Monday, May 7, 2007

Historians as experts for "The Surge"

Although the American Historical Association has gone on record opposing the Iraq war, not all historians oppose current U.S. military strategy, and two historians have been important to its formulation, History News Network reports today. An article by John Elrick begins:
It has been nearly four months since the Bush administration announced its latest strategy for the war in Iraq. The centerpiece of the "new way forward" is a strengthened US ground presence. Two historians, Frederick Kagan and H.R. McMaster, have emerged as important supporters of the troop surge. Kagan wrote the blueprint for “the surge” and McMaster is serving as a top military advisor in Iraq. Both men are central figures in the success of the White House's renewed war effort.
Kagan, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a regular contributor to the Weekly Standard magazine, has been an outspoken supporter of a troop increase in Iraq and is one of the architects of the Bush administration's current plan. According to Jason Leopold at the liberal anti-war website,, the Bush plan "was culled from the white paper, 'Choosing Victory: A Plan for Success in Iraq,' written by Kagan" in December of 2006. Conservatives disagree with Truthout on many issues, but not this. Everybody recognizes Kagan's key role in devising the Bush administration's new war strategy. Few others have kept up as steady a drumbeat in defense of the plan as he has. Almost every week he pens a new op ed. The latest was published in the New York Times on Sunday....
Like Kagan, H.R. McMaster holds a PhD in military history, earning his from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Col. McMaster was commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in northwestern Iraq from 2005-2006 and is currently an advisor to the head of US forces, General David Petraeus. McMaster belongs to a group of "warrior intellectuals" who, according to Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post, "make up one of the most selective clubs in the world: military officers with doctorates from top-flight universities and combat experience in Iraq."

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