Tom Ricks (SHS 1973)


Tom Ricks couldn’t be with us this morning. He’s just back from Iraq. He promised me that he would visit Scarsdale in the spring. I can’t wait to meet him. He has a delicious sense of humor. Our first exchange is a case in point. My e-mail first. “Tom, you have been nominated and then elected as one of this year’s Distinguished Alumni of Scarsdale High School. As a former teacher and student at SHS I couldn’t be more delighted.” This is what came back ten seconds later, “This is great. Maybe I can petition to get my GPA retroactively raised!”

Much of Ricks is not funny at all. In 2000, his evaluation of the state of the American army as part of a Wall Street Journal team earned the Pulitzer Prize.” Two years later, now working with the Washington Post, he won his second Pulitzer Prize, this one for his reporting on the U.S. counteroffensive against terrorism. Ricks most profound criticism of America’s misadventures in Iraq can be found in his 2006 book, Fiasco. It contains some of the sharpest writing ever written about an American president. Here are two examples, “President George Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003 ultimately may come to be seen as one of the most profligate actions in the history of American foreign policy.” And, the invasion of Iraq “was based perhaps on the worst war plan in American history.”

Ricks has also written about U.S. military involvement in Somalia, Haiti, Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo Macedonia, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. He wrote a novel, A Soldier’s Duty, set in the latter country, which was published four months before American intervention.

Now as Senior pentagon correspondent for the Washington Post, Ricks continues to cover America’s misadventures in Iraq. We pray for his good health.