Andrew Bacevich addresses problem of perpetual war
Andrew Bacevich, a professor of international relations at Boston University and retired U.S. Army officer, will discuss the nation’s over-reliance on military power to achieve foreign policy goals in a May lecture at the University of Oregon.
Bacevich has been a vocal and persistent critic of U.S. foreign and military policy since shortly after his retirement as an army colonel in 1990. He has described the U.S. occupation of Iraq as a catastrophic failure and called George W. Bush’s support for “preventive wars” such as the invasion of Iraq as “immoral, illicit and imprudent.”
Bacevich’s son, who was also an army officer, died in 2007 while fighting in Iraq.
His UO lecture, “A Decade of War,” will be at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, in the EMU Ballroom.
In the talk, Bacevich is expected to address where its decade-long “Global War on Terror” has taken America, what it has achieved and what is has cost.
“The inclination to turn away from these questions may be strong, (but) Americans should resist that temptation,” he says.
Bacevich recalls a family visit to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin shortly after his retirement in 1990 from a 23-year army career. The Vietnam veteran says he had an epiphany, realizing for the first time that “the truths I had accumulated over the previous 20 years as a professional solider – especially truths about the Cold War and U.S. foreign policy – might not be entirely true.”
That led Bacevich to become a student of history, and ultimately a teacher and writer – as well as an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign and military policy.
Bacevich has been critical of the U.S. occupation of Iraq from the outset, and two years ago accused President Obama of “want[ing] us to forget about the lessons of Iraq.”
Bracevich graduated from U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1969 and holds a doctorate in American diplomatic history from Princeton University. He taught at West Point and Johns Hopkins University prior to joining the faculty at Boston University in 1998.
Bacevich is the author of several books. His most recent is a book of essays titled, “The Short American Century: a Postmortem (March 2012).”
Bacevich’s visit to Eugene is sponsored by the Oregon Humanities Center’s Kritikos Professorship. Established in 1993 with a gift from David B. Stern and Nancy Guitteau, the Kritikos Professorship brings distinguished scholars, critics, and leaders in the humanities to the UO and the state of Oregon.
This lectureship was created to foster the education of UO students and faculty, and to promote intelligent, critical, public discourse across Oregon. Kritikos Professors are known for speaking their minds, even if what they have to say is currently unfashionable.
Bacevich’s talk is part of the Oregon Humanities Center’s “Conflict” series – a year-long, campus-wide exploration of controversy, ideology, ambivalence, convergence, compromise and resolution featuring lectures, performances, exhibits and films.