Best Defense

Things I didn’t know, a continuing series

A list of things I didn't know or don't understand.



— I didn’t know that Gen. Lucian K. Truscott had a fling during World War II with Rep. Clare Boothe Luce.

— Speaking of Luce missiles: In July of this year, a Taiwanese patrol boat mistakenly launched a long-range hypersonic missile that traveled about 40 miles before hitting a fishing boat and killing its skipper.

— Nor did I know that Truscott’s father was a drug-addicted doctor.

— Or that Georgia declined to participate in the First Continental Congress, of 1774.

— And in 1770, George Washington paddled 250 miles down the Ohio River to claim and mark lands. Didn’t even know he was into canoeing.

— BONUS: Things I simply don’t understand:


Net neutrality.

The elasticity of time.

Why the British lost the Revolution.

The attraction of watching pro football.

Photo credit: Harris and Ewing photo studio and Arnold Genthe/Wikimedia Commons

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

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