Monday, November 21, 2011

Andy Martin on the William Colby controversy

My comments on Bill Colby are really not political but they may be of some interest in assessing how I view foreign policy and military engagements. Rather than have someone “discover” my remarks I felt it was better to simply release them myself.




[Andy’s comments on]

Let me start by saying what these comments are not about.

I am not a film reviewer, so I am not reviewing the Colby film.

I do not know anything about Bill Colby’s family life. I have met one of Colby’s sons but only very casually and do not know him. Finally, I have no desire to exacerbate the pain of the Colby family.

I knew Bill Colby in Viet-Nam. Operation Phoenix was very controversial because when you kill large numbers of people, mistakes will inevitably be made. Bill Colby was an immensely moral man.

I was deep in the background during the Church Committee hearings and saw Colby from another angle.

Bill Colby did what he did in 1975 because of a deep loyalty and love for the CIA and for the clandestine community generally.

One of our most common human failings is our propensity to look backwards in time, and then filter the past through our current values and experiences.

Bill was a “company man” in the finest sense of the word. He loved the United States and he put his life on the line for the nation. Men of the World War II generation, who carried the greatest burden of the Cold War, were special men. They lost friends. Their own lives were disrupted. And, yes, these experiences hardened them to some degree. Those of us who came of age in the next generation were not immune to the hardening of senseless deaths, but we chose to deal with our feelings differently. That’s why you can’t look at the past through a prism calibrated in the present.

Bill Colby was and remains an authentic American hero. That’s the bottom line and that’s the only line. Whether he killed himself or died in an accident is irrelevant. He gave his life for his country.

Andy Martin

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