The sad news just reached us that retired General William E. Odom has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 75.
Odom served as director of the National Security Agency during Ronald Reagan’s second term. He had a reputation as a military hard-liner who opposed any compromise with the Soviet Union. Earlier in his career, as an Army officer in Vietnam, Gen. Odom had privately come to oppose U.S. involvement in foreign wars that brought, in his view, little benefit to the United States. He drew parallels between Vietnam and Iraq and believed that the only sensible path for the United States was a complete and immediate withdrawal from Iraq.
When the Bush Administration prepared for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Gen. Odom warned that military action in Iraq would be foolhardy and futile.
Odom was later known for his view that the US could withdraw from Iraq quickly and safely. He became a fixture on news programs and never altered his critical stance toward the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq and Iran.
Antiwar.com ran Odom’s “What’s Wrong With Cutting and Running?” in October 2005. Odom was interviewed last year by Antiwar Radio’s Charles Goyette.
Gen. Odom’s prudent and thoughtful variety of foreign policy conservatism will be missed.
Here are some other great articles by Odom:
Stop Training Local Forces in Iraq with Lawrence Korb, 7/19/2007
Exit From Iraq Should Be Through Iran, 5/29/2007
Victory Is Not an Option, 2/11/2007
Strategic Errors of Monumental Proportions, 1/26/2007
Six Brutal Truths About Iraq, 12/15/2006
The Case for Getting Out of Iraq, John McLaughlin interviews Gen. William Odom (ret.), 11/6/2006
How to Cut and Run, 10/31/2006
Cut and Run? You Bet, 5/2/2006
Iraq Through the Prism of Vietnam, 3/8/2006
What’s Wrong With Cutting and Running?, 10/3/2005