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Spencer Ackerman on Senator Jim Webb

Ackerman likes him:

Attackerman - Commentary of Spencer Ackerman » Over There: This is for my friends who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. For their buddies and their soldiers and Marines who’ve been wounded and died. For the mental and physical health of the survivors. For those that hate the wars and those proud of the wars and those who feel all of that at the same time. For the promise that happiness can follow this experience, and so can greatness, and so can a mundane life of quiet. For the idea that your life is yours and it is not to be toyed with. For the many more I’ll never meet. For the Fobbits too, dammit. Thank you.

What follows is an excerpt from Jim Webb’s 1991 novel Something To Die For. In it, Col. Bill Fogarty, commander of a Marine Expeditionary Unit ordered to relieve a French battalion pincered between a Cuban armor division and a Soviet warship in an Eritrean port city, reflects on his impending mission.

He started a letter to his mother, and then began to worry. She had been ill, and in the passel of letters he had received upon returning to the Saipan was one from his sister, hinting that his mother might be dying. Any mention of combat might kill her. So he threw it away, vowing he would write her a long note when they pulled him and his marines back out of Edd. He wrote a short note to his wife Linda, again not mentioning what was about to happen, but instead writing of the islands he had seen and of the heat, and lamenting rather moonfully that he probably would not be in California in time for Thanksgiving or Christmas again this year. He ended lamely, almost admitting his dread by asking her to please tell the kids how proud he was of them, and how much he loved them.

He even started one to the President, an angry note that ended, “Just remember I died in a place called Edd.” But it seemed melodramatic and tasteless, so he threw it into the trash bin also. And then he was ready.

I am not so sure. I remember Webb as the Reagan Administration Navy Secretary who was too effective at fighting for an increased share of the Pentagon budget for the navy during the Cold War. Ronnie didn't seem to understand that the Soviet Union was a land power, and Webb appears to have put his service first. Not a new thing in the Pentagon, but still...

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