June 1, 2006  

To Kristian Gustafson

A “senior lecturer” at the Department of War Studies, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, England, for getting his Franks crossed. In a piece titled “General Botched Both Gulf Wars” in the National Post of Canada, Gustafson blamed Gen. Tommy Franks not only for failing to foresee the insurgency that followed the Iraq invasion of 2003, but for failing to move quickly enough to cut off the Iraqi Republican Guard south of the Euphrates River in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. That the same senior general would have served at three- or four-star rank for a dozen years didn’t suggest to Gustafson that something was rotten in his analysis. But it did not fool Scot Robertson, an associate professor of history at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, who pointed out in a reply to the paper, “It was not Tommy Franks who commanded VII Corps, but General Frederick Franks.” AFJ concurs with Professor Roberston’s conclusion: “While [the conduct of operations in Iraq] is indeed a point on which military analysts and historians have had much spirited debate, I would like to point out to Prof. Gustafson that he may wish to throw his critical barbs in the right direction.” Gustafson responded: “In my letter yesterday I confused General Frederick Franks with General Tommy Franks. I apologize. My embarrassment is deep.” Well might it be.