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Posts Tagged ‘Military Leadership’

The Mask Of Command — book review
Today’s book review is for “The Mask Of Command” (1987©), written by John Keegan.  Sir John Desmond Patrick Keegan OBE (Order of the British Empire) and FRSL (Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature) was an English military historian, lecturer (at Sandhurst – the English equivalent of West Point) and writer.  Keegan is considered (in my opinion) one of the “modern” expert military historians. I understand his basic premise to be that conflict in general and war in specific is cultural and not necessarily an extension of political governance.  This is in contrast with Clausewitz who stated that war is politics by other means.  Keegan is criticized for “disagreement” with Clausewitz.
As a secondary aside, I started reading about military theory (“strategy”) back in my early 20’s when I began reading about generals (mostly Patton) and the works of B. H. Liddell Hart were recommended to me by a roommate.  I read Liddell Hart’s book: “Strategy: The Indirect Approach“, which I must say greatly influenced my life by profoundly changing my view of the world.  My hope was to learn about leadership by studying the great generals.  Instead, what I found was that leadership is not the same thing as strategy and is, instead, founded on the person and the time in history the person lives, whereas strategy tends to be principled and more timeless.
This realization pretty much ties into the basis for this book, which is a study of four “great” commanders / leaders and looks at what made three succeed and one (ultimately) fail terribly.  The three successful commanders are: Alexander the Great, Wellington, and U.S. Grant.  The failure is: Hitler.
Keegan’s proposal in this book is based on “heroic” aspects (“title”) of military leadership: heroic, anti-heroic, non-heroic, and fake heroic.  To do this, Keegan establishes the cultural climate of each commander and then tries to explain it’s (the culture’s) effect on the military leader via their proximity to combat and personal exposure to danger.  Essentially, for most of man’s history, muscle and physical courage were the requirement of military leadership.  As the age of gunpowder emerged, the risk to the commander increased and they were forced to withdrawal from danger and thus “military” leadership changed.  Alexander had to fight hand-to-hand to prove his courage while leading from the front; Wellington could stay within sight of his forces, but had to stay a minimal distance from accurate musket range; Grant could not frequently approach the front lines; and, Hitler never exposed himself to physical danger (with the exception of possible assassination) and used propaganda to convince his forces that he was a soldier battling at their side.
The book has five main chapters (one for each leader / type) and the last is about leadership in the age of nuclear weapons.  I found this the most fascinating (timely?) chapter of the book as it proposes a “new” type of post-heroic military / political leader and attempts to posit President Kennedy as this “ideal” leader.
While I found the book to be an interesting (sometimes fascinating) read, it was not an easy read.  Keegan loves his erudite words and his complicated phrasing of sentences.  The punctuation is “British” (I guess), and I found many times I had to go back and re-read a sentence or paragraph to figure out what the heck he was talking about.  Frequently, his sentences appeared to be declarative, but were, in fact, interrogatory (questions), or vice-versa, and you (“I”) couldn’t tell until you (“I”) hit the question mark or period at the end of the sentence.  Occasionally, even though I was aware of this writing style, Keegan still caught me off guard and I had to go back and try to figure out what he was on about.  Which means I knew it was happening, and anticipating it, but continued to find it distracting.
Other than this (quibble), I found the book to be quite enjoyable.  Keegan has a keen method of describing battles and you can sometimes feel yourself seeing the carnage and tasting the spent gunpowder in the air.  At less than 400 pages, it seems also to be a quick read, but I suggest not rushing head-long through it in one or two sittings as the book is widely considered to be a classic and deserves a bit of contemplation as well as enjoyment.
Final recommendation: highly recommended! This book is a classic for a reason…  The battlefield descriptions are superb and Keegan’s argument is well presented – even if not wholly convincing (to me, anyway).  Still, regardless if you are new to military history or a veteran of any military genre, I think you’ll enjoy this book.  There will, of course, be a few quotes from this book appearing on my blog in the coming weeks / months.
Two final thoughts: 1) I was not (am not) convinced President Kennedy is THE model for the post-heroic commander.  I found Keegan’s reporting on / analysis of the Cuban Missile Crisis a bit simplistic.  And, 2) even if I had read this book on first printing, I doubt it would have influenced my world-view the way Liddell Hart’s book did.  Both are classics for any military reader, just different.  Just sayin’…
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On This Day In:
2019 #ContinueToResist
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2018 More Executive Time For #DumbDonald
2017 Watched The Inauguration
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2016 Come Dance And Laugh With Me
2015 Looks Good To Me
2014 Desire For The Sea
2013 The Fierce Urgency Of NOW
Happy Inauguration Day!
2012 One Path
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The Seven Year View
2011 Emergent Practicality

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The injury we do and the one we suffer are not weighed in the same scales.
   ―  Aesop
[As an American, I would like to believe my President when he says we killed a foreign general (Iranian General Qasem Soleimani) who was in the process of ordering / organizing terrorist attacks on Americans in the middle east.  Unfortunately, my President (and his administration) is a known and shameless public liar.  He has lied so frequently and about so many things – both trivial and important – I simply cannot believe anything he says without independently verified, concrete, public proof.
While I have no evidence of it, my opinion is it is far more likely President Trump ordered the drone strike to provoke Iran into taking escalating “tit-for-tat” action which might distract the American public from the up-coming Senate impeachment trial.
While we currently have the most powerful military in the world, incompetent leadership has resulted in the loss of more than one (otherwise) superior force in world history.  I pray his (Trump’s) failure in leadership will not result in any losses (injury or lives) for our brave men and women who will have to pay the real price for his ill-considered decisions and orders.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Patient Understanding
2018 I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Form
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2016 A Faulty Model Of God
2015 Non Sequitur
2014 No Flags League
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2013 Spoiling For Fame?
2012 How Many?
2011 Too Tired To Chat Much
2010 I Must Be Crazy!!

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Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned today (20 December 2018) – effective 28 February 2019, to allow time for a replacement confirmation.   Secretary Mattis (Retired Marine Corps General) resigned due to differences with the policies of President Trump.  Below is Secretary Mattis’ resignation letter (and transcript below that).
Page 1 of Sec. Mattis Resignation Letter
Page 2 of Sec. Mattis Resignation Letter
Dear Mr. President:
I have been privileged to serve as our country’s 26th Secretary of Defense which has allowed me to serve alongside our men and women of the Department in defense of our citizens and our ideals.
I am proud of the progress that has been made over the past two years on some of the key goals articulated in our National Defense Strategy: putting the Department on a more sound budgetary footing, improving readiness and lethality in our forces, and reforming the Department’s business practices for greater performance.  Our troops continue to provide the capabilities needed to prevail in conflict and sustain strong U.S. global influence.
One core belief I have always held is that our strength as a nation is inextricably linked to the strength of our unique and comprehensive system of alliances and partnerships.  While the US remains the indispensable nation in the free world, we cannot protect our interests or serve that role effectively without maintaining strong alliances and showing respect to those allies.  Like you, I have said from the beginning that the armed forces of the United States should not be the policeman of the world.  Instead, we must use all tools of American power to provide for the common defense, including providing effective leadership to our alliances.  NATO’s 29 democracies demonstrated that strength in their commitment to fighting alongside us following the 9-11 attack on America.  The Defeat-ISIS coalition of 74 nations is further proof.
Similarly, I believe we must be resolute and unambiguous in our approach to those countries whose strategic interests are increasingly in tension with ours.  It is clear that China and Russia, for example, want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model – gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions – to promote their own interests at the expense of their neighbors, America and our allies.  That is why we must use all the tools of American power to provide for the common defense.
My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held and informed by over four decades of immersion in these issues.  We must do everything possible to advance an international order that is most conducive to our security, prosperity and values, and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances.
Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position.  The end date for my tenure is February 28, 2019, a date that should allow sufficient time for a successor to be nominated and confirmed as well as to make sure the Department’s interests are properly articulated and protected at upcoming events to include Congressional posture hearings and the NATO Defense Ministerial meeting in February.  Further, that a full transition to a new Secretary of Defense occurs well in advance of the transition of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in September in order to ensure stability within the Department.
I pledge my full effort to a smooth transition that ensures the needs and interests of the 2.15 million Service Members and 732,079 DoD civilians receive undistracted attention of the Department at all times so that they can fulfill their critical, round-the-clock mission to protect the American people.
I very much appreciate this opportunity to serve the nation and our men and women in uniform.
[Whenever a high-ranking military officer disagrees so fundamentally with the policy, course of action or directions being given by the President (Commander-In_Chief), it is their duty to resign from their position and bring their objections to the American public.  This is an “honorable” resignation.
In our nation’s history, there have been senior officers objecting to their political commander who have acted contrary to lawful policy and direction (both Democratic and Republican) and who have stayed in post and attempted to ameliorate policy / directions they objected to.  Only historians can judge whether these officers acted with honor (or not).
President Assad rules Syria and wishes us to leave so he can continue to crush his opposition and remain in power indefinitely.  Putin wants us to leave Syria to increase Russian influence in the area and to gain access to “warm-water” ports in Syria.  Iran wants us to leave Syria in order to establish an arc of influence through Iraq to Syria (and the Mediterranean).  Turkey wants us to leave in order to crush the Syrian Kurds (and along with them, the Turkish Kurds).  The Turkish Kurds assisted us in Iraq and are now doing the same in Syria.  They want us to stay.  The Syrian Kurds want our help and want us to stay.  Israel and Saudi Arabia foolishly support President Trump because they feel he will support them.  Between Israel and Russia, Trump will support Russia.  Saudi Arabia is the enemy of Iran because Iran is not Arab and because Iran believes in the Shiite version of Islam while the Saudi’s believe in the Sunni version.  Trump supports Saudi Arabia over Iran (in theory), but he doesn’t seem to realize the long term effect of increasing Iranian influence in Syria will be to the detriment of both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
As for ISIS / ISIL, they are one of the factions seeking to over-throw Assad.  They are Muslim and Assad is Ba’ath.  Assad seeks to destroy ISIL because that’s what he does to all of his enemies.
If the U.S. abandons Syria and the Kurds, we will pay for this policy failure for decades and generations ALL around the world – not just in the Middle East.
I happen to agree with President Trump, that we should get our troops out of Afghanistan and reduce our military footprint in the Middle East – not just Syria.  In Afghanistan, as soon as possible.  In Syria, only after we have secured land for the Syrian Kurds and, after that, for as long as the Kurds need our protection from Russia, Turkey and Iran – and, of course, from Assad.  Unfortunately, this may mean decades…
Israel and Saudi Arabia will pay for supporting President Trump.  Sooner or later he will turn on them, too.   After all, Trump is a snake, they know he is a snake, and to quote candidate Trump’s campaign speech:  “You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in.”
Just sayin’…  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
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2016 Something Authentic Happened
2015 Back On The Bricks
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2014 Changing Frequently
2013 Trifles
2012 Simple, Ordinary And Wonderous
2011 Humane Writers

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The most important thing a captain can do is to see the ship from the eyes of the crew.
  —  Captain D. Michael Abrashoff (Retired)
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2017 Living With Myself
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Amid questions, here’s what we’re sure of in the USS Fitzgerald collision…
“On the sea there is a tradition older even than the traditions of the country itself and wiser in its age than this new custom.  It is the tradition that with responsibility goes authority and with them both goes accountability.”
It continues: “It is cruel, this accountability of good and well-intentioned men.  But the choice is that or an end of responsibility and finally as the cruel scene has taught, an end to the confidence and trust in the men who lead, for men will not long trust leaders who feel themselves beyond accountability for what they do.”
“And when men lose confidence and trust in those who lead, order disintegrates into chaos and purposeful ships into uncontrollable derelicts.”
  —  By John Kirby
From the article:  “Accountability, Navy Style”  Thursday, 31 July 2008
Found at:   http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/17/opinions/uss-fitzgerald-this-much-we-know-kirby/index.html
Originally from: http://conservativewahoo.blogspot.com/2008/07/accountability-navy-style.html
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Ahnu – Gesundheit!
2009 As for me…
Health Care Reform Now!!

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A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops.
     —  General John J. Pershing
[I really wish the Draft avoider in the Oval Office would stop defaming the character of a General who (by all accounts) seems to have been a decent man and a good commander.  I do not have a great deal of knowledge about General Pershing because I’ve never studied him or his achievements.  I have recently taken the time to read about President Trump’s “claims” (lies) about the General and the stores of how he supposedly dealt with Islamic fighters while he was commanding in the Philippines.  Trump’s lies were debunked during the 2016 campaign (when he first made them) and they are being exposed again after Trump’s latest tweets on the topic.  Our President doesn’t do our military forces or its historic leaders any honor when he dishonors their achievements with lies in the attempt to make himself out to be a “tough-guy” or strong-man leader.  It just illustrates how small a man he really is.   SAD…   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2016 With No Allowance For Chance?
2015 Details
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2013 Non-Fungible Commodities
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Early on, I had an experience that, if you’re interested, made me aware that I ought to be a little careful about what I said or did.
We were invited down to James J. Kilpatrick’s – Jack Kilpatrick’s – home down in Virginia for the Sunday lunch.  And the helicopter took us off the lawn here and in about 35 minutes or so, we were at his farm, landed.  And in walking to the house, Jack was telling me about how they’d been there for a few days, putting in the phones.
Well, this was a surprise to me.  And I said, “Wait – phones?”  And then he told me that I could reach anyone in the world from there.  And I said, “Well, you mean just to have lunch away from the White House, they have to put … Well, I guess it’s true, they do it for whatever might happen.”
But he was telling me that he didn’t believe them when they were putting in the phones, that they could reach anyone in the world.  And they said, “Well, name someone.”  Well, he had a son who was on guard in an embassy in the military in Africa.  And they got the son on the phone, and his mother got to talk to him and so forth.  So, he had another son that was an enlisted man and a quartermaster on the USS Pratt.
And he asked, “Well, okay, what about him?”  The Pratt was in the Mediterranean.  And they had to say to him no, they couldn’t get him because the fleet was on maneuvers.  And when the fleet was on maneuvers, only the White House could reach them.
When we got inside, I met the young man’s wife, the one that was on the destroyer – very lovely young lady and hadn’t seen her husband for months.
I went back out, said to these fellows, “Is this true, that I could reach someone on the USS Pratt?”  And they said, “Oh, yes, Sir.”  And I said, “Well, get him.”  And I went back in and got her.  And she got to talk to her husband.
I hadn’t really thought the thing through very much until I got a letter from him, the young man, and he told me what it was like when the fleet was on maneuvers.  I hadn’t even thought that the last part of the call has to go by air, and that the air is full of radio traffic – ships talking to ships, admirals talking to admirals.  And then a voice on the air said, “White House calling.”   And he said, “Someone said, ‘What code is that?’ ” And someone else says to him, “maybe it is the White House.”
And he said, “Even Hollywood couldn’t have silenced the air as quickly as it was silenced.”  And so the phone call went through.  And, of course, it must have been pretty public with the whole fleet listening in.
And in his letter, he then said this line, he said, “It was as if God had called the Vatican and asked for an altar boy by name.”
…  Suddenly – believe me, it sobered me a little bit to discover that I could just say this and then all of this could happen.  And I was almost scared to death of what I might have done to the fleet maneuvers.
   —  President Ronald Reagan
In a interview with Susan Watters of “M” magazine
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On This Day In:
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2012 On Success
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Like any art, the craft of battle requires proper tools, good craftsmanship and a little inspiration.  In this case, the proper tools are good weapons, sound tactics and effective organization.  Although these differ a bit from army to army, there is little to be gained by any one, or any combinations of them against a corresponding combination in the enemy’s bag.  In other words, systems, tactics and organization are about even.
What makes the difference in battle?  It is the excellence of the craftsmanship and the combined inspiration of soldiers and leaders.  It is the excellence of the training, the quality of the leaders and the courage of the soldiers, there is no doubt.  The problem is to get that courage harnessed in usable fashion and put to work on the battlefield.  That is a problem for leaders.  May I further suggest that the day of the instant hero is gone – the time when charisma alone can be made to suffice for technical skill and excellence in battle is past.  Certainly, this is so when one considers the number of competent leaders who will be required to win in modern war.  A few may be charismatic in addition to being technically competent; many, many more will not.  Therefore, the leader problem is likewise a training problem.  Quality leadership comes from sound training of leaders.
Sergeants are leaders.  Sergeants’ business is leadership.  Therefore, the sergeants must be trained as leaders – not as administrators.  The cement that binds together good weapons, sound tactics and effective organizations into winning battle teams is training.  Training develops excellence in the skills of leaders and soldiers, to the end that they have both the capability to fight the tough battles and win, and the conviction that they can and must fight hard and well, and that, if they do, and have a little luck, they will win against all odds.
   —  General Donn A. Starry
U. S. Army
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On This Day In:
2015 However Vast The Darkness
2014 The Omnipresent Teacher
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2011 Fuzzy Vision
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West Of Honor – book review
Today’s review is for “West Of Honor” (1978©), written by Jerry Pournelle.  Pournelle is a famous Science Fiction writer who not only wrote great individual novels, he also wrote story lines which spanned several books – much like Robert Heinlein’s “Lazarus Long” story / timeline.  In Pournelle’s case, the premise is that the United States and the Soviet Union come together to form a “CoDominium” to 1) control the Earth and the exploration of space; and, 2) maintain their relative positions in the “new” age of space exploration.  The “future” is strangely both dystopian and optimistic.  Dystopian in that surplus population is forced into space (as cheap labor) and optimistic as some of the planets manage to build workable civilizations.  The faster than light Alderson stardrives used in the book / series “was” invented in 2004 and first used to go beyond the solar system in 2008.  LOL!!  So far, not even close…
The main character in the time-line is a “Napoleonic” figure named John Christian Falkenberg.  This book is the story of Falkenberg’s pacification of a planet.  The story is told as a first person narrative by one of Falkenberg’s junior officers – Hal Slater.  This really is a “good, old-fashioned” modern war story which just happens to take place on another planet.  You read about planetary politics, military (and medical) technology and all that, but in the end war comes down to men bleeding and dying.  To the extent Pournelle is able to convince you to believe the technology, you buy the SciFi.  To the extent he convinces you to believe in the battles and the drama, you buy the war story.  I “bought into” both and enjoyed the book tremendously.  Interestingly, victory does not necessarily lead to a “happy” ending.
Full disclosure: I first read this book back in the early 1980’s.  I also read a number of other books in the series, but I no longer have those.  I’m not sure how or when I lost them, but I suppose it was when we moved to Liverpool (or back).  In any case, I’m probably going to end up re-buying them and re-reading them.  Final recommendation: highly recommended!!  Particularly if you like SciFi Military Lit.
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On This Day In:
2014 Sources
2013 Three Essentials
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“To win without a fight, we must be able to win a fight.  And we must make our adversary sure of that, by keeping multiple options that give them multiple dilemmas,” he said.  “War is a series of temporary conditions, and you lose during the transition.  Something always changes, so the question is, are we prepared for the transitions?”
   —  Gen. David Perkins,
Commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command
[This quote is taken from the article: “Army’s Doctrine Chief: Expect The Unexpected“,  in the magazine Government Executive.
The magazine web site is located at:  http://www.govexec.com/
The article can be found at: http://www.govexec.com/defense/2014/09/armys-doctrine-chief-expect-unexpected/95138/?oref=govexec_today_nl  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2014 Gaps
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Thursday I completed the novel “Ender’s Game” (1985©), written by Orson Scott Card.  The novel is an expanded version of a short story Card wrote back in 1977 for a SciFi magazine.  The book is fairly well know in SciFi circles and won both the Nebula and Hugo awards for best novel.  Both awards are for best SciF novel with the Nebula being the American award and the Hugo being the international version of same.  In addition to the “normal” SciFi crowd, the book is popular in the military community and is “expected” reading in at least one branch (U.S. Marine Corps).
Basically, the book is a coming of age story for a young (pre-teen) Caesar / Napoleonic / Alexander character who, through an undiscussed eugenics process, has been bred to lead the combined Earth forces in an interplanetary war against a race of giant ants called the “Formics”.  They are more “affectionately” called “bugs” or “buggers”.  The story traces his (Andrew “Ender” Wiggin) life from just before he leaves his family, through his “growing-up” at a military academy to the end of the war.  To say much more is to give away a substantial amount of the ending.
Despite the implausibility of a story about an 11 year old being granted the authority to lead an interplanetary armada and the short span of time between “know-nothing” to force commander, the story is a pretty good one.  The story is very much “Lord of the Flies” -In-Space, but I still found the book and the twist at the end enjoyable.  In fairness to the reader coming at the book for the first time, I must admit, I saw the movie version first and enjoyed it too.  The movie (same name) was released in late 2013, and having seen the previews, it piqued my interest.  In the end, I never saw it at the theater because I thought it was going to be a “young Harry Potter saves the world from aliens” kid’s movie.  Anyway, I remembered the movie preview and when I got a chance to catch it on the tube, I took advantage of the opportunity.  I was pleasantly surprised to have enjoyed it as much as I did.  This in turn led me to be on the look-out for the book(s) – there is a whole series – which I have finally gotten into.
The movie tracks the book pretty accurately, so the book’s ending wasn’t the surprise it might have been, but I felt (as usual) the book had the time and space to explain what was happening a lot better than the movie did.  This isn’t a criticism of the movie as much as it is an acknowledgement that action movies don’t lend themselves to narration accept at the beginning and ending.  In between, it’s the action which is supposed to tell the story (normally).
I found the military tactics, personal combat, team building, working on one’s craft, and the personal/internal conflict about the morality of inflicting pain and death on an enemy to all be accurate within my (very) limited experience of each.  Fortunately, I was never placed in a position to shoot / kill someone, but I still have distinct memories of basic training and realizing there was a reason the “targets” were silhouettes of the enemy instead of simple concentric rings.  We were being trained to shoot at other humans, not at bull’s-eyes’.
I found the movie interesting and enjoyable, but also troubling.  Because the book explains more, it is more troubling.  So my final recommendation for the movie is recommended, and, for the book, highly recommended.  If it’s good enough for the Marine Corps “Recommended Reading List”, it’s good enough for me!
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On This Day In:
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When you get this letter, it will have been just a little over a year… since I started to learn the profession of killing my brothers…  And in this year of contact with the world my respect for man has dwindled instead of increasing.  For even among the best and the best are I take it those who devote them selves to the service of Mars, there is not the self sacrificing love of fame or self denying selfishness which I feel and which I had expected in others but rather a languid lassitude careless indifference or hazy uncertainty not becoming in my estimation a soldier or a man.  But let this be: the fewer of a species there are the greater is its individual worth.  And if my nature prove incapable of the task I have set myself or if the opportunity never comes I can at least die happy in my own vanity knowing that I stood alone and that alone I fell.
  —  [then] Cadet George S. Patton, Jr.
From “The Patton Papers
Written by Martin Blumenson
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To an extent greater than the officer corps, the NCO lives and breathes the Army.  The officer is obliged to mix with the civilian community, and to a degree derives his prestige from it.  The NCO does not.  The public does not distinguish between senior sergeants and junior ones; to the average civilian, “if they were any good they’d be officers.”
Senior sergeants affect a cool disdain both upwards and downwards, toward the unprofessional enlisted man on the one hand, and toward the better-paid officer on the other.  An officer is respected precisely to the degree that he allows the NCO to do his job with a minimum of interference.  Gillis: “I can always tell a good officer because he walks through that door and he asks rather than tells.  My job?  My main job is to make that troop commander look like the best troop commander in the Army.”  Beyond that, it is to see that orders are carried out.  The officer commands, the subordinates obey, and the job of the sergeant is to enforce, to see to it that subordinates obey.  Because he understands the process, the adroit NCO can make it work for him precisely as a mechanic can tune an engine.  If you are the only one who understands the machine, you are very close to being the indispensable man.
The senior NCO acts as a buffer as well: he looks after “the welfare of the men: (the phrase recurred a dozen times in interviews), and expects that when the commander wants to know what the men think, the commander will come to him to find out.  The role is somewhat Miltonic: explaining the ways of God to man, and man to God.  The NCO is successful to the degree he protects his men and serves his commanding officer.  It is a job which calls for enormous objectivity, a total dedication to the rules of the institution, and a thorough knowledge of the Book, both that which is written and that which is not.
All that is required is that he understand the system; he has that, and the knowledge that the Army is run on the wits of sergeants.
  —  Ward Just
From his book:  “Military Men
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On This Day In:
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I came, I saw, I conquered.
  —  Julius Caesar
The full text of a message sent to the Roman senate reporting his victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus at the battle of Zela.
[This “famous” and brief report emphasized the totality of Caesar’s victory and, by defeating numerically superior forces, reminded the senate of his military skills.  What I find interesting is that it is “generally” accepted that to ensure victory, an attacking force should have a 6 to 1 ratio over an enemy in a fixed defensive position.  In this battle, Pharnaces II left a fixed position of his own, to attack a force which was between one half and one quarter his own strength, and he chose to do it attacking up hill into a fortified (albeit not completed) defensive position.  While there was surprise in the initial assault, it ultimately ended in a route and decisive Roman victory.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2013 Heroes
Education, n.
2012 Who I Want To Be
2011 Mythic Forgetfulness

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Aristotle wrote: “The virtues arise in us neither by nature nor against nature, but we are by nature able to acquire them, and reach our complete perfection through habit.”  Acquiring virtues is how character develops.  Only when one develops the knowing habit of right action, does one become good.  One learns, one does, and one becomes.  Habit eventually forms the person one has educated oneself to become.
  —   Lt. Col. Peter Fromm, U.S. Army, Retired; Lt. Col. Douglas Pryer, U.S. Army; and Lt. Col. Kevin Cutright, U.S. Army
From their article: “The Myths We Soldiers Tell Ourselves (and the Harm These Myths Do)
Found at: http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/Archives/
English/MilitaryReview_20131031_art010.pdf
Originally found via one of the blogs I follow: http://carryingthegun.wordpress.com/
The specific post is: http://carryingthegun.wordpress.com/2013/10/05/
the-ethics-of-the-marine-corps-urination-case/
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On This Day In:
2012 Remember To Vote Tomorrow
2011 It Sounds Like Chaos Theory To Me

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