R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth

Colonel David Hackworth, the first senior officer to come out and say the Vietnam War was a mistake, has died of bladder cancer. He was 74. He seemed much younger on tv. Here's a detailed obituary. Some quotes:

The cause of death was a form of cancer now appearing with increasing frequency among Vietnam veterans exposed to the defoliants called Agents Orange and Blue....Soldiers For The Truth is now working on legal action to compel the Pentagon to recognize Agent Blue alongside the better known Agent Orange as a killer and to help veterans exposed to it during the Vietnam War.

....A reputation won on the battlefield made it impossible to dismiss him when he went on the attack later as a critic of careerism and incompetence in the military high command. In 1971, he appeared in the field on ABC's Issue and Answers to say Vietnam "is a bad war...it can't be won. We need to get out." He also predicted that Saigon would fall to the North Vietnamese within four years, a prediction that turned out to be far more accurate than anything the Joint Chiefs of Staff were telling President Nixon or that the President was telling the American people.

With almost five years in country, Col. Hackworth was the only senior officer to sound off about the Vietnam War. After the interview, he retired from the Army and moved to Australia.

It was Col. Hackworth who was responible for the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse photos getting to "60 Minutes II" last year. He also warned about the return of the draft.

Col. Hackworth was an outspoken and early critic of the Iraq War:

Our first New Year's resolution should be to find out if the stated reasons for our pre-emptive strike Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction and Saddam's connection with al-Qaeda constituted a real threat to our national security. Because, contrary to public opinion, the present administration hasn't yet made the case that Saddam and his sadists aided and abetted al-Qaeda's attacks on 9/11. We also need to know why our $30 billion-a-year intelligence agencies didn't read the tea leaves correctly, as well as what's being done besides upgrading the color code to prevent other similar strikes.

Two more quotes from the obituary linked above:

"He was perhaps the finest soldier of his generation," observed the novelist and war correspondent Nicholas Proffit, who described Col. Hackworth's combat autobiography About Face, a national best-seller, as "a passionate cry from the heart of a man who never stopped loving the Army, even when it stopped loving him back."

..."Hack never lost his focus," said Roger Charles, president of Soldiers for the Truth. "That focus was on the young kids that our country sends to bleed and die on our behalf. Everything he did in his retirement was to try to give them a better chance to win and to come home. That's one hell of a legacy."

R.I.P. Colonel Hackworth.

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    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:52:01 PM EST
    As great a soldier and human being as he was, what a waste of his talent, to send him to Vietnam. Hackworth died because of a GREAT betrayal: Pentagon use of 'rainbow herbicides' ""When we (military scientists) initiated the herbicide program in the 1960s," Clary wrote in a 1988 letter to a member of Congress investigating Agent Orange, " we were aware of the potential for damage due to dioxin contamination in the herbicide. We were even aware that the `military' formulation had a higher dioxin concentration than the `civilian' version, due to the lower cost and speed of manufacture. However, because the material was to be used on the `enemy,' none of us were overly concerned. We never considered a scenario in which our own personnel would become contaminated with the herbicide. And, if we had, we would have expected our own government to give assistance to veterans so contaminated." Aside from the incredible negligence (or mendacity), that's a confession of chemical warfare. It was not just 'defoliants.' It was poisoning human victims. ...from the blasted forests of Indochine, to the poisoned sands of Iraq...

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#8)
    by ppjakajim on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:57:34 PM EST
    CA - Too bad indeed that our leaders screwed many of our best and brightest over in a mistaken belief that they should pay attention to the moaning of the Left. That political will would have just ignored you.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#9)
    by Johnny on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:57:57 PM EST
    Browsing the obits, the number of 50-something men in there everyday kind of scares me. Makes me worried for my dad... good thing we stopped the spread of communism over there... Anyone who would ever dare defend that POS war needs to be ostracized... Defend it wrong-wingers.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#1)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:47 PM EST
    Col. Hackworth ranks right up there with Manila John Basilone, Audie Murphy, and Chesty Puller. He was a great man. And the main story on the MSM was... Britany Spears choreographer explaing that he didn't have sex with MJ. Makes one want to puke.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#2)
    by john horse on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:47 PM EST
    Several months ago, Talkleft asked its readers what blogs they would recommend about Iraq. One of the blogs on my list was Hackworths. Hackworth was one of the best and most effective critics of the way that the Iraq war was being conducted and of the way that our servicemen were being treated. He had a low tolerance for BS, whether it came from the military brass or from the Bush administration. Anyone who wants to know what speaking truth to power is all about should read his columns. He was a good soldier and a patriot. Rest in peace Colonel.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#3)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:47 PM EST
    I am truly shocked and saddened at the passing of this true patriot. RIP Colonel. May he be required reading at OCS/OTS. But as Bright Eyes would sing, I doubt it. I doubt it.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:47 PM EST
    A true Patriot has passed on. He will be missed.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:47 PM EST
    A true patriot indeed, and boy do we need more of them now. Sometimes it takes great courage to face the truth, and this man had great courage.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#6)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:48 PM EST
    The thing is he was right and he was wrong, but i know one guy who died of that kind of Cancer, and god only knows how many more will die from that war, sad for his family.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:49 PM EST
    Too bad this colonel and the rest of the army did not have PPJ to help them with the political will to win the war in Vietnam. Rest in peace, soldier.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#11)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:49 PM EST
    Oh now I get it...politcal will is a term defined by the number of tons of toxic chemicals and high explosives you drop on peasants.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:49 PM EST
    Only in Jim's world, Ernesto.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:49 PM EST
    It was chemical warfare against generations of Vietnamese. It got some grunts also, but the military number crunchers and planners safely back in the Pentagon could live with the sacrifice. Chemical warfare. Can anyone say war crimes? Today, we are using du ammunition. Guess what we would call those weapons if used against americans? Dirty bombs. Twisted language. We don't use chemical warfare, we use defoliants. We don't use dirty bombs, we use armor penetrating depleted uranium shells. We are a rogue nation. I don't see how this can work out well for us and our grandchildren. It's been kind of hard on vietnamese, afghanis, and iraqis too.

    Re: R.I.P. Colonel David Hackworth (none / 0) (#14)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:49 PM EST
    see "the fog of war". mcnamara says if they'd really lost and been captured, he and his fellow "leaders" would've been, and probably rightfully, tried as war criminals. as for ppj, i don't know what to say or think when he believes the entirety of the vietnam war's failure rests entirely because of liberal people, their thinking, and their subsequent free actions. so the vietnamese really weren't fighting a civil war, after all, huh jim? and they weren't defending their homeland with every fiber of their being? they'd been fighting the chinese for a thousand years, we were just the latest bad news to hit town. as mcnamara says, we made no attmept to get into the minds of our "enemies" the way we had previously. they were too "foreign", so we didn't try. and that, my friend, is the stupidity of too much power and too little imagination.