A failure in generalship

You have to admire the courage of Lt. Col Paul Yingling, deputy commander of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment.  His article, A failure in generalship, published in the Armed Forces Journal, is an insider’s critique of the competence and character of the entire general officer corps. 

"America’s generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy."

The most interesting and damning aspect of this article is Yingling’s assessment of the moral courage of the generals.

"While the physical courage of America’s generals is not in doubt, there is less certainty regarding their moral courage. In almost surreal language, professional military men blame their recent lack of candor on the intimidating management style of their civilian masters. Now that the public is immediately concerned with the crisis in Iraq, some of our generals are finding their voices. They may have waited too long."

As a civilian looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I do have to wonder.  Did the generals not advise the President and the Secretary of Defense that more troops were needed?  Did none of them speak out about the need for more planning for post-Saddam Iraq?  Did any of them resign on principle, or even threaten to?  Or did they note what happened to Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki and decide to keep silent? 

A lack of competence, or a lack of character?  Either way, the picture is not pretty. 

One can only hope that Lt. Col. Yingling’s article and his example inspire improvements in the next crop of generals.

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