Americans accept losing wars and mediocrity at the highest levels

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The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.~ Thucydides

Weakness provokes insult and injury, while a condition to punish, often prevents them.~Thomas Jefferson

I have complained often and loudly about the caustic culture inside the US Army. It is a witch’s brew of arrogance, ridiculous regulation, and inept leadership. There are good leaders to be sure–but there is a disturbing number of bad ones, marred by a lack of basic common sense in fighting wars, and an arrogance that would shock Commodus.

My favourite essayist, Ralph Peters wrote a scathing article in the New York Post about the ethical collapse in the Army’s officer corps. There are more frightening stories than Peters talks about in his piece.

And here’s the biggest problem with all of this: These generals could not even  advocate for the proper execution of our wars for the last 10 years.  If a Soldier gets shot while on guard duty and was found to have not worn his helmet–he’ll get in more trouble than the insurgent who did the shooting, because it’s likely no effort will be made to pursue the attacker. In every other era of American war, the command’s initial response to a Soldier being shot at the front gate would be :” The enemy is able to maneuver very closely to our base–we need to find him and kill him.” Now, the command goes for the easy target–the American trooper. I assure everyone, that insurgents move and gather quite closely to American bases in Afghanistan and never have a shot fired at them in anger. Never have terrorist had it so good.  A full-bird colonel may smile and shake the hand of a villager that is helping kill his troops, but ruthlessly belittle the American privates on his base for being out of uniform.

It’s easy to fight a foe that can’t fight back.

The US Army has loads of support troops who don’t know how to use radios properly, how to use weapons optics like the ACOG, and the US is getting its ass handed to it by a growing Afghan insurgency which actually knows how to shoot, move and communicate. But the new Army’s mantra is “Right time, right place, right uniform.”  What is this, a Wal-Mart corporate meeting? Left out of any messaging is the fact that the Army has one overriding mission: To kill dead the enemies of the United States. Period.

Meanwhile, our West Point educated generals and colonels, whom the illiterate Taliban are running circles around, are committing acts of sexual assault, bigamy, and outright theft of government finances.  Generals reduced to cutpurses.

Then there is the absolute tide of political correctness to which our generals are beholden. Every time I hear an interview with a general, I walk away not feeling inspired, but depressed. Wooden, and reading from a memorized slate approved for press release, these folks would make Patton vomit.  Make no mistake about it. Today, Patton would be arrested. He admitted Americans like a good fight. Why? Because to win a fight, you have to like it, at least a little. But our current military is so risk averse, that only a fool would look for the enemy on a regular basis.

It’s really too bad that these generals are being investigated for sexual indiscretion and petty thievery  but not for their performance in our wars.  Where is the vaunted moral courage and intellectual honesty in the officer’s corp? I should like to see many more canned for not doing their job: Stacking enemy bodies.  Sound harsh? It is. That’s war. The current counterinsurgency model is so “counter-intuitive” ( term often used to mask the insanity of a bad idea), that only an intellectual could believe it.

It’s time we take a long hard look at ourselves. Frankly, I’m embarrassed.  Back in the homeland, we now accept losing. We shouldn’t. A good loser is a loser.  The personalities that used to be our generals are now our college and professional football coaches. They went where the money is and where they can tell the truth.

Les Miles would have won wars:

As Lombardi said, winning is a habit. I reached a turning point in my life when I no longer accepted defeat. When mediocre academic performance was not acceptable, when age was not an excuse for physical decline, when a bad childhood was not justification for failure in every endeavor. I don’t want a participation trophy–I want the trophy that labels me the winner. It is a sad thing to me, where we have come as a people. Looking back at my youth, I wish there were something that could have made me care, something that could have made me try. I didn’t see difficulty as a challenge, but something to be avoided, so I ran away from life.

This is where relativism, as it must, has led us. If all things are equal, winning is neither good nor bad. If all behavior is the same, then we can accept the same from a 4-star general as from a 15 year old.  The engine of our nation–its people–are in decline. I have no recipe to fix the problem. Perhaps it as Oswald Spengler believed, inevitable  like the seasons.

Our flaccid response to the humiliation in Benghazi is illustrative of the current American acceptance of defeat. I’m with Ralph Peters on this one (as usual). Our response should have been devastating. Instead, our government wrung its hands, and tweaked “talking points”. We haven’t made the world a safer place with our rhetoric. No one this side of Mother Theresa respects weakness, least of all Islamic extremists. Our collegiate theorems have not trumped the reality of war: You must kill the enemy until he stops fighting. Rest assured he’s trying to do the same thing.


11 thoughts on “Americans accept losing wars and mediocrity at the highest levels

    […] via Americans accept losing wars and mediocrity at the highest levels. […]

    ajmacdonaldjr said:
    November 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    Quite a difference from the Gulf War, when the commanding generals – both Vietnam veterans – said: “We will not repeat the same mistakes we made in Vietnam: micro-managing the war from Washington.” They were true to their word, and the war was over in 100 days. From the moment US forces landed in Afghanistan the opposite has been the case, and I saw this at the time, knowing our troops would be used and abused by skinny, latte sipping pinheads and politicos in Washington who never served. Although I don’t agree with everything you say I agree with most all of it, and I am doing what I can to bring the troops home. I salute you, your service, and your comrades-in-arms. A good soldier, like a mind, is a terrible thing to waste. In fact, it’s criminal. (I served with Scouts CSC 3/32 7th ID and C 1/14 25 ID 1976-1982.)

    magus71 responded:
    November 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm


    Thanks for doing your part. Frankly, despite the wars our troops have it better than you did during your time in the army. We have the best equipment, the best living arrangements, and the best pay ever. But our leaders are politicians in uniform. And that will kill any fighting force.

    “Deeds not words”

    ajmacdonaldjr said:
    November 18, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I agree. I wish we could get you in front of a camera and broadcast your insights, observations, and constructive critique to the American People, who are on the side of our troops, but have no idea what is actually going on over there. Having served, I am all too aware of what is happening. For example, I remember when the troops first went into Iraq, seeing them on television wearing woodland camo, having come from Germany (Gulf War and 2003) and the top general(s), at a press conference (some with no CIB), far behind the lines, wearing starched, desert camo. I said to myself: “Typical of the US Army… no concern for the grunts” whereas most civilians didn’t even notice important – life and death – issues such as this. And I knew this was only the tip of a very big, very incompetent iceberg.

    katymichaelis said:
    November 18, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    Sadly, I know a lot of folks that actually thing losing wars is good for us, it teaches us a lesson. I guess in the same way both parents losing jobs is good for kids, you could say losing wars is good for Us, what’s crazier is what you have to run through your head for that conculsion to come out the other side

    magus71 responded:
    November 18, 2012 at 6:38 pm


    What’re your thoughts on a military draft? My thoughts are that people would understand your woodland camo anecdote if they actually had to serve.

    B D said:
    November 18, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Agree. Now as Law Enforcement do you recognize the same methods that were used to cripple the police in the 1960s and 70s? That the same groups did it?

    And what if anything besides mournful hand wringing should be done?

    magus71 responded:
    November 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm


    In some ways I agree with the people who say we are learning a lesson. Except that the people who say that are liberals who don’t want to serve, not because the military is tough, but because they’ve never fought for anything in their life. They ask over and over, what their country can do for them, but never what they have done for their country.

    Royce said:
    November 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I was intrigued by your commment “Meanwhile, our West Point educated generals and colonels, whom the illiterate Taliban are running circles around, are committing acts of sexual assault, bigamy, and outright theft of government finances. Generals reduced to cutpurses.” Admittedly I served at the beginning of the Viet Nam mess but my personal experience with West Point Officers was not good. I found them to be self-serving, indifferent to those under their command, and grubbing for medals and promotions. I never felt comfortable serving with them because I never felt I could trust them. Relative to the draft — I have been conflicted on this point for a long time but I am beginning to lean toward mandated service.

    ajmacdonaldjr said:
    November 19, 2012 at 4:18 am

    Regarding the draft, I’m pretty hardcore, and unpopular for my stance, which is that, were I to have my way, upon graduation from high school, every citizen would be required to serve their country, although not necessarily in the armed forces. I would like to see a system wherein any occupation that is essential to the infrastructure of the, military, fire, police, nurses, doctors, truck drivers….. any occupation that is required to operate 24/7 365 days a year as an alternative to military service. Like the military I would have training schools as well as future educational benefits upon completion of service, as well as a VA-like health care system for all who serve, which is everyone. I do not believe in deferment of any sort. No “I’m going to college, so I can’t go”… NO ONE goes to college until after they serve. This seems harsh to most people, but it’s the only way I see for all to share the burden. Upon turning 18, I think the free ride should be O-V-E-R. Some of us understood our obligation to do our duty and volunteered… other need, shall we say “encouragement”? When everyone has a price to pay no one is going to be in a hurry to rush off to wars for no good reason. Today’s all volunteer forces create to America’s: A) those who serve America at risk of losing both life and limb, and B) those childish brats who don’t give a flying fuck about America but take advantage of all her many benefits, which group “A” has paid the price for. It is time for a major overhaul of the system, so that we can all be in this together.

    B D said:
    November 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm


    The Left would indeed love to do such a thing, as government would be the winner. There is more to America than the State, however. Even now.

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