Colonel Gritz's Dubious Mission

Congress gets an earful

"It's a good day to die," declared James Gordon ("Bo") Gritz. The date was Nov. 27, 1982, and Gritz, 44, a swashbuckling former Green Beret, was about to lead three American daredevils and 15 Laotians on an improvised commando raid across the Mekong River. Their scheme: a 14-day trek to rescue American prisoners of war in the jungles of eastern Laos. After only three days, however, the bravado of "Operation Lazarus" was abruptly buried when a band of local guerrillas ambushed the raiders, killing two Laotians, capturing an American, and forcing the others to turn tail.

Four weeks ago,...

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