Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Andrew Bacevich's son killed in Iraq

One of the writers that I've quoted most often on military matters and on civilian-military relations is Andrew Bacevich. His 27-year-old son, also named Andrew, who was serving as a Army lieutenant in Iraq, was recently killed in action. Steve Clemons reflects on his death and his father's grief in What is Andrew Bacevich's Son's Life Worth? The Washington Note blog 05/14/07.

I blogged about an appearance by the senior Bacevich in 2005 when he was promoting his book published that year, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (
Bacevich in Berkeley 06/02/05). He mentioned in that talk that he had a son serving as a lieutenant in the Army, but I don't recall him saying that he was in Iraq at that time. Bachevich came off as a serious and respectful thinker with a good sense of humor and a real sense of decency. He expressed a disgust at the Cheney-Bush torture policy that seemed to be both professional shame for the officer corps and genuine Christian disgust. As I summarized it in my review of his talk:

During the question period, someone followed up on this point, asking how a regular person like Charles Graner gets to the point of committing acts like the Abu Ghuraib torture. Bacevich, noting that he himself is a practicing Catholic who believes in Original Sin, said one reason is that some people are just bad people. And Graner is one of them. He also blamed the senior officers for not exerting adequate control to prevent those crimes from occurring. He was quite adamant in saying that he thought the worst shame of Abu Ghuraib is that no senior officers had been held responsible, except for a female reservist general.
Juan Cole notes that Bacevich has been "a thoughtful critic of Bush's War" in Iraq and that "Bacevich, no less than Walt Whitman, is our courage-teacher, reminding us of a lost America of vitality and backbone".

My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family.


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