Monday, October 20, 2008

Of Generals & Colin Powell

All generals (And admirals) must, to achieve that rank, combine three qualities in some and varying mixtures. Those qualities are: Fighting spirit and skills; Administrative skills, of which the most important is logistics; And, people or political skills in dealing with personnel matters and with the politicians-in-power.

However, some do excel in one or two of these qualities, demonstrating full competence and overriding excellence in all three being all but unknown. It should also be noted that an unbalanced excellence in only one leads to the danger of an unbalance in overall military abilities and performance. Below you will find some examples of balanced and unbalanced military leaders and mis-leaders.

Patton was the most recent example of a specially "fighting general" who, along "Vinegar Joe" Stillwell, led troops without much regard for administrative or political niceties. Such political and administrative support as allowed them to do such was provided by others who often had to "protect them" from logistic and political mistakes. Other generals who had the same general, general, characteristics include George Washington (Who certainly had political problems with the Continental Congress) and William T. Sherman who cared little for politicians and was protected by U. S. Grant.

The best, if not most famous, of our "administrative" generals was George Marshall who is known as the "Organizer Of The Allied Victory In World War-II" and was a quiet, totally logical, master of the military arts and a gentleman well beyond anything which could be proclaimed or established by an Act Of Congress. His skills and success in this area were so great as to put him beyond any doubts as of political support-or-opposition or combat courage or experience.

The most noticeable "political generals" were George B. McClellan (Who seemed incapable of fighting any decisive battles, except that of maintaining political support) Douglas MacArthur (Who was strangely given honors after his disastrous leadership in the Philippines at the beginning of WW-2 and whose alleged success in the Pacific campaigns of that war were in spite of his acts and were really based on the acts of the US Navy's leaders) AND General Colin Powell who, after a credible beginning as a very junior combat officer, dived into military politics and had an often criticized performance with no real record of those services which "made a difference" as to the defense of this nation.

General MacArthur's conflict with President Harry S. Truman and resistance to civilian and constitutional authority caused his downfall and "fading away" as a force in the politics of this nation in spite of some Obama-like worship by some media and politicians.

It now appears that (Thankfully retired) Gen. Powell is again attempting to manipulate the political system of the USA by his endorsement of Sen. Obama. To my mind I cannot discern if that endorsement is based on conviction, race (Racist) motives or, perhaps the most likely, on some effort to either push forward his income from book publications OR, even, some high (Cabinet level?) post in an Obama administration. The USA needs him only slightly more that the even more self-serving and even more artificial Barak Hussein. Obama.

Generals U. S. Grant and Dwight Eisenhower appear to be the most balanced of this nation's generals.

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