Andrew J. Bacevich lost his son earlier this month to a suicide bomber in Iraq, a country and war he has written much about. Bacevich, a Vietnam veteran and writer, thinks we’re dead wrong to be there. And he’s been openly vocal about his position. In Sunday’s Washington Post he shares his thoughts and feelings: I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty.
Many people have accused him of undermining our country’s efforts by playing into the hands of the enemy by opposing the war. And now that his son has been killed, there are actually people pointing fingers and saying his anti-war writings contributed directly to his son’s death. Shame on them.
Bacevich’s son joined the army to do his duty – following in his dad’s footsteps. His son fought bravely to protect our democracy, including the right of each of us to exercise our rights as citizens. And now he’s dead and Bacevich feels he failed him. Not by speaking up, but by being ineffective in his efforts to change our course in Iraq. Those of us looking to change the course aren’t suggesting we desert the Iraqis or our country’s best interests – far from it – but rather to find a better way to protect and further those interests which sadly are being undermined by a failed policy.
We messed up badly and are assuming we can fix it with more of the same. That makes no sense. It’s our very presence that’s hurting and even fueling the insurgency. For the sake of Bacevich’s son and all our brave military, we need to work with others to find a way that in the end leaves Iraq and the Middle East in a stronger position, because that will be in our best interests too. Our present course isn’t the answer. It’s time we were brave enough and far-sighted enough to admit it.
Bacevich’s son, just like so many of our sons and daughters, loved his country and did what he believed in by joining the military. And Bacevich also loves his country and is doing what he can to help us rethink a badly planned and executed war – and to hopefully help keep more of our country’s young men and women from losing their lives for a reason that no longer makes sense – if it ever did. Protecting our country’s interests is one thing – but let’s do it in a way that really leaves us all in a better position.
As far as I’m concerned, Bacevich and his son both served our country well, each doing what he believed to be the right thing. Hopefully neither of their efforts will have been in vain.
- About Andrew Bacevich
- From: The Huffington Post
“Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of international relations at Boston University. A graduate of the U. S. Military Academy, he received his Ph. D. in American diplomatic history from Princeton. In 2004 Dr. Bacevich was a Berlin Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Before joining the faculty of Boston University, he taught at West Point and at Johns Hopkins.”