Army War College toned down its Iraq war criticism under pressure from Rumsfeld.

Over the past few years, the U.S. Army War College has attracted considerable attention for its willingness to criticize the Bush administration’s foreign policy, publishing a paper in 2004 that concluded the global war on terrorism was “unfocused” and war in Iraq “unnecessary.” Today, former Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks writes that Steven Metz, chairman of a department at the Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, said that the school eventually had to censor itself because of pressure from the Pentagon:

In fact, he [Metz] explicitly blamed the strained relationship between the Army and its civilian overseers under then-Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “[A]t the time — with growing sensitivity to criticism by Rumsfeld and the Army’s attempt to make peace with Rumsfeld after Shinseki left — several members of SSI had been verbally flogged after interviews with you [Ricks] when the stories portrayed [sic] as more critical of the administration than we intended. We were worried about what might happen to SSI, even frightened for the organization. Many of us, including me, simply stopped doing interviews. Luckily, the climate eventually changed.”

Metz also said that he regrets what he did and instead should have been “more critical.” Ezra Klein writes that this incident helps make the case for academic tenure.