Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

On the passing of Adm. David Jeremiah

When I was a kid, I once asked my grandfather if he looked to the obituaries first every day to see which of his friends has died. “No,” he said, “it is to see which of my friends’ children has died.” A sad thought. I remembered it when I saw the obit notice for Adm. ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

When I was a kid, I once asked my grandfather if he looked to the obituaries first every day to see which of his friends has died. "No," he said, "it is to see which of my friends' children has died."

A sad thought. I remembered it when I saw the obit notice for Adm. David Jeremiah, the second vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who struck me as a decent sort of man. He answered reporters' questions thoughtfully and fairly candidly, which is all you can ask for.

Looking over the list of VCJCS, it struck me that it has not been a happy post. Some were decent men in a difficult job. Others were just over their heads. A few ascended to the top job, which they could not handle. And one appears to be under investigation for maybe leaking to a reporter about that bad Stuxnet.

When I was a kid, I once asked my grandfather if he looked to the obituaries first every day to see which of his friends has died. “No,” he said, “it is to see which of my friends’ children has died.”

A sad thought. I remembered it when I saw the obit notice for Adm. David Jeremiah, the second vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who struck me as a decent sort of man. He answered reporters’ questions thoughtfully and fairly candidly, which is all you can ask for.

Looking over the list of VCJCS, it struck me that it has not been a happy post. Some were decent men in a difficult job. Others were just over their heads. A few ascended to the top job, which they could not handle. And one appears to be under investigation for maybe leaking to a reporter about that bad Stuxnet.

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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