September 14, 2008

Gen. William Odom obituary

From Ron Unz's elegy in The American Conservative about Gen. William Odom, head of the National Security Administration under Reagan and opponent of the Iraq Attaq:

"Those with knowledge of military affairs recognize different types of courage. There is combat courage—the resolve to storm a position or hold a trench against heavy odds. There is command courage—the willingness of officers to take decisive action and sustain losses to secure victory. And there is a third variety, crucial at the topmost ranks of America’s officer corps but increasingly rare—political courage, the willingness to speak truth to political power. Bill Odom, whom I greatly admired and respected, exemplified this last, most elusive kind of courage, which is why his death of a heart attack on May 30 leaves such a void in America’s foreign-policy debate."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

7 comments:

testing99 said...

Odom was stuck in the last century, and lacked courage to back the surge, or Petraeus who turned things around.

Odom dismissed the real threat of nuclear proliferation, which along with the global container shipping market, poses an existential threat to US cities.

Odom dismissed any military action by the US designed to intimidate or deter failing states, out of a reflexive fear of antagonizing a no longer in existence Soviet Union.

On the most important questions of national security and military posture, Odom was with the conventional wisdom (Colin Powell) and risk avoidance (do nothing, you can't ever get blamed) in politics. When Petraeus and other commanders on the ground argued they could with better tactics, and ROE, turn things around, Odom told them they already lost.

He was wrong. Completely wrong.

Regarding Iraq, latest AP reports say Iran has taken from Bushehr enough uranium to create 10 gun-type bombs. How would you like Saddam and Ahmadinejad racing to who gets nukes first? Creating three, dangerous unstable and nuclear armed nations, prone to play footsie with AQ and other anti-American jihadists, all in a row? [Pakistan, Iran, Iraq.]

Odom doesn't look so smart in that regard.

Martin said...

"testing99 said...

Odom was stuck in the last century, and lacked courage to back the surge, or Petraeus who turned things around."

Turned what around? As it isn't over yet, who knows if we've "won" or not.

"Odom dismissed any military action by the US designed to intimidate or deter failing states, out of a reflexive fear of antagonizing a no longer in existence Soviet Union."

In case you hadn't notice, although there is no longer a Soviet Union, there is still a Russia, and it still has lots of nuclear weapons."

Anonymous said...

t99,

Do you ever give any consideration to why Arab Muslims might be motivated to launch an NBC attack on the US? And, further, why this is a uniquely American danger?

Invade the world, invite the world is just poor policy.

Anonymous said...

Testing 99 says

“Regarding Iraq, latest AP reports say Iran has taken from Bushehr enough uranium to create 10 gun-type bombs.”

Bushehr is in Iran not Iraq.

Do you mean the yellow cake uranium in Tuwaitha Iraq under IAEA seal and control, that is until the US invaded Iraq and then the place was so unguarded that local Iraqis looted the place. There were several news reports showing how the few US guards at the gate had no control over the place. Yet supposedly we invaded Iraq to secure WMD’s yet the only building the US made sure was not looted was those which involved oil.

Plus of course the only reason why violence is down in Iraq is that the US government is now paying the Sunnis who were killing Americans. So how does it feel that your great victory is nothing but tribute to those who were attacking American soldiers. How long do we have to pay for this “victory” and what happens when the Iraqis stop taking our money?

Testing 99 your reporting is getting even worse, I thought your claims of a great victory by Georgia since they managed to shoot down 4 Russian planes was bad but this is even worse.

DJ

anony-mouse said...

My favorite indirect memory of Odom was his appearance in Walt And Mearshemer's 'Israel Lobby'

W&M identify Odom as someone who's opinions were blocked by the Israel Lobby.

W&M identified the Hudson Institute as part of the Israel Lobby.

Odom was part of the Hudson Institute.

Michael T said...

Testing is as willing to speak desperation to cynicism as Odom was truth to power.

Black Sea said...

Odom's Senate testimony was remarkable. A sample:

Their break with al Qaeda should give us little comfort. The
Sunnis welcomed anyone who would help them kill Americans,
including al Qaeda. The concern we hear the president and his aides
express about a residual base left for al Qaeda if we withdraw is utter
nonsense. The Sunnis will soon destroy al Qaeda if we leave Iraq.
The Kurds do not allow them in their region, and the Shiites,
like the Iranians, detest al Qaeda. To understand why, one need only
take note of the al Qaeda public diplomacy campaign over the past
year or so on internet blogs. They implore the United States to bomb
and invade Iran and destroy this apostate Shiite regime.
As an aside, it gives me pause to learn that our vice president
and some members of the Senate are aligned with al Qaeda on
spreading the war to Iran.

Let me emphasize that our new Sunni friends insist on being
paid for their loyalty. I have heard, for example, a rough estimate that the cost in one area of about 100 square kilometers is $250,000 per day. And periodically they threaten to defect unless their fees are increased. You might want to find out the total costs for these deals forecasted for the next several years, because they are not small and
they do not promise to end. Remember, we do not own these people. We merely rent them. And they can break the lease at any moment. At the same time, this deal protects them to some degree from the government’s troops and police, hardly a sign of political
reconciliation.

The entire text is here:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/32419