Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Who was he? Why was he here?

Retired U.S. Navy Vice Admiral James Stockdale has died at age 81. Stockdale is best remembered as Ross Perot's 1992 running mate, but it's the reasons why Perot chose him that had already earned him an important place in U.S. history.

Stockdale was an early critic of LBJ's handling of the Viet Nam war, and the reasons for it. In statements foreshadowing our current war, Stockdale disputed the official version of events at the Gulf of Tonkin (an attack on a U.S. Navy ship was our excuse for going to war; the attack is now widely accepted to have been a lie). "I literally led the initial strike of a war I knew was under false pretenses," he later said.

Stockdale was taken prisoner and spent more than seven years at the notorious "Hanoi Hilton" POW camp, including four in solitary confinement. In a show of inner strength reminiscent of Papillon, he prevailed, and helped an underground resistance of American soldiers in the POW camp that probably saved many of their lives.

You know I'm not a militarist type of guy, but you don't have to be a right-winger to recognize the heroism and importance of Admiral Stockdale. RIP.

Read the full story at Reuters

In the lighter side of the news, Bono gets his trousers back.

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