Halberstam Calls Iraq War ‘Heartbreaking’

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By: E&P Staff

Famed Vietnam War correspondent, and bestselling author, David Halberstam on Thursday called the Iraq war a “mistake” and “heartbreaking,” during a talk at St. Norbert College in Wisconsin.

“I’m a Vietnam-era journalist. I think most journalists were appalled as we moved toward war in Iraq,” he said, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “The worst mistake this administration made was not about weapons of mass destruction. It was the administration’s view that we’d be welcomed as the great liberator. I think they were watching the movie ‘Patton’ when they should have been watching ‘The Battle of Algiers’ about urban insurgency….

“The war in Iraq was more swift and more violent than I thought. It’s heartbreaking. The only one in the administration with Vietnam experience was (Secretary of State) Colin Powell and he was trying to put the brakes on.”

He added, “There’s no pleasure in coming out to a nice community like this and talking negatively about Iraq. When I wrote ‘The Best and the Brightest’ , I felt cleansed after. There’s a lot of pain seeing us caught in something like (Iraq).”

Halberstam, 71, said he wasn’t sure if he will ever write at length about Iraq. “Part of me wants younger people to write it,” he said, according to the newspaper, yet there is the challenge of figuring out “how we have gotten it so wrong and why the Democrats behaved so poorly.”

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