Is Andrew Bacevich Right About Oversight Hearings for Afghanistan?
There's no question Andrew Bacevich has been one of the staunchest critics of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In part one of Rethink Afghanistan, from which this clip is excerpted, Bacevich called the 17,000 additional troops President Obama has committed "a drop in the bucket." And in a recent conversation with me, Bacevich said Obama put the cart before the horse by escalating the war before finishing his policy review. So I was surprised when Bacevich, a Boston University International Relations professor and author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism, told me we wouldn't see congressional oversight hearings anytime soon.
Bacevich's pragmatic assessment stemmed from the fact that Afghanistan is deemed part of the global war on terror that Defense Secretary Gates has called "the Long War." And Bacevich is certainly correct in the sense that we haven't seen much of an institutionalized effort to challenge the policymakers, monitor the military agencies involved, or inform the public. That said, I remain entirely optimistic about bringing about congressional oversight hearings (and I'll explain why in the extended post).