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© Copyright 1996-2005
by David H. Hackworth
All Rights Reserved

So what's my column

all about?

By David H. Hackworth

'Why," you might ask, 'is it important for me to read DEFENDING AMERICA and learn what's happening within our armed forces?'

First of all, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines defend America. They protect our freedom. Secondly, almost 20 cents of every tax dollar goes to defense. Because of duplication, redundancy, abuse and bureaucratic blubber, almost half of that is wasted. In 1997 dollars, that's almost $150 billion a year! Thirdly, the U.S. main-line media does not adequately cover military spending or report on military effectiveness. Most reporters wouldn't know a tank from a Range Rover or a B-52 bomber from a Valujet. Typical reporting of the military concentrates on sensational scandals such as Tailhook or the female midshipman who was handcuffed to a urinal at Annapolis and misses main events such as the $12 billion that was blown on the Navy's aborted A-12 aircraft program; $13 billion that was similarly wasted on the Army's Sgt. York air defense system, which locked on a latrine behind a bleacher filled with foreign VIPs instead of a down range missile; and the Pentagon's grave lack of readiness during Desert Storm, which could have caused thousands of U.S. casualties.

I bring over 56 years of military experience either as a fighter or a writer to this column. DEFENDING AMERICA allows me to tell the American people what's going on in the vital area of national defense, to keep a sharp eye on our fighting forces to help insure they're well-trained, well-equipped and well-led; and to make sure the troops aren't stuck again in the middle of killing fields unless the national security of the United States is at stake.

My battle cry is: No more Vietnams. No more Somalias. No more Koreas. No more fights that saw unprepared forces flung onto foreign battlefields to be chewed up like hamburger in a lion's den.

Besides watchdogging readiness, my beat includes abuse, corruption and malfeasance on the part of the top brass. I average six whistle-blower tips a week, mostly from serving warriors, and about half of these end up in hard stories: an Air Force general flying around with a girlfriend aboard a VIP jet; an admiral wearing undeserved awards; or a sergeant or captain being terrorized by prejudice or an unjust military system.

Why am I so passionate? As a 19-year-old soldier I saw hundreds of young men killed, maimed or captured because of bad captains, inept generals and uncaring politicians. I witnessed this massacre for almost three years in Korea and then for almost five years in Vietnam, where 58,000 men died, 300,000 were wounded and a generation of young Americans were destroyed, our nation nearly split asunder.

The only way to stop such tragic misadventures and to insure your defense dollars are spent wisely is for the press to keep an eye on the bastards and keep you informed, so you can sound-off and make democracy work. All the reporting in the world won't cause a lick of change unless you, the reader, get the facts and scream to Congress and the White House to stop the slaughter and waste or get a new job!

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