Lt. General William Odom (Ret.), former Director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, shocked the crowd yesterday when he called for unilateral withdrawal from Iraq. Odom was speaking at Innovative Solutions for Iraq, the inaugural event for the Independent Institute‘s Washington office (I am director of research for the Independent Institute). Odom was then seconded by Lawrence Korb, former Vice President and Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and also Assistant Secretary of Defense under Reagan.
Withdrawal may seem like a radical suggestion, but this time around the push for withdrawal isn’t coming from radicals but from seasoned, well-respected, establishment figures.
During the event Odom and others referred to Vietnam, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and the lessons we should have learned from that war. It was really stunning, therefore, when during question period a man stood up to praise Odom for speaking out in a way that no figure of his stature had done during the Vietnam war. The speaker was Daniel Ellsberg.
CSPAN will air the event in about a week.