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A failure in generalship

 

A failure in GeneralshipFor 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.

“You officers amuse yourselves with God knows what buffooneries and never dream in the least of serious service. This is a source of stupidity which would become most dangerous in case of a serious conflict.” – Frederick the Great

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John Edwards: The Question I wasn’t asked

 

John EdwardsHi.

I hope you all got a chance to watch last night’s debate. These conversations are all about giving the American people the power to make an informed choice about the future of our country. That’s why I take my responsibility so seriously to provide specific, honest and complete answers about my beliefs and my plans.

There were a lot of good questions tonight and I was glad that I got to address many important areas of policy and character. But there was one critical question I wasn’t asked – one that’s extremely relevant right now as President Bush and Congress are set to face off in Washington. I’d like to answer that for you here:

What should we be doing — right now — to end the war in Iraq?

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