Gen. William Odom

Generals Near Unanimous: Iraq is “the greatest strategic disaster in U.S. history”

Gen. William Odom discusses the “worst strategic disaster in American history,” the war in Iraq: the view of most generals that the war is wrong, the failure of the politicians to see the consequences of their actions, the centrality of the neoconservatives and the Israel lobby in pushing for the Iraq invasion, the “surge,” Bush’s siding with the Iran factions even though the Iraqi Shia don’t want them, the crisis of Iraq’s four million refugees and it’s possible consequences, the tenuous alliance between Iraq’s Sunnis and al Qaeda, the fact that a September 11th worth of Iraqis die every month in that country, his view of George Tenet and Colin Powell’s failure to resign before the war and the possibility of war with Iran.

MP3 here. (18:47)

Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Ret.), is a Senior Fellow with Hudson Institute and a professor at Yale University. As Director of the National Security Agency from 1985 to 1988, he was responsible for the nation’s signals intelligence and communications security. From 1981 to 1985, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, the Army’s senior intelligence officer.

From 1977 to 1981, General Odom was Military Assistant to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs, Zbigniew Brzezinski. As a member of the National Security Council staff, he worked upon strategic planning, Soviet affairs, nuclear weapons policy, telecommunications policy, and Persian Gulf security issues. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1954, and received a Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1970.

General Odom’s latest book, America’s Inadvertent Empire, co-authored with Robert Dujarric, was published in early 2004 by Yale University Press. His previous book, Fixing Intelligence For a More Secure America, was published in January 2003 (Yale University Press). His book, The Collapse of the Soviet Military (Yale University Press, 1998), won the Marshall Shulman Prize. General Odom has also written (American University Press, 1993); America’s Military Revolution: Strategy and Structure After the Cold WarTrial After Triumph: East Asia After the Cold War (Hudson Institute, 1992); On Internal War: American and Soviet Approaches to Third World Clients and Insurgents (Duke University Press, 1992); and The Soviet Volunteers (Princeton University Press, 1973). He coauthored Commonwealth or Empire? Russia, Central Asia, and the Transcaucasus with Robert Dujarric (Hudson Institute, 1995).

General Odom has published articles in Foreign Affairs, World Politics, Foreign Policy, Orbis, Problems of Communism, The National Interest, The Washington Quarterly, Military Review, and many other publications. A frequent radio and television commentator, he has appeared on programs such as “The PBS News Hour,” CNN, ABC’s “Nightline”, NBC News, C-Span, and BBC’s “The World Tonight.” He also is a periodic contributor to the op-ed pages of The NewYork Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and others.