Friday, April 14, 2006

Et tu Brute?

Major Mike

I am going to start with this simple statement…I am disgusted at the behavior of the traitorous generals, who in a time of war, are calling for the SecDef to step down. Yes I said it, traitorous.

When you take a page from our enemy’s playbook and run it for them…what would you call it? Our enemies, having learned the lessons delivered by the likes of Walter Cronkite, Jane Fonda, HHH, McGovern, et. al., are counting on fissures in the fabric of our commitment to the war, and these generals, dishonoring their previous oaths and the caliber of their service, have played trump for them.

The only way that America “loses” this war, is to walk away and leave our dead and wounded on the field. The only way this happens, is if America quits on a commitment that their elected representatives voted overwhelmingly to support. The left has been looking for validation of their wavering for the past couple of years, and these lame “military” men have just presented them with their cake. They have, in fact, begun to cut a facet, that may in the end, lay to waste all of the sacrifices made by their men and women in the field. Shame on them.

You ask…what’s up? First, you have to understand the nature of generalship. Most of those that serve, such as myself, serve for the immediate mission at hand. What is my job? What do I need to do to do a good job? And what do I need to do to be a good leader to my troops?

There are those among us, who either start with that view, and shed it over time, or there are those whose mission was never focused on such altruistic values…there are many who join who simply desire to be generals from the get go. They are pretty easy to spot. “Punching tickets” was the vernacular of the times. They stayed in jobs just long enough to make an impression, but never staying long enough to suffer the repercussions of their short-sighted and self-serving decisions. That was left to dufusses like me, who happily engaged the troops and junior officers at every opportunity, and who became leaders of Marines. Not generals.

I shared a tent in Aviano, Italy with three other Majors. I was the Aircraft Maintenance Officer. Ninety-five per cent of the enlisted Marines and ten officers worked for me. The other three Majors led a total of ten Marines. One of those Majors is now a two-star general.

As the OpsO he could’ve supported my efforts in getting my many of my Ordnance Marines medals for their efforts in safely loading and handling of over four million pounds of ordnance in five months. He could have actually made the case for me; but he declined when the Commanding Officer offered resistance, as did the other two Majors. I, doing the right thing, vigorously, and I mean vigorously, confronted the CO and his poor leadership decision. Eventually, the other three Majors all proceeded in their careers, one now a two-star general. I am forever Major Mike.

Risk avoidance is often rewarded. Risk avoidance is a technique to move on. Risk avoidance, buys time for idiots like me to do the right thing, pierce the skyline and take the heat…thus eliminating competition…thus increasing their chances for future selection. Risk avoidance allows an officer to continue to get selected, neither “sticking out the top,” nor appearing as a bottom feeder.

Generals have egos. Huge egos. In all of the services, longevity is only gained through promotion. It is up or out. By the time one is selected for general, he/she has conquered over 90% of their classmates, often higher percentages. How can you keep ego out of it? Impossible. They command vast resources with unmatched lethality. Their power dwarfs that of CEOs. They HAVE egos…big ones.

Eventually, successful generalship requires vision, character, leadership, positive inter-personal relationships, and good followership. Good followership is the art of acquiescing to a higher authority’s decision, once you have fulfilled your moral obligation to voice any objections you have to the intermediate decision. Once a final decision is made, the good follower, and the good leader, take their direction and execute it to the best of their ability…for in the end…this is the duty of the subordinate. All military members are subordinates to their civilian leadership.

The backlash you are seeing in the press, is the carping of passed over generals, who have proven themselves to be inadequate subordinates. They found themselves on the “outs” with the direction that the current civilian leadership desires for the military. Consequently, they were not chosen to continue to with their careers. And they are BITTER.

Bitter enough to sell out the efforts of their troops in the field by executing plays out of the enemy playbook. Each has had their opportunity to voice their objections to the tactical and strategic issues at hand, so why are the complaining in public? Self before country. Self before the sacrifice of your troops. Self before doing the right thing. Their egos are showing through their thinly veiled “concerns.”

The actions of these generals are reprehensible, and I hope they come to realize the nature of their betrayal. I fear they won’t, for even one of our greatest generals, Douglas MacArthur, failed to yield to the desires of the civilian leadership, and failed to recognize the gravity of the actions that ultimately caused his relief.

His five-star ego was too big for him to act as a good subordinate. I fear there are some additional star-wearing egos that are manifesting themselves as the inadequate subordinates they appear to be. Your fifteen minutes is up. Quit betraying your oath and your troops...Brute.

OBTW… All of the awards that were written for my Marines were awarded. They deserved them, and I probably got what I deserved...such is the nature of the game.


Kerry said...

From the film A Man for All Seasons:
Richard Rich has just perjured himself. More says, "I am a dead man". As Richard leaves the court floor More says,"That's a badge of office you're wearing. What is it?" A judge says, "Sir Richard is appointed Attorney General for Wales". More replies, "Wales. Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for Wales, Richard...for Wales".

Major Mike said...

Kerry, thanks for being a loyal reader. I am not made of the same stuff that could casue these men, these generals, and these supposed leaders of men, to so easily let there egos undo the many fine things that they surely have previously accomplished. I will never understand such things in men, for in the end your name will be your legacy, and to so easily let your name be sold for the sake of your ego is beyond comprehension.

Although I shared many of the same hardships of these men, endured the many and varied sacrifices required of military service, and shared the title of Marine with a few...I, in truth have nothing in common with them. I feel only the churning of the bile in my stomach. Their actions sicken me beyond fair description. Our servicemen and women deserve so much better.

Thanks for your superb addition to my rant. MM

dueler88 said...

as a high school senior, i spent many hours contemplating becoming a marine corps officer. as with many of my classmates, the rigors of my chosen college major precluded me from doing anything but working toward that professional degree.

so, why a marine corps officer when both my father and grandfather were u.s. army officers?

the full-color glossy brochures I got from Quantico described how a marine officer's focus was on service, leadership and loyalty. unlike the other services, marine corps officers co-existed with the men under their command in nearly every situation. shared hardships often produce nearly unbreakable bonds of fellowship and loyalty. so i find it a little surprising, mike, that some of your fellow officers chose politics over being an effective leader of men.

then again, i understand that politics is an unfortunate reality in the military, just as in the business world. imo, how much you choose to engage in determines the strength of your character. the less, the better.

so you see what i'm getting at - always keeping your eye on the best political result rarely results in deep and stellar character.

Major Mike said... are exactly right...unfortunately many, many, generals fail to corral their egos in favor of what is good for their service or their troops. Their motives are often very thinly veiled, and would be obvious to all, especially to such as an astute preson as Rumsfeld...consequently, they would find no room under the tent...for them and their egos. No doubt they were invited to retire. Good riddance, for it appears their oath of office came in a distant second behind their egos. Thanks for the support. MM