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Challenging the Generals
The New York Times ^ | 26 August 2007 | Fred Kaplan

Posted on 08/26/2007 10:21:51 AM PDT by rahbert

On Aug. 1, Gen. Richard Cody, the United States Army’s vice chief of staff, flew to the sprawling base at Fort Knox, Ky., to talk with the officers enrolled in the Captains Career Course. These are the Army’s elite junior officers. Of the 127 captains taking the five-week course, 119 had served one or two tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, mainly as lieutenants. Nearly all would soon be going back as company commanders. A captain named Matt Wignall, who recently spent 16 months in Iraq with a Stryker brigade combat team, asked Cody, the Army’s second-highest-ranking general, what he thought of a recent article by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling titled “A Failure in Generalship.” The article, a scathing indictment that circulated far and wide, including in Iraq, accused the Army’s generals of lacking “professional character,” “creative intelligence” and “moral courage.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; genx; iraq
Is this different than any other past war we have fought?
1 posted on 08/26/2007 10:21:52 AM PDT by rahbert
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To: rahbert

The author, Fred Kaplan, is trying to sell his book:

http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470121181.html


2 posted on 08/26/2007 10:27:51 AM PDT by LibFreeOrDie (L'Chaim!)
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To: LibFreeOrDie
WOW, he is an ultimate left wing lunatic.
3 posted on 08/26/2007 10:43:23 AM PDT by jveritas (God bless our brave troops and President Bush)
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To: holdonnow; sono; rodguy911; Bahbah; Just Lori; HonestConservative; eeevil conservative; ...

Sheesh ping


4 posted on 08/26/2007 10:44:51 AM PDT by AliVeritas (Today's stolen graphics courtesy of: http://arewelumberjacks.blogspot.com/)
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To: AliVeritas

I imagine that these days firing generals like Marshall did would be impossible, like trying to get rid of tenured professors. Also, captains leave partly because they are in great demand in the private sector where they can make a ton of money.


5 posted on 08/26/2007 11:16:45 AM PDT by ClaireSolt (Have you have gotten mixed up in a mish-masher?)
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To: rahbert

I didn’t know that Officer Advanced Courses were down to 5 weeks. I can remember when they were 6 months.


6 posted on 08/26/2007 11:42:20 AM PDT by Ceebass
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To: rahbert

The Captain is right. If more senior generals had spoken up against Rumsfeld’s belief that fewer than necessary troops were needed, perhaps we would have gone in with sufficient forces.

The “surge” is proof we did not have sufficient forces in Iraq.


7 posted on 08/26/2007 11:45:00 AM PDT by dominic flandry
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To: rahbert

***Is this different than any other past war we have fought?***

It’s no different than anybody’s past war. It’s the nature of war.

And the surge is working.


8 posted on 08/26/2007 11:50:25 AM PDT by kitkat (I refuse to let the DUers chase me off FR.)
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To: dominic flandry
Rumsfeld never planned for a long term US presence in Iraq.
Rumsfeld had no intention of being in Iraq THIS long.
He had enough troops to do what he wanted done.

As it turns out, what he didn’t want to happen happened.

Gen. Praeteus is now talking in terms of a 9-10 year US presence...exactly what Rumsfeld didn’t want nor accounted for.

Had we done it right, we probably should have followed the Powell doctrine.

9 posted on 08/26/2007 12:29:36 PM PDT by stylin19a (Go Bears !)
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To: rahbert
McMaster’s own fate has reinforced these apprehensions. President Bush has singled out McMaster’s campaign at Tal Afar as a model of successful strategy. Gen. David Petraeus, now commander of United States forces in Iraq, frequently consults with McMaster in planning his broader counterinsurgency campaign. Yet the Army’s promotion board — the panel of generals that selects which few dozen colonels advance to the rank of brigadier general — has passed over McMaster two years in a row.

IMHO, this is not a good omen.

10 posted on 08/26/2007 1:23:43 PM PDT by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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To: neverdem

It certainly doesn’t make much sense. H.R. McMaster was a hero of both wars in Iraq, with renowned victories at 73 Easting in 1991 and Tal Afar more recently. He was also selected to teach at West Point, which is usually considered a good sign for one’s career. Petraeus thought enough of him to rely on him in Iraq, but I guess the Army doesn’t think enough of him to give him a star.

General Cody himself has a pretty interesting history. He commanded TF Normandy, the task force of Apaches that eliminated two Iraqi radar sites to pave the way for the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, and in so doing, fired some of the first shots of the campaign.


11 posted on 08/26/2007 2:09:47 PM PDT by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: Ceebass

OAC’s not very long, but CGSC (now called ILE) is longer than heck.


12 posted on 08/26/2007 2:37:00 PM PDT by struwwelpeter
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To: The Pack Knight; neverdem; CatoRenasci
H.R. McMaster was a hero of both wars in Iraq, with renowned victories at 73 Easting in 1991 and Tal Afar more recently.

Sounds like professional jealousy at work -- think back to when McMaster's 73 Easting tactics/engagement were being discussed on the various Discovery Channel programs on GW1. McMaster was then a Lieutenant Colonel (late 90s) and the guys on his board now were then full birds and above who hated to see him get all that publicity for what they regarded as just a stroke of dumb luck. Never mind that his "dumb luck" was being played on every sand table professional armor school you care to name in the Free World...

And thus it has ever been WRT military promotion, especially to flag rank. I believe the President can intervene, however. I am open to comment/clarification on that.

13 posted on 08/26/2007 2:54:08 PM PDT by T-Bird45 (It feels like the seventies, and it shouldn't.)
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To: T-Bird45
The FReeper Foxhole Revisits The Battle of 73 EASTING - 1991
14 posted on 08/26/2007 3:15:36 PM PDT by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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To: rahbert

I was wondering how long it would take the Left to drop their bogus “we support the troops” facade, and get back to good old-fashioned “militarism” bashing. Now I know; although there have certainly been enough hit pieces demanding General Officer accountability for Abu Ghraib, Haditha, Pat Tillman, etc., those were not necessarily blanket condemnations of the military’s senior leadership. This marks a new level of brazenness for the NYT, et al. It wouldn’t surprise me to see outright attacks on anyone “low” enough to join an all-volunteer military.


15 posted on 08/26/2007 3:44:24 PM PDT by pawdoggie
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To: neverdem

First of all, we do not know if McMaster has other problems. He could be a womanizer. He could have some black mark in his records no one wants to make public, but that would preclude promotion.

More importantly, Yingling is a Democrat shill groomed to rise in the Army and provide them cover for whatever bizarre positions they want.


16 posted on 08/26/2007 4:34:24 PM PDT by Owen
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To: Owen

And you know what . . . there is within the article here a manifestation of preference and empathy on the part of the writer. He does not look at who he is praising and ask . . . why are these men not leading their troops with 100% of their energies, rather than writing articles?

There is nothing wrong with writing scholarly articles as an officer. The problem here is the reporter is looking around only for those who do — presuming that they are the cream of the crop. They are not. The military is NOT a place where the most effective doer of extreme violence to the enemy is the man who writes articles and therefore should be promoted.

The military of the US exists to crushingly destroy the enemy. Not to make friends. Not to make people the world over like and respect them. The purpose is to smash. To induce horror at the thought of them on the battlefield. Officers who can do that might not be those who write articles and appeal to the sensibilities of reporters.


17 posted on 08/26/2007 4:45:57 PM PDT by Owen
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To: rahbert

these criticisms arre really directed at President Bush and VP Cheney. The army needs to rid itself of a bunch of malcontent officers.


18 posted on 08/26/2007 4:54:41 PM PDT by balch3
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To: Owen
First of all, we do not know if McMaster has other problems. He could be a womanizer. He could have some black mark in his records no one wants to make public, but that would preclude promotion.

He was promoted to colonel in 2003 and assigned as director, Commander's Advisory under Gen. John Abizaid, commander of the U.S. Central command in Iraq. McMaster was assigned to the command of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in May 2004. The regiment was deployed to Iraq for its second tour there last March.

That would seem to have happened rather recently.

More importantly, Yingling is a Democrat shill groomed to rise in the Army and provide them cover for whatever bizarre positions they want.

What's basis the basis for calling Yingling a Democrat shill?

19 posted on 08/26/2007 5:11:13 PM PDT by neverdem (Call talk radio. We need a Constitutional Amendment for Congressional term limits. Let's Roll!)
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To: Owen
And your proof of this would be...?

Maybe LTC Yingling doesn’t know what he is talking about after participating in the most successful tactical campaign of the insurgency....

On the other hand, just maybe in the “zero defect” “do more with less” 1990’s, we managed to promote a generation of risk averse, e-mail aficionados who think leadership is best practiced on a keyboard.

20 posted on 08/26/2007 7:12:39 PM PDT by redlegplanner
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To: rahbert

What is being described here is bureaucracy.

The problems in he military, are no different than in any other government agency or large corporation, they are just more critical.

Jack Welch, ex-CEO of General Electric, advises corporation to keep their management levels and numbers low, especially middle management.

It is the nature of large organizations to promote those who have performed well or who have been there a long time. This generates bloat, conformity, and descent in the ranks.

It is human nature.


21 posted on 08/26/2007 7:15:46 PM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done, needs to be done by the government.)
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To: stylin19a

It is possible the problem was replacing retired Gen. Garner with Paul Bremmer, a state Department choice. Garner knew how to handle that kind of situation, Bremmer was a bureaucrat with a smarmy personality and approach.


22 posted on 08/26/2007 7:21:23 PM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done, needs to be done by the government.)
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To: The Pack Knight

It is possible that promoting McMasters would promote him out of the function he is now performing, one that is extremely valuable and successful. Would a General be doing what he is doing?

He will get his when the time comes.


23 posted on 08/26/2007 7:25:22 PM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done, needs to be done by the government.)
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To: dominic flandry

Eric Shinseki spoke up and didn’t get a warm reception from Rumsfeld and Bush.


24 posted on 08/26/2007 7:40:27 PM PDT by Pelham (theTerryAndersonShow.com)
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To: stylin19a
Had we done it right, we probably should have followed the Powell doctrine.

Rumsfeld ignored the Weinberger-Powell doctrine.

25 posted on 08/26/2007 7:42:22 PM PDT by Pelham (theTerryAndersonShow.com)
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To: The Pack Knight

McMaster is also the author of a highly regarded book:

http://tinyurl.com/27apvb


26 posted on 08/26/2007 7:45:10 PM PDT by Pelham (theTerryAndersonShow.com)
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To: rahbert; qam1
Yet the scene at Fort Knox reflected a brewing conflict between the Army’s junior and senior officer corps — lieutenants and captains on one hand, generals on the other, with majors and colonels (“field-grade officers”) straddling the divide and sometimes taking sides.

It's not Junior vs Senior Officers, it is Gen X (Majors and Lt Colonels) and Gen Y (Lt's and Captains) vs Baby Boomer Colonels and Generals.

I saw it when I was in. A Colonel was giving a big OPD (Officer Professional Development) Speech on passing promotion boards. He talked the usual straight line bullshit about command positions and making sure your photo looked good ignoring the fact that the army had half as many divisions and thus command positions as it did when he was getting promoted.

I asked him: "How many boards have you been through?" and he said: "Well, up to Major was pretty much automatic--90% promotion rates in the 80's, but I got a real hard look making LTC and Col."

I responded: "Yes sir, I've been through an accession board in my last year of ROTC, 1991, to determine if I would go on Active Duty. In my first year I went through a retention board to remain on active duty. I was boarded to 1LT (unheard of previously), made it through another retention board in my 3rd year and then made it through a Captain's board where they only took the top half (1994)."

It's pretty much the same thing as the boomer program manager giving career advice to the software engineer working as a waiter--'cuz the money is better, the hours are better and they can't outsource you!

The world has changed incredibly in the past 20 years, but because there is a huge echo chamber that reflects the ideas and biases back to the senior managers and leaders (boomers), nobody at the senior level recognizes any changes....

27 posted on 08/26/2007 7:53:14 PM PDT by Cogadh na Sith
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
Jack Welch, ex-CEO of General Electric, advises corporation to keep their management levels and numbers low, especially middle management.

Yeah--a rotten philandering old fart who ran GE into the ground.

28 posted on 08/26/2007 7:54:23 PM PDT by Cogadh na Sith
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To: Cogadh na Sith; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; m18436572; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.  

29 posted on 08/26/2007 8:20:41 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: Pelham

Nor from a lot of armchair military experts around here.


30 posted on 08/26/2007 9:35:01 PM PDT by misterrob (There's no difference between a knee jerk liberal and a knee jerk conservative.)
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To: misterrob

I suspect a lot these resident experts have little exposure to the military. Certainly Limbaugh and Hannity don’t, despite their enthusiasm for the troops, and they promote the idea that all disputes can be seen through the lens of Democrat vs Republican.

So criticisms of Rumsfeld and the Administration got dismissed as being liberal or pro-Democrat posturing. Disputes inside the military or between the uniforms and their civilian bosses have a life of their own and we’d all be better served if the public had a better grasp of this.


31 posted on 08/26/2007 10:00:04 PM PDT by Pelham (End Anchor Babies now)
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To: Pelham

Shinseki was a Clinton holdover.


32 posted on 08/26/2007 10:42:41 PM PDT by balch3
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To: Pelham

quit blaming Rummy. He won overwhelming victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, when the naysayers said it couldn’t be done. If the Democrats and the MSM hadn’t given aid and comfort to the enemy, this would be over by now. Rush may not have served, but he’s a brilliant man who would be a pretty good military strategist if he had the opportunity.


33 posted on 08/26/2007 10:51:00 PM PDT by balch3
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To: rahbert
Yet Nagl has written that soldiers have been posted to this unit “on an ad hoc basis” and that few of the officers selected to train them have ever been advisers themselves.

This is nothing new. When I was in SEA I once had some duty at a Special Forces camp. Over drinks, one of the SF guys told me about an Army officer who had been assigned as advisor to the Commandant of the Thai Army War College. It turned out that the Commandant of the College was a graduate of the US Army War College, but the advisor had not attended the US Army War College.

I thought this problem might be unique to the US Army. However, long after I retired I attended a conference on US military doctrine. At lunch I sat with a retired General from the Syrian Army. He had been a division commander before retirement. He related that the Soviets had sent two advisors, for himself and his deputy. Both he and his deputy were graduates of the Frunze Academy, the Soviet Union's top military school. Neither of the two Soviet advisors had attended the Frunze.

There is apparently a tendency in all armies to treat the position of "advisor" as something almost anyone can do. No prior experience, no prior training, needed.

34 posted on 08/27/2007 8:11:57 AM PDT by JoeFromSidney (My book is out. Read excerpts at http://www.thejusticecooperative.com)
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To: rahbert

Interesting article, even given the odious nature of the newspaper.


35 posted on 08/27/2007 8:48:28 AM PDT by M1911A1
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To: Cogadh na Sith
Yeah--a rotten philandering old fart who ran GE into the ground.

I wasn't aware GE had been run into the ground. Last I heard it was still one of the most successful and admired companies around, as is Mr. Welsh. Can you give me a clue as to what you are talking about?

36 posted on 08/27/2007 8:52:46 AM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done, needs to be done by the government.)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
Last I heard it was still one of the most successful and admired companies around, as is Mr. Welsh. Can you give me a clue as to what you are talking about?

Well, he was porking Suzy Wetfinger, or whatever her name was from Harvard Business Review.... She had to resign and his wife got the largest divorce settlement in history.

He rode the boom from 1980 to 2002 while he spun off companies and cut workers. The economy was so strong a chimp could have done it....

Let me be more precise: he gave a lot of other old dopes ideas that allowed them to run a lot of companies into the ground in the 90's.

Jack Welch is no more a fantastic business man than Ted Turner--and just as dopey.

37 posted on 08/27/2007 9:21:09 AM PDT by Cogadh na Sith
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To: The Pack Knight
I think we are confusing H.R. McMaster with Douglas A. Macgregor regarding 73 Easting. McGregor wrote “Breaking the Phalanx” as a field grade officer which made him a bit of a “young Turk” in the Army. Like the officers mentioned in this article, Mcgregor was, i believe, also rewarded for his intellect and insight with a “passover” BG. Of course, there is always Ralph Peters whose outspoken articles got him a passover to Colonel.
38 posted on 08/27/2007 10:11:05 AM PDT by RedEyeJack
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To: Pelham

As I understand, that was his big research project while he was a history instructor at West Point. He left for CGSC right before my plebe year there.


39 posted on 08/27/2007 10:13:12 AM PDT by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: RedEyeJack

I’m quite certain H.R. McMaster was a troop commander (E 2/2 ACR) at 73 Easting. His troop initiated contact with the Tawakalna Division, and his attack was what decided the battle.


40 posted on 08/27/2007 10:18:50 AM PDT by The Pack Knight (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: The Pack Knight

All from the same cloth... look up “Fire the Generals!” by Douglas A. Macgregor. I think Macgregor was a battalion commander at 73 Easting...


41 posted on 08/27/2007 10:41:23 AM PDT by RedEyeJack
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To: balch3
quit blaming Rummy. He won overwhelming victories in Afghanistan and Iraq, when the naysayers said it couldn’t be done

His critics didn't say that the small force advocated by Rummy couldn't defeat the Iraqi army. They said a small force wouldn't be sufficient to control the rear areas as the army advanced. This is of course what happened.

If the Democrats and the MSM hadn’t given aid and comfort to the enemy, this would be over by now. Rush may not have served, but he’s a brilliant man who would be a pretty good military strategist if he had the opportunity.

You're a good example of what I was describing, the sort who only sees events in a Republican vs Democrat paradigm. It's certainly the blindered vision of Rush Limbaugh who demonstrates little familiarity with military affairs, past or present.

42 posted on 08/27/2007 9:02:26 PM PDT by Pelham (End Anchor Babies now)
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To: balch3

John Abizaid testified before Senate that Shinseki had been correct. Is he “a Clinton holdover” as well?


43 posted on 08/27/2007 9:08:13 PM PDT by Pelham (End Anchor Babies now)
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