Posts Tagged ‘General Eric Shinseki’

I have received comments from some wishing I would write more “original” material on my own blog.  The following is a reply I wrote to a posting on a blog I follow.
The blog is:  http://carryingthegun.wordpress.com
The specific post I was replying to is:  http://carryingthegun.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/whats-with-the-super-hate-towards-gen-petraeus-that-cuny-video/
Please go to the original site to read the full context of what (the post and the video) I am responding to…
General Petraeus spent the majority of his adult life in service to his country.  For this he is to be thanked.  The protesters are louts and are fortunate they have people willing to defend this country so they can have the freedom to be so boorish and rude.  If they honestly believed the General is a war criminal and can prove it, they should be raising the issue in the courts instead of verbally assaulting him on the street.
Like the Italian student, the average civilian does not understand that to progress in today’s military requires not just a willingness to engage and destroy the enemy, but also that you continue your personal education.  Petraeus, may have sought his particular degrees for his personal growth, but he also fully understood that in today’s military, to get to the top, you must punch your ticket at every possible level, in command positions, in staff positions and in education.  Education includes branch staff colleges and “normal” university education.  Petraeus may be the exception for going to the PhD level, but he is by no means the exception for advanced degrees within the modern military.  This is all just a part of the MBA’ing of the U.S. Military.
Franks, Petraeus, Schwarzkopf, Powell and many others are politicians (within the Pentagon and Congress) as much as they are military men.  It remains to be seen whether this is good for the country (and the military) or not.
As for the UK student, being half right can also make you completely wrong.  Yes, the German high command was extremely well educated – and not just in terms of warfare.  But that is not the same as being Nazis.  Unfortunately, they (the German military – disregarding the SS) were too observant of the rule of the lawful government and then could not change their mindset when their government became unlawful.  I can still hear the castigation of General Shinseki after his cautionary testimony prior to the invasion of Iraq.  I wonder if world history might have been changed if some of the German high command had had some small amount of Shinseki’s courage.
Of course, the SS were a different kettle of fish, but then fanatics usually are.  The SS were the true “Nazis” the average person thinks of when the term is thrown about loosely.  And no, I am not forgiving the “average” German or the “average” German soldier for their acquiescence AND participation in the butchery of the period.
We are facing perilous times for our military because we now have a full generation of senior commanders who have never known hard times.  Money, honors and fame have been there for the taking for the last 20 plus years, and they have done so – during and after their careers.  They are almost precisely where the German professional military was in the late 1920′s and early 1930′s – comfortable and elite.  As I stated above, it remains to be seen whether this is good for the country or not.
As for me, I keep hearing General (then President) Eisenhower’s cautionary speech about the dangers of the military / industrial complex…  For a transcript of President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Farewell Address (1961), see:
And just in case nobody has said it to you lately:  “Thank you for your service, Lieutenant.”  (And forgive me if you are now a Captain…)
[For the record, in my reply on the original site, I inadvertently misspelled General Petraeus’ name several times and I have corrected these errors above.     —    kmab]
On This Day In:
2021 Said The Anti-Vaxxer
Ceiling Mash
2020 Is #45 In Good Spirits?
Alone With My Tears
2019 Learning To…
Day 15: Die By The Scale
2018 Just Wondering
2017 Until I Think Of Something Better
2016 Who Are You?
2015 Renaissance Reptiles
2014 Book Return
2013 Keep Writing Your Truths
Perilous Times For The U.S. Military
2012 The Victor
2011 Forging Away At My Deadlines
2010 Try This With Your Shoes…

Read Full Post »

…As every infantryman knows:  it takes more resources to hold an objective than to take it.  An assertion that it takes fewer can only come from people with no understanding of how wars are actually fought and won.
…We have a system in which military leaders serve civilian bosses, because we do not want people in uniform to run the country.  We have seen it attempted elsewhere, and it is rarely successful and never very pretty.  So American service members are inculcated with the notion of the superiority of civilian authority, and they are very uncomfortable acting contrary to that notion.  Officers have the responsibility to contribute to the plans and the decisions to execute those plans, but they are taught that, once the decision is made, they must obey — unless, of course, the order is immoral or illegal.  And this works extremely well at nearly every level of command.  Nearly, but not at every level.
…But if the Secretary of Defense wants to do something contrary to the best judgment of the general officers appointed to render advice, something so egregious that experienced military people know instinctively, if not from experience, that it is foolhardy or worse, who is left to prevent disaster?
Only those general officers.  Professional military men know how many troops are needed to perform missions, and the plans must be reviewed and certified annually.  If Tommy Franks or Dick Myers or any other officer at the top of the chain of command thought that the plan was unworthy, each had an obligation to his uniform, to the nation, and to the troops they sent to war to ensure that the plan was not executed.  And if they thought that the plan was a good one, then they were fools.  In either case, they failed this country.
Civilian control was established to prevent military domination, and the rules for following lawful orders are clear.  Who would have thought that our real danger was the civilian hijacking of the military apparatus, snatching it from officers who were either too inept or too pusillanimous to resist?
    -–    Col. Jack Jacobs (Ret.), a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (and Douglas Century)
From their book:  “If Not Now, When?
[In my opinion, history will not be kind to either the Bush / Cheney Administration or to the general officers in command leading up to the invasion of Iraq – with the notable exception of Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki.
General Shinseki testified to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that “something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers” would probably be required for postwar Iraq.  This was an estimate far higher than the figure being proposed by Secretary Rumsfeld in his invasion plan, and it was rejected in strong language by both Rumsfeld and his Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who was another chief planner of the invasion and occupation.
On November 15, 2006, in testimony before Congress, CENTCOM Commander Gen. John Abizaid said that General Shinseki had been correct that more troops were needed.  (from Wikipedia)
Unfortunately, one brave man was not enough to keep us out of a war of choice.   —   KMAB]

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: