Andrew J. Bacevich, Sr. (born July 5, 1947) is an American historian
specializing in international relations, security studies, American
foreign policy, and American diplomatic and military history. He is a
Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at the
Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies. He
is also a retired career officer in the Armor Branch of the United
States Army, retiring with the rank of Colonel. He is a former
director of Boston University's Center for International Relations
(from 1998 to 2005), now part of the Pardee School of Global
Bacevich has been "a persistent, vocal critic of the U.S. occupation
of Iraq, calling the conflict a catastrophic failure." In March
2007, he described George W. Bush's endorsement of such "preventive
wars" as "immoral, illicit, and imprudent." His son, Andrew
Bacevich Jr., also an Army officer, died fighting in the
Iraq War in
1 Life and work
3.2 Essays and reporting
4 See also
6 External links
Life and work
Bacevich was born in Normal, Illinois, the son of Martha Ellen
(Bulfer) and Andrew Bacevich. His father was of Lithuanian descent
and his mother was of Irish, German, and English ancestry. He
graduated from the
United States Military Academy
United States Military Academy at
West Point in
1969 and served in the
United States Army during the Vietnam War,
serving in Vietnam from the summer of 1970 to the summer of 1971.
Later he held posts in Germany, including the 11th Armored Cavalry
Regiment; the United States; and the Persian Gulf up to his retirement
from the service with the rank of
Colonel in the early 1990s. His
early retirement is thought to be a result of his taking
responsibility for the
Camp Doha (Kuwait) explosion in 1991 while
in command of the 11th ACR. He holds a
Ph.D. in American Diplomatic
History from Princeton University, and taught at
West Point and Johns
Hopkins University before joining the faculty at
Boston University in
On May 13, 2007, Bacevich's son, Andrew John Bacevich, was killed in
action in Iraq by an improvised explosive device south of Samarra in
Salah ad Din Governorate. The younger Bacevich, 27, was a First
Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th
U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division.
Bacevich also has three daughters.
Bacevich has described himself as a "Catholic conservative"  and
initially published writings in a number of politically oriented
magazines, including The Wilson Quarterly. He is a leading advocate
for a non-interventionist foreign policy. His recent writings have
professed a dissatisfaction with the Bush Administration and many of
its "intellectual" supporters on matters of American foreign policy.
On August 15, 2008, Bacevich appeared as the guest of Bill Moyers
Journal on PBS to promote his book, The Limits of Power. As in both of
his previous books, The Long War (2007) and The New American
Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War (2005), Bacevich is
American foreign policy
American foreign policy in the post
Cold War era,
United States has developed an over-reliance on
military power, in contrast to diplomacy, to achieve its foreign
policy aims. He also asserts that policymakers in particular, and the
American people in general, overestimate the usefulness of military
force in foreign affairs. Bacevich believes romanticized images of war
in popular culture (especially movies) interact with the lack of
actual military service among most of the U.S. population to produce
in the American people a highly unrealistic, even dangerous notion of
what combat and military service are really like.
Bacevich conceived The New American Militarism as "a corrective to
what has become the conventional critique of U.S. policies since 9/11
but [also] as a challenge to the orthodox historical context employed
to justify those policies."
Finally, he attempts to place current policies in historical context,
as part of an American tradition going back to the Presidency of
Woodrow Wilson, a tradition (of an interventionist, militarized
foreign policy) which has strong bi-partisan roots. To lay an
intellectual foundation for this argument, he cites two influential
historians from the 20th century:
Charles A. Beard
Charles A. Beard and William
Ultimately, Bacevich eschews the partisanship of current debate about
American foreign policy
American foreign policy as short-sighted and ahistorical. Instead of
blaming only one president (or his advisors) for contemporary
policies, Bacevich sees both Republicans and Democrats as sharing
responsibility for policies which may not be in the nation's best
In March 2003, at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Bacevich
The Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times that "if, as seems probable, the effort
encounters greater resistance than its architects imagine, our way of
life may find itself tested in ways that will make the Vietnam War
look like a mere blip in American history."
An editorial about the
Bush Doctrine was published by the Boston Globe
in March 2007.
In an article of
The American Conservative
The American Conservative dated March 24, 2008,
Bacevich depicts Democratic Presidential candidate
Barack Obama as the
best choice for conservatives in the fall. Part of his argument
includes the fact that "this liberal Democrat has promised to end the
U.S. combat role in Iraq. Contained within that promise, if fulfilled,
lies some modest prospect of a conservative revival." He also goes
on to mention that "For conservatives to hope the election of yet
another Republican will set things right is surely in vain. To believe
that President John McCain will reduce the scope and intrusiveness of
federal authority, cut the imperial presidency down to size, and put
the government on a pay-as-you-go basis is to succumb to a great
In the October 11, 2009, issue of The Boston Globe, he wrote that
the decision to commit more troops to Afghanistan may be the most
fateful choice of the Obama administration. "If the Afghan war then
becomes the consuming issue of Obama’s presidency – as Iraq became
for his predecessor, as Vietnam did for Lyndon Johnson, and as Korea
Harry Truman – the inevitable effect will be to compromise
the prospects of reform more broadly," Bacevich wrote.
In his article "Non Believer" in the July 7, 2010, issue of The New
Republic, Bacevich compared President George W. Bush, characterized as
wrong-headed but sincere, with President Obama, who, he says, has no
belief in the Afghanistan war but pursues it for his own politically
cynical reasons: "Who is more deserving of contempt? The
commander-in-chief who sends young Americans to die for a cause,
however misguided, in which he sincerely believes? Or the
commander-in-chief who sends young Americans to die for a cause in
which he manifestly does not believe and yet refuses to forsake?"
In an October 2010 interview with Guernica Magazine, Bacevich
addressed his seemingly contradictory stance on Obama. While Bacevich
supported Obama during the 2008 presidential race in which Obama
repeatedly said he believed in the Afghanistan War, Bacevich has
become increasingly critical of Obama's decision to commit additional
troops to that war: "I interpreted his campaign rhetoric about
Afghanistan as an effort to insulate him from the charge of being a
national security wimp. His decision to escalate was certainly not a
decision his supporters were clamoring for." 
Regarding nuclear policy in particular, Bacevich noted in The Limits
of Power that there is no feasible scenario under which nuclear
weapons could sensibly be used and keeping them entails many other
risks. "For the United States, they are becoming unnecessary, even as
a deterrent. Certainly, they are unlikely to dissuade the adversaries
most likely to employ such weapons against us – Islamic extremists
intent on acquiring their own nuclear capability. If anything, the
opposite is true. By retaining a strategic arsenal in readiness (and
by insisting without qualification that the dropping of atomic bombs
on two Japanese cities in 1945 was justified), the United States
continues tacitly to sustain the view that nuclear weapons play a
legitimate role in international politics ... ."
Bacevich's papers are currently housed at the Howard Gotlieb Archival
Research Center at Boston University.
This list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.
Bacevich, Andrew J. (1986). The pentomic era : the US Army
between Korea and Vietnam. Washington DC: National Defense University
Press. OCLC 13525013.
Diplomat in Khaki: Frank Ross McCoy and American Foreign Policy,
1898-1949 (University Press of Kansas, 1989) ISBN 0700604014.
American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of US Diplomacy
(Harvard University Press, 2004) ISBN 0-674-01375-1.
The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (Oxford
University Press Inc, USA, 2005) ISBN 0-19-517338-4.
The Long War: A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since
World War II (Columbia University Press, USA, 2007)
The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism (Macmillan,
USA, 2008) ISBN 0-8050-8815-6.
Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War (Macmillan, USA,
2010) ISBN 0-8050-9141-6.
Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country
(Henry Holt and Co., 2013) ISBN 978-0-8050-8296-8.
America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History (Random
House, 2016) ISBN 978-0553393934.
Essays and reporting
Bacevich, Andrew (April 27, 2016). "The battle for truth over Saudi
Arabia's Role in 9/11". Retrieved 2 May 2016.
"America Decides: Is Change in the Heir?". The Diplomat. 7 (3):
28–30. Sep–Oct 2008.
"Breaking Washington's Rules". The American Conservative. 10 (1):
23–26. January 2011.
Bacevich, Andrew J. (September 2012). "How we became Israel :
peace means dominion for Netanyahu—and now for us". The American
Conservative. Retrieved 2015-07-20.
Reprinted: Bacevich, Andrew J. (November 2012). "How we became
Israel". Readings. Harper's Magazine. 325 (1950): 17–20.
United States Army portal
Republican and conservative support for
Barack Obama in 2008
The Imperial Presidency
^ a b "
Boston University - Andrew J. Bacevich - The Frederick S.
Pardee School of Global Studies". bu.edu.
^ a b c d MacQuarrie, Brian (2007-05-15). "Son of professor opposed to
war is killed in Iraq". Boston Globe.
^ a b Bacevich, Andrew J. (2007-03-01). "Rescinding the Bush
Doctrine". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
^ "Martha Greenis Obituary - Crown Point, IN - The Times". The
^ "OralHistory". westpointcoh.org. Archived from the original on
^ "TAB I – The
Camp Doha Explosion and Fires (July 1991)".
Environmental Exposure Report – Depleted Uranium in the Gulf (II).
United States Department of Defense. December 13, 2000.
^ "About Andy Bacevich". The Atlantic. August 16, 2008.
^ "Honor the Fallen Army 1st Lt. Andrew J. Bacevich".
^ a b "Soldier from Fort Hood killed in Iraq Archived May 17, 2007, at
the Wayback Machine.", The Associated Press, published May 14, 2007,
accessed May 15, 2007.
^ Barlow, Rich (November 22, 2010). "Are Americans God's Chosen
People?". BU Today. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
^ "Andrew Bacevich: 'Christian realism' for foreign affairs
NewBostonPost". newbostonpost.com. Retrieved 2017-12-12.
^ "The American Conservative". The American Conservative. Retrieved
^ Bacevich, Andrew J. (October 11, 2009). "Afghanistan – the proxy
war". The Boston Globe.
^ Bacevich, Andrew, "Non-Believer", The New Republic, July 7, 2010.
Retrieved 2010-09-05. Referenced in Frank Rich, "Freedom's just
another word", The New York Times, September 4, 2010 (September 5,
2010 p. WK8, NY ed.).
^ Bacevich, Andrew J. (October 1, 2010). "Blood Without Guts".
Guernica Magazine. Archived from the original on October 6,
^ pp. 178-179
^ "Search". Mises Institute.
^ Review of Washington Rules at NY Times
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Andrew Bacevich
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Andrew Bacevich.
Academic profile of Prof.
Andrew Bacevich at the Pardee School of
Global Studies, Boston University
"Is the war in Afghanistan worth fighting?" Great Debate at Boston
University, November 4, 2009
"Moral Obligations in the Global War on Terror: Who Owes What?" Talk
given at Boston University, March 21, 2009[permanent dead link]
Prophets and Poseurs: Niebuhr and Our Times, World Affairs
Appearances on C-SPAN
Illusions of Victory By Andrew Bacevich
Is Perpetual War Our Future? By Andrew Bacevich
I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose, Washington Post, May 27, 2007
Andrew Bacevich webpage at Boston University
Andrew Bacevich in Bostonia, alumni magazine of Boston
University, Seduced by War
Extensive excerpts from The New American Militarism
Conversations with Andrew Bacevich
Archive of Bacevich's writings for The Nation
Andrew Bacevich bloggings at HuffPo
Iraq panel's real agenda: damage control for The Christian Science
Sycophant Savior General Petraeus wins a battle in Washington – if
not in Baghdad.
Bill Moyers Journal interview of Andrew Bacevich
Amy Goodman interviews
Andrew Bacevich about his book The Limits of
Power: The End of American Exceptionalism
Online book discussion of Andrew Bacevich's "The Limits of Power"
Camp Doha Incident Report
Video discussion between Bacevich and Heather Hurlburt on
Andrew Bacevich on Afghanistan War: The President Lacks the Guts to
Get Out on Democracy Now!
Jake Whitney in
Guernica Magazine interviews Bacevich
Jeong Lee, Book Review: Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their
Soldiers and Their Country,' Small Wars Journal, October 7, 2013
Jeong Lee, Book Review- America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A
Military History, Small Wars Journal , April 28, 2016
ISNI: 0000 0001 1451 6241
BNF: cb14497451z (data)