Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

American general dies in Afghanistan; an American Lt. col. goes off the reservation

Brig. Gen. Terence Hildner died in Kabul, apparently of natural causes. He was 49 years old and commanded a logistics unit. I am pretty sure he is the only general to die in theater in the post-9/11 wars. My condolences to his family and soldiers.  Meanwhile, an Army lieutenant colonel, Daniel Davis, who served in ...

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AP

Brig. Gen. Terence Hildner died in Kabul, apparently of natural causes. He was 49 years old and commanded a logistics unit.

I am pretty sure he is the only general to die in theater in the post-9/11 wars. My condolences to his family and soldiers. 

Meanwhile, an Army lieutenant colonel, Daniel Davis, who served in Afghanistan, says in an article that the war isn't working and that our military leaders are not telling the truth about the war. I don't feel equipped to judge his piece. One reason I don't write much about the Afghan war, and instead invite guest commentaries, is I don't understand the war there. On the one hand it looks like it is going badly. On the other, in my experience, if you aren't moving around the war constantly observing it (and not just seeing it in one place), then you probably are at least six months out of date.

Brig. Gen. Terence Hildner died in Kabul, apparently of natural causes. He was 49 years old and commanded a logistics unit.

I am pretty sure he is the only general to die in theater in the post-9/11 wars. My condolences to his family and soldiers. 

Meanwhile, an Army lieutenant colonel, Daniel Davis, who served in Afghanistan, says in an article that the war isn’t working and that our military leaders are not telling the truth about the war. I don’t feel equipped to judge his piece. One reason I don’t write much about the Afghan war, and instead invite guest commentaries, is I don’t understand the war there. On the one hand it looks like it is going badly. On the other, in my experience, if you aren’t moving around the war constantly observing it (and not just seeing it in one place), then you probably are at least six months out of date.

That said, friends of mine point out that the article is longer on charges than on specifics. Also, despite the breathless tone of the New York Times article about Davis, one friend points out that the officer is hardly a newcomer to dissent, having written opinion columns frequently for the Washington Times.  Here is another piece he wrote on Afghanistan.

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. Twitter: @tomricks1

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