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Jim Webb, the junior senator from Virginia, who defeated the incumbent Republican George Allen in 2006, is or has been: a best-selling author; a screenwriter (Rules of Engagement, and another in the works); an Emmy-winning documentary producer; the author of a large number of articles and book reviews; an Annapolis graduate; a boxer (he lost a legendary and controversial championship match at Annapolis against Oliver North ); an autodidact who grew up a military man's son and indifferent student but on his own became a passionate reader of history; a first lieutenant and Marine rifle platoon commander with Delta Company in Vietnam, where he won the Navy Cross for heroism (the second-highest award in the Navy and the Marines), the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and two Purple Hearts; a graduate of Georgetown Law School who then worked on the staff of the House Veterans Affairs Committee; a teacher of English literature at the Naval Academy; and an assistant secretary of defense and then secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration. Webb resigned from that position after losing a long battle to block a reduction in the size of the Navy at a time when the Pentagon was under orders to cut its budget. In The Reagan Diaries, the former president wrote, "I don't think Navy was sorry to see him go.
Webb was a warrior-intellectual, interested, he writes in A Time to Fight, in "all the aspects of war"--as a defense analyst "consumed by the notions of military strategy" and "as a novelist and journalist covering the military and writing about wars and their societal impact." After he was forced by serious injuries to leave Vietnam, he continued what he calls his "self-induced professional education," concerning himself with the longer-term consequences of wars, as well as how to prevent them. "I began to think harder, in a different way, and I began to write," Webb says in his new book. "The former boxer and infantry officer had learned how to fight with his brain."
Re Migeru's diary about What can be expected of Europe in Iraq, I will be paying very close attention to anything Webb might have to say about where we go and what we do in Iraq. His coverage of the Marines in Beirut in 1983 as a PBS journalist won an Emmy.
We all bleed the same color.
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