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The Atlantic: "General Failure"

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member


    Tremendously argued piece this month in The Atlantic by Thomas E. Ricks, excerpted from his forthcoming book, on the incompetence of Army leadership since World War II. The subhead, to give you some flavor: "Looking back on the troubled wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many observers are content to lay blame on the Bush administration. But inept leadership by American generals was also responsible for the failure of those wars. A culture of mediocrity has taken hold within the Army's leadership rank - if it is not uprooted, the country's next war is unlikely to unfold any better than the last two."

    A couple quick snatches:

    * Relief of generals has become so rare that a private who loses his rifle is now punished more than a general who loses his part of the war.

    * Ironically, our generals have grown worse as they have been lionized more and more by a society now reflexively deferential to the military.

    Ricks calls "tired" the line - here attributed to Ricardo Sanchez, who he basically blasts as an utter incompetent - that military leaders can't stand working with the civilians in Washington, because "at least in war I know who my enemies are."

    It's nice to see a journalist with the courage to push back against current American (and SportsJournalists.com) dogma - that military leaders can do little wrong and it's the politicians and bureaucrats screwing everything up.

    Well worth the read.
  2. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Did not read yet but is there any mention of "rules of engagement" which has caused great resentment within the military.
  3. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Boom, no. It doesn't get quite that granular at the battle field level. More about wider tactics and strategies - like mistakes in positioning troops around Iraq to deal with the insurgency. A lot about the poor incentives in place - no rewards and no punishments for generals, who take the path of least resistance in response, i.e the middle of the road.

    A lot of praise for the rank-and-file soliders, though.
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