Defending America Archive
My Soldiers' Hearts,
Price of Honor,
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© Copyright 1996-2005
by David H. Hackworth
All Rights Reserved
what's my column
David H. Hackworth
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
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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