In his column, Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III criticized CNN's Paul Begala for referring to Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor Martin van Creveld as "one of the most esteemed military historians in the world." Bozell then denigrated van Creveld as an "obscure" fringe figure. In fact, according to a bio that appeared with an op-ed by the professor, van Creveld "is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers."
In his March 22 nationally syndicated column, Media Research Center president L. Brent Bozell III criticized CNN political analysts Paul Begala and James Carville for citing Hebrew University of Jerusalem professor Martin van Creveld's November 25, 2005, op-ed in the Jewish newspaper the Forward, in which Creveld described the Iraq war as the "most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them." Specifically, Bozell attacked Begala for referring to van Creveld on the March 20 edition of CNN's The Situation Room as "one of the most esteemed military historians in the world," and denigrated van Creveld as a fringe figure by calling him "obscure." Bozell also sarcastically referred to van Crevald as "this learned professor," the "good doctor," and "Begala and Carville's new most esteemed historian in the world." The U.S. Army, however, apparently disagrees with Bozell's dismissive characterization of van Creveld, whose work is required reading for U.S. Army officers. Van Creveld has also delivered a paper at a conference sponsored by the U.S. Naval War College.
From Bozell's March 22 column:
Days later on CNN's "The Situation Room," Paul Begala, who bows toward Chappaqua on a prayer mat about as often as [Time columnist Joe] Klein, spouted his new enthusiasm for an obscure professor named Martin van Creveld, whom he called "one of the most esteemed military historians in the world." Quoting this learned professor, Begala proclaimed, "This is the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C. sent his legions into Germany and lost them." (Unsurprisingly, James Carville used the very same professor and the very same quote the following morning on NBC's "Today.")
Begala claimed his good doctor had said it recently, but that wasn't true: It was published in the Jewish newspaper The Forward in November. That's not all. Begala didn't finish the sentence he's quoting in that article, which is understandable since it would have given the audience the true flavor of this man's thinking. It ends, "Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men."
And there's more still. If you want a good look at what Begala and Carville's new most esteemed historian in the world would have us do in Iraq, that comes earlier in the piece. He suggests our model is the fall of Saigon, a complete, abject withdrawal: "Clearly this is not a pleasant model to follow, but no other alternative appears in sight."
Bozell's apparent low regard for van Creveld is not shared by the U.S. Army. Van Creveld's November 25, 2005, Forward op-ed, which Begala wrongly claimed was published on March 19, featured a short bio of van Creveld which noted that "[h]e is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army's required reading list for officers." Van Creveld's Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton (Cambridge University Press, 2004) is featured on the "U.S. Army Chief of Staff's Professional Reading List" for field officers and senior non-commissioned officers. This list, according to Army Chief of Staff Peter J. Schoomaker, "is a way for leaders at all levels to increase their understanding of our Army's history, the global strategic context, and the enduring lessons of war."
In fact, Begala, immediately after he described van Creveld as "one of the most esteemed military historians in the world" on the March 20 Situation Room, noted that "he's required reading for our American troops." Bozell omitted this comment from his attacks on Begala.
Similarly, a U.S. Naval War College bio of van Creveld states:
Martin van Creveld, born in the Netherlands, has lived in Israel since 1950. He holds degrees from the London School of Economics and The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he has been on the faculty since 1971. He is the author of fifteen books on military history and strategy, of which Command in War (1985), Supplying War (1977), and The Sword and the Olive (1998) are among the best known. Professor van Creveld has lectured or taught at virtually every strategic institute, military or civilian, in the Western world -- including the U.S. Naval War College, most recently in December 1999 and January 2000.
The bio also states that van Creveld delivered a paper at "a conference on 'alternative futures' at the Naval War College in January 2000."