Col. David Hackworth, "America's Most Decorated Living Soldier" according to the man himself, is back in the news. Hackworth was instrumental in Newsweek's story a year ago that Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Jeremy Boorda was wearing two medals he wasn't entitled to wear. Boorda committed suicide. Hackworth wrote in Newsweek, "It is simply unthinkable an experienced officer would wear decorations he is not entitled to, awards that others bled for. There is no greater disgrace." Now it has come out that Hackworth himself was claiming two military decorations he wasn't entitled to claim: a Ranger Tab (indicating membership in a commando-style Ranger infantry unit) and a second Distinguished Flying Cross. Hackworth has now removed these decorations from the résumé on his home page.
We can't resist noting that the first skeptical examination of Hackworth's career, his journalism, his military decorations, and his general trustworthiness occurred in Slate, last November ("Newsweek's Major Embarrassment: He's Called Col. Hackworth"). The authors were David Plotz (associate editor of Slate) and Lt. Col. Charles Krohn (U.S. Army, retired). Newsweek dropped Col. Hackworth as a contributing editor at the end of last year. The Slate article went on to win a National Magazine Award, a Pulitzer, and the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Life After Death
Last week's "Strange Bedfellow" column by Jacob Weisberg, "Such a Deal: The Romance of Rent Control," misstated the title of Jane Jacobs' famous book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. We had it as "The Life and Death ...," and, as Slate reader Dan Luscher of San Francisco points out, "The difference is meaningful."
Slate uncorks a gusher of new editorial features this week. Look for "Egghead" today, the other two beginning Wednesday, May 28. (Wednesday's edition of Slate is available on the Web around 5 p.m. Tuesday, PDT.)
"Global Primer" is a weekly briefing on issues in foreign policy and world events. It will be prepared for Slate by the staff of Oxford Analytica, a British consulting firm that specializes in analysis of global political trends.
Egghead is a reasonably lighthearted look at recent developments in scholarship and academia. Egghead will be laid monthly by the staff of Lingua Franca, the lively print magazine of academic life.
"Chatterbox" is a first for Slate: a totally "live," seven-days-a-week feature. Using the same technology we use in Slate's reader-discussion forum, "The Fray," Chatterbox will be updated whenever the fancy strikes, independent of Slate's official daily posting schedule. It will contain whatever news scooplets, insights, and reflections Deputy Editor Jack Shafer can either solicit from Slate's staff and readers or, if necessary, download from his own head. The consensus of Jack's colleagues is that reader contributions are essential. A button on the "Chatterbox" page will make this easy, so please do join in.
The Slate "Diary" for Memorial Day week will be written by Beck. The editor has no idea who or what this is. But everyone else around here seems quite excited about it. So maybe you will be too. Beck's first contribution will appear Monday evening. Happy Memorial Day.