Best Defense

Last thought from a dying soldier

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on July 2, 2010. I was reading George Wilson’s Mud Soldiers the other day, and this exchange, at the end of a ...

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While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on July 2, 2010.

I was reading George Wilson’s Mud Soldiers the other day, and this exchange, at the end of a hard fight in Vietnam in March 1966, struck me.

Kroah heard a shout from First Lieutenant Steinberg, commander of the 4th Platoon. ‘I need some help over here!’

‘George, I can’t help you,’ Kroah shouted back. ‘I’ve been hit five times.’

I’ve been hit seven,’ Steinberg replied.

‘Always the bullshitter, huh, George?’

‘No bullshit, man.’

And it wasn’t. Steinberg died with those words."

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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