Evolving Thoughts

Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! John Wilkins' continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence

Monday, May 09, 2005

Hack is dead

I have met many remarkable folk in my time, why, I can't rightly say. But one of the two most remarkable was Col. David Hackworth, AKA Hack. He died recently.

Hack was one of the most decorated American soldiers ever, yet he publicly declared Vietname an unwinnable war, after being in the field, and he worked against militarism whenever he could. I happened to meet him when I interviewed him for a student newspaper I was working for (even though I was not actually a student there. I also met Billy Connolly for five minutes, but that's another brush with greatness).

Read up on him - he's a big figure in the latter half of the 20th century, even if you never heard of him before. One of the stories he told me was that he left military service after returning from the Vietnam War, and being appointed to the staff advising LBJ. He heard that worthy man say that he wanted to nuke North Vietnam, because he didn't want to be the first American President to lose a war. Of such motives are policies made...

Plus ├ža change.

Oh, the other great man I met? Archbishop Janani Luwum of the Ugandan Anglican Church. He visited Australia in 1976, and I tagged along with a church guy I knew who was interviewing him. He was about to return to Uganda even though Idi Amin was in full rampage, and my mate asked him why he was returning. He simply said it was his duty. Despite my feelings now about organised religion, I was deeply impressed by that man. He was killed a few months later, as he knew he would be. Rumor had it Amin shot him personally.