I've been alive for nearly fifty years now, and I've known a lot of people who've fought a lot of wars -- The Second World War, The Korean War, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm, and, now, Iraq. I can tell you with 100% certainty that nobody-but-ANYBODY who ever fought in any of those wars, or who sent loved ones to fight in any of those wars, or who lost loved ones in those wars, or who sat and watched those wars come into their homes every night, via Walter Cronkite, will be talking about whether we should have invaded Iraq or not as "an academic argument."
War can only be academic to people who've gone to an Academy to study it. And most of the times, even those guys don't consider the topic academic. My ex is a Lt. Col. in the United States Air Force, who was Air Force ROTC, has a master's degree from War College (no shit, civilians, that's what it's called), reads books on military histories and soldiers' autobiographies just for fun (sometimes in Russian, which was a little troubling, but also kind of cool), and has dedicated his life to serving his country in uniform, and I can promise you that even he doesn't consider any war, including this one, "academic."
Maybe, much like other candidates in the recent past, you used a poor choice of words. I don't know. But I think you should rethink your statement and clarify it as soon as possible, lest the media take it and run wild with it. Because even people who still support this war, who've sent their children, spouses and parents to fight this war, don't think this war is academic or intellectual. War is personal, Senator. It's personal today, it will be personal tomorrow, it will be personal fifty years from now.
I would think that you, of all people, would understand that.