updated 11/6/2002 8:36:36 AM ET 2002-11-06T13:36:36

On Nov. 13, Chris Matthews examined military issues in preparing for the war against Iraq. He traveled to the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado to play Hardball with a panel of experts, in the 8th leg of the College Tour.

General Wayne Downing, Ret. US Army, Former Deputy National Security Advisor, General Buster Glosson, Ret. Air Force, and Norah O’Donnell, NBC News Pentagon Correspondent joined us for last Wednesday’s show.


As commander of a Joint Special Operations Task Force assigned to U.S. Central Command during Desert Storm, Gen. Downing planned and led operations in support of the coalition war effort. He is a highly decorated combat veteran with two combat tours in Vietnam and service in both Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm.

Recently, he was picked to head up the new White House Office for Combating Terrorism, a new arm of the National Security Council.

With almost 34 years of active military experience, Downing is recognized as a top authority on combating terrorism. Downing also served on a 10-person, high-profile commission, led by former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Counter-Terrorism L. Paul Bremer, which last year called on the U.S. government to prepare more aggressively against a future terrorist attack that may employ biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological materials.

Downing previously commanded the U.S. Special Operations Command and the Army 75th Ranger Regiment.


Lieutenant General Buster C. Glosson is deputy chief of staff for plans and operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. He is responsible to the secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff for the planning, operations, requirements and force structure necessary to support the warfighter with air and space power.

Glosson had risen through the ranks as a fighter pilot to become a one-star general. He was a true believer that air power could save the lives of thousands of soldiers. He told Gulf War commander Norman Schwarzkopf that air power would have so reduced the Iraqis that any scheme for the ground attack would work.

The general entered the Air Force in 1965 as a distinguished graduate of the University of North Carolina State Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He flew combat missions as a flight commander in both North and South Vietnam.


Image: Norah O'Donnell
MSNBC’s Pentagon correspondent also joins us for the tour. O’Donnell has covered a number of major breaking news stories for both NBC and MSNBC, including most recently the September 11 terrorist attacks. She has traveled extensively with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and reported on the war in Afghanistan and the war on terrorism.

How do the generals feel about attacking Iraq? What are the potential military issues? Chris Matthews takes the College tour to United States Air Force Academy, on Nov. 13 to find out.

“Hardball” will be broadcast live at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on Nov. 13 from Colorado Springs.


United States Air Force Academy: Official site

Take a virtual tour of the academy

Student Editorial: Cadet First Class Mark Jacobsen, who is undergoing pilot training, shares an essay he wrote a year ago in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

Norah O’Donnell’s bio

To get news on the Hardball College tour delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to The Hardball Briefing. Click here to subscribe.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive


Discussion comments