02-01-2013 09:11 AM - edited 02-01-2013 09:13 AM
Like the rest of the country, the military has been "going corporate," less tolerant of mavericks and more likely to favor conformist “organization men.” So says Thomas Ricks, author of "General Failure," which takes a look at our post WW-II military history.
Earlier this week I got into a "scuffle" on this board over the Korean War, when I mentioned how MacArthur had underestimated the Chinese threat in Korea, and while Inchon might have been a master stroke, he then ignored intelligence reports of Chinese troops massing as he advanced ever-closer to China's border.
Revisionist history has invariably blamed "the politicians back home" for military failures in Korea & Vietnam. But in both those conflicts, military brass could bungle & get away with it, leaving them in charge to mis-step again further down the line. Compare that to how Lincoln churned through general-after-general until he "found" U.S. Grant in the Civil War, or how Omar Bradley had over a dozen field commanders sacked in the months after the Normandy Invasion in World War II. Replacing military commanders used to be the norm during war time: since the 1950's, generals being replaced have become major news stories.
Closer to our time, he calls out Tommy Franks for botching the chance to catch Osama Bin Laden at Tora Bora, yet he hung around for several more years:
"The CIA officer in charge at Tora Bora was certain he had bin Laden cornered, though his team remained outnumbered on the ground. He repeatedly requested a battalion of Army rangers to help press the attack and seal the escape routes into Pakistan. But Franks declined the requests, citing several reasons, among them his desire not to inject more troops, the time it would take to send them, and his sense that the intelligence on bin Laden’s location was less reliable than the CIA believed...Franks seemed inattentive, almost as if the battle were someone else’s problem. The Centcom commander did not see bin Laden’s capture as crucial to his campaign, or as a goal for which he should risk casualties and a messy fight. He was content to provide air power, which dropped 700,000 pounds of bombs in the area of Tora Bora over a few days in December 2001."
Consider how different our current Afghan entangelment would be had we caught OBL back then, mere months after 9-11? There is an annoying level of jingoism going on today that treats any criticism of the military or of taking a closer look at pork-laden military budgets as being un-American & un-patriotic. Such brainless bullshit is not merely mindless and simplistic, it threatens our national security. Although Ted Cruz seems pretty sure that it will still play well back home...
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