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(The Atlantic)   Tom Ricks, you magnificent bastard, I'll read your book   ( divider line
    More: Interesting, Brigadier General Jay MacKelvie, Colonel P. D. Ginder, Infantry Division, American troops, systemic problems, Mosul, Wehrmacht, military history  
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5272 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Nov 2012 at 10:32 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

15 Comments     (+0 »)
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
2012-11-06 10:01:25 AM  
Yeah, this was a great article.
2012-11-06 10:39:27 AM  
An author actually dares to criticize career military for their military decisions? Burn the heretic!
2012-11-06 10:40:30 AM  
Subby, this one's for you
2012-11-06 10:47:33 AM  
Wonderful article. I think I might get the book as well as it sounds fascinating.
2012-11-06 10:57:46 AM  
As usual, the US military needs to be bitach-slapped in order to get its act together. We saw the same thing at the beginning of WW2, but by the end we were top-notch. Then we rested on our laurels and got biatch-slapped in Korea, and we got better. Then we got complacent again and had our asses handed to us in Vietnam. Those junior officers learned the lessons and by the first Gulf War we were at peak performance. Then once again we thought, "we have this war thing down pat" and got complacent again, so again we got poor performance in OEF/OIF. Our extreme technical advantage over our adversaries the last couple of conflicts provided some cover, but one of these days it won't be enough to make up for poor leadership and discipline.

As with everything else, competition improves performance. In peacetime there is no competition, no good way to test your doctrine or your assumptions. The way you perceive your adversary doesn't come from empirical data from the battlefield, it's relayed in a PowerPoint presentation by some think-tank. Sometimes I wonder if we end up starting wars just to keep the military on its toes, so we can learn the lessons in conflicts with relatively low stakes rather than learn the hard way during an epic clash of nations event like WW2.
2012-11-06 11:16:45 AM  
FTFA: If Afghanistan hinted at [Gen. Tommy] Franks's shortcomings, Iraq revealed them fully. Historically, thinking about war and then arriving at actionable conclusions has been the core task of generals. Yet Franks seemed to believe that thinking was something others did for generals. In his memoir, he refers to his military planners, with a whiff of good-old-boy contempt, as "the fifty-pound brains." Part of the problem was Franks's personality. He was a military version of Donald Trump, both dull and arrogant.

I agree 100% with Ricks' assessment. I met the guy when he was Brig. Gen. Franks. I'm guessing he was an excellent Brigade-level commander as a Colonel, but he'd Peter Principle'd as a one-star.

2012-11-06 11:33:06 AM  
Looks to be another decent indictment of hegemonies that will not be brought down until some horrible, devastating catastrophe affects as many as say, 9/11, er, or something
2012-11-06 12:39:15 PM  

robertus: Subby, this one's for you
[ image 480x256]

Presumably, not everyone who reads the book will become a Patton.
2012-11-06 01:07:24 PM  
Too bad this is getting buried in the greengasm. Heard him on NPR last week; interesting viewpoints with a solid historical basis. Everything the modern media machine lacks.
2012-11-06 03:11:26 PM

tl:dr ... ain't nobody got time for that
2012-11-06 03:15:12 PM  

Karma Curmudgeon: Too bad this is getting buried in the greengasm. Heard him on NPR last week; interesting viewpoints with a solid historical basis. Everything the modern media machine lacks.

Agreed. This should have been submitted/greenlit a few weeks ago, when the article came out. November 5-7 is a bad time to get a good discussion going about anything other than the election. Even more unfortunate because this is the sort of thing that has a greater and longer-range impact than the election itself.
2012-11-06 04:01:48 PM  
Ricks is a fantastic author and military scholar. Definitely picking up this book.
2012-11-06 05:07:13 PM  
He has a very active and sharp blog as well on matters political and military. Well reasoned comments with only the occasional freeper type yelling about flying saucers.
2012-11-06 07:49:53 PM  
Farking incredible article. I hope Ricks is paying you royalties, Shabash, because I just amazon'd his book as well.
2012-11-06 07:59:40 PM  
Good find, subby. I've put it on my Amazon wishlist for future gifting .
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