A Failure of Generalship
An article in the Armed Forces Journal by Lt. Col. Paul Yingling entitled “A failure in generalship” is apparently making quite a stir in military and national security circles. Yingling is deputy commander of the 3rd Armoured Calvary Regiment and is a veteran of the present Iraq conflict, Bosnia and Desert Storm. He does not mince words:
For the second time in a generation, the United States faces the prospect of defeat at the hands of an insurgency. In April 1975, the U.S. fled the Republic of Vietnam, abandoning our allies to their fate at the hands of North Vietnamese communists. In 2007, Iraq’s grave and deteriorating condition offers diminishing hope for an American victory and portends risk of an even wider and more destructive regional war.
These debacles are not attributable to individual failures, but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America’s general officer corps. America’s generals have failed to prepare our armed forces for war and advise civilian authorities on the application of force to achieve the aims of policy. The argument that follows consists of three elements. First, generals have a responsibility to society to provide policymakers with a correct estimate of strategic probabilities. Second, America’s generals in Vietnam and Iraq failed to perform this responsibility. Third, remedying the crisis in American generalship requires the intervention of Congress.
Worth reading (HT: Fred Kaplan)