William Odom, RIP

Eric Garris, June 01, 2008

The sad news just reached us that retired General William E. Odom has died of an apparent heart attack. He was 75.

Odom served as director of the National Security Agency during Ronald Reagan’s second term. He had a reputation as a military hard-liner who opposed any compromise with the Soviet Union. Earlier in his career, as an Army officer in Vietnam, Gen. Odom had privately come to oppose U.S. involvement in foreign wars that brought, in his view, little benefit to the United States. He drew parallels between Vietnam and Iraq and believed that the only sensible path for the United States was a complete and immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

When the Bush Administration prepared for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Gen. Odom warned that military action in Iraq would be foolhardy and futile.

Odom was later known for his view that the US could withdraw from Iraq quickly and safely. He became a fixture on news programs and never altered his critical stance toward the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq and Iran.

Antiwar.com ran Odom’s “What’s Wrong With Cutting and Running?” in October 2005. Odom was interviewed last year by Antiwar Radio’s Charles Goyette.

Gen. Odom’s prudent and thoughtful variety of foreign policy conservatism will be missed.


Here are some other great articles by Odom:

Stop Training Local Forces in Iraq with Lawrence Korb, 7/19/2007

‘Supporting the Troops’ Means Withdrawing Them, 7/6/2007

Exit From Iraq Should Be Through Iran, 5/29/2007

Victory Is Not an Option, 2/11/2007

Strategic Errors of Monumental Proportions, 1/26/2007

Six Brutal Truths About Iraq, 12/15/2006

The Case for Getting Out of Iraq, John McLaughlin interviews Gen. William Odom (ret.), 11/6/2006

How to Cut and Run, 10/31/2006

Cut and Run? You Bet, 5/2/2006

Iraq Through the Prism of Vietnam, 3/8/2006

What’s Wrong With Cutting and Running?, 10/3/2005




27 Responses to “William Odom, RIP”

  1. It is fitting to learn about the demise of William Odom here. We owe him much gratitude for working so hard to inform Americans about how wrong is Bush, et al on Iraq and Iran! Indeed, may General Odom rest in peace.

  2. Damn, what a tragedy. Odom always had great ideas, and with the experience and analysis that could back it up.

  3. Corr: “Celebrate” of course.

  4. I don’t believe that “Tim R.” posted the disgraceful comment. I have deleted it and the response.

  5. Another voice for peace has been lost. Sad.

  6. He was at the very top of the list who have been right abuot this war from the begining and throughout. very sad.

  7. [...] sensible foreign policy realists within the establishment, passed away from a  heart attack this weekend.  His voice3 and words will truly be missed in the foriegn policy [...]

  8. Odom was the best kind of courageous soldier – someone with the gumption to stand on his principles no matter what the political hacks in the Pentagon said or did.

    He did great service to his country since 9/11….

  9. Why delete it!?No matter how disgraceful it was,it should have been kept.Let’s judge and see who actually posted.

  10. Odom was a wimp who should have been hung for cowardice. His peacnik views were sadly out of step with a world dominated by 30,000 crazed jihadist trying to attack our freedoms every single day.

  11. Thank you, General Odom, for your service to America and to the world as a whole. We have lost a true patriot.

    Peace be with you.

  12. Im guilty! I called Tim R a “waste of space” Thought it was a fair description! considering his comments!!

  13. Rest in Peace, General Odom. You will be remembered by the forces of peace with respect and admiration.

  14. General Odom had more guts than you’ll ever have-you’re a pea brain with statements like “his peacenik views are sadly out ot step with the world”——it’s YOU-you idiot who are in the minority who want this war to go on forever-you love death and destruction, don’t you???? Thank you General Odom for standing tall and denouncing the worst foreign policy decision in our history.

  15. Anybody who thinks the world is “dominated” by “30,000 crazed jihadists” is utterly incapable of maintaining perspective — and extremely disparaging of U.S. power. These terrorists, if they exist outside the poster’s imagination, which is doubtful, hardly “dominate” a planet of billions of people. Such breathless rhetoric may have swayed weak minds in 2003, but today it’s easier for many Americans to see it for the silliness it is.

  16. In grateful memory for all you’ve done for your country and the world. Thanks.

  17. I first met Odom when he was at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs many moons ago, I recall an argument he had w/ Gen. Gazit, an Israeli, who boasted that American and Israeli interests were the same and even if they weren’t “NO PUBLIC MAN WOULD DARE CROSS (THE PRO-zIONIST] LOBBY” Odum just shook his head … but he knew

  18. I had the privilege and honor to interview General Odom recently.

    The world lacks enough men of his timber.

    While I am very sad about his death his spirit lives on. A West Point General who fought in Vietnam, stood up to the Soviet Union when it counted and opposed a war when it counted started by a coke head drunk who was guarding Birmingham at the time.

    “Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers. I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down, but it is not this day. This day we fight! For all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!”

    General Odom was a clear fighter in just fights not unjust ones.

  19. Perhaps it would be more instructive to leave his comments untouched as a study in flawed thinking and poor articulation.

  20. “Henry Kissingers”Comment was very similar to our resident wanker (Tim R),s comment that was deleted by Eric Garris,as was my response. Who is Eric Garris anyway?

  21. General William E. Odom knew that the pen is mightier than the sword. He wrote numerous articles about war that informed and touched me deeply in recent years. General Odom is a true American hero. I pray that his family will always know how much he contributed to the cause for peace over these past turbulent years. The greatest warriors hunger for peace. I salute you General Odom, and I’m not even a US citizen, I’m just an Australian person who learnt a lot of good lessons from your honest writing. Your wisdom and love travelled over countless miles and oceans.

  22. The American military has lost one of its cooler heads. RIP.

  23. Well spoken.

  24. The real Henry Kissinger, in addition to other concerned realists, publicly spoke out against the newly announced neoconservative agenda of the Bush administration following 9/11.

  25. It’s sad that good americans have died to preserve your freedom to be ignorant, and to publicize it. (Your mother and father would be very proud I’m sure).

  26. [...] Act through Congress, funded Chalabi, and started the process that ended in what the late General William E. Odom trenchantly described as the worst strategic disaster in American military history. Now the same [...]

  27. [...] Act through Congress, funded Chalabi, and started the process that ended in what the late General William E. Odom trenchantly described as the worst strategic disaster in American military history. Now the same [...]