace said. "This is an honest-to-goodness
Though Record's essay carried a standard disclaimer that its views are
those of the author and not the government, it was hardly a rogue
All papers published by the institute are circulated for peer review by
civilian and military academicians, checked for facts, and vetted for
"You expect tough comments, a sanity check," Record said.
"This is really extraordinary that Dr. Record's piece got so much
attention," Lovelace said. The institute produces more than 40 major
studies a year, and their impact is usually much more gradual - and quiet.
"I have a feeling that a lot of these people who are commenting did
even bother to read the report," he added.
Record suggests in his essay that the United States scale back its
ambitions and be prepared to settle for a "friendly autocracy"
rather than a genuine democracy that might take years to establish.
He hardly advocates pulling out of Iraq now that the deed is done,
arguing instead for increasing the occupation force by broadening
"My objective here was to stimulate debate," said Record, who
master's and doctoral studies in international relations at Johns Hopkins
University. "That's the business we're in here at the Strategic
|Excerpts from Jeffrey Record's
"Bounding the Global War on Terrorism."
"In conflating Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Osama bin Laden's
al-Qaeda, the administration unnecessarily expanded the [global war
on terrorism] by launching a preventative war against a state that
was not at war with the United States and that posed no direct or
imminent threat to the United States at the expense of continued
attention and effort to protect the United States from a terrorist
organization with which the United States was at war."
"The war against Iraq was a detour from, not an integral
component of, the war on terrorism; in fact, Operation Iraqi Freedom
may have expanded the terrorist threat by establishing a large new
American target set in an Arab heartland."
"To the extent that the [global war on terrorism] is
directed at the phenomenon of terrorism, as opposed to
flesh-and-blood terrorist organizations, it sets itself up for
strategic failure. Terrorism is a recourse of the politically
desperate and militarily helpless, and, as such, it is hardly going
"A cardinal rule of strategy is to keep your enemies to a
manageable number. A strategy whose ambitions provoke the formation
of an array of enemies whose defeat exceeds the resources available
to that strategy is doomed to failure. The Germans were defeated in
two world wars notwithstanding their superb performance at the
operational and tactical levels of combat because their strategic
ends outran their available means..."
"What started out as a short conventional war of choice has
become an open-ended unconventional war of necessity. Yet by
invading and occupying Iraq, the United States assumed
responsibility for its future and therefore has no moral or
strategic choice but to restore security and establish a functioning
economy and stable government. ... Walking away would be
"Analogies to past experiences are misleading. Though the
administration has repeatedly cited U.S. success in post-World Ware
II Germany and Japan as evidence the United States can do for Iraq
what it did for those two former Axis Powers, the differences
between 1945 and 2003 trample the similarities. First of all, the
United States entered postwar Japan and its occupation zone in
Germany with overwhelming force, which precluded the eruption of
local resistance. Second, both occupations were almost universally
regarded as legitimate.... It is fair to say that the U.S.
occupation of Iraq fails the test of legitimacy in the eyes of an
overwhelming number of Arabs."
here to see the entire report
|The Army War College: A Place 'to
The U.S. Army War College was founded in 1901 in Washington in
response to the War Department's disappointment with the performance
of army commanders in the Spanish-American War. Its founder, Elihu
Root, said the college's aim was "not to promote war, but to
preserve peace by intelligent and adequate preparation to repel
aggression." The college moved to Carlisle Barracks in
Pennsylvania in 1951. The fort, 18 miles west of Harrisburg, had
been founded by the British in 1757 during the French and Indian
Carlisle Barracks has had several incarnations as an educational
institution. It became the School of Cavalry Practice in 1838.
During the Civil War, when Confederate troops attacked Gettysburg,
Confederate cavalry commander J.E.B. Stuart returned to his alma
mater and burned it to the ground. The post became the Carlisle
Indian Industrial School in 1879 - Jim Thorpe was a graduate -
before reverting to a military installation in World War I.
Today, the War College prepares select high-ranking officers for
a master's degree in strategic studies, training them in greater
understanding of why nations fight, the nature of conflict, and the
strategic conduct of war. About 340 resident students are enrolled
in the one-year program, including 42 international officers and 28
civilians, primarily from the Defense Department and intelligence
agencies. Another 318 students, many of them reservists, are
enrolled in a two-year correspondence program.
Though part of the Defense Department, the War College regards
itself as an independent institution where academic freedom is
protected and researchers and students are encouraged to challenge
and criticize existing practices.
The college's Web site::