I can’t agree more with this article’s assessment. Although the author misses some big examples, like Colin Powell’s embarrassing exhibition claiming Saddam’s WMDs. In his defense, there has been so much ineptitude that it would take a Tolstoy-sized book to capture the scope.
For me Matt Ridgway (Korea) was the last exceptional and trustable (by the people) top command American general. His heroic leadership upon assuming command of the 8th Army largely saved South Korea and changed the 20th century. With our troops greatly outnumbered and on the run from the Chinese Army, after MacArthur’s debacle at Yalu River, he parachuted in to the retreating army and ordered them to stop, turnaround, and fight. Which they did, and so did he right along with them.
Then when the French were surrounded by the Vietminh at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, about to lose the French-Indochina war, most of Eisenhower’s generals and Richard Nixon were urging him to send in American troops, or drop nuclear weapons, to save them. It was the general he trusted most, Matt Ridgway, along with Churchill, that convinced Ike not to do it. Tragically another general, Maxwell Taylor, and the Joint Chiefs, helped convince JFK and then LBJ to go in anyway a decade later. By that time there was big money in it for their respective branches.
Interestingly Ridgway, who also fought at Normandy, was the last great American command general before the onset of the military corporate complex. It’s been downhill all the way from there. And now it’s Iran…
Why bother with competency when you know you’ll get $700 billion either way? Rather than study the lessons of history it’s so much easier to work on a good John Wayne imitation. And what about these unquestioning reporters that seem to think their job is to amplify the cowboy rhetoric. Embarrassing. Goodnight Morley Safer wherever you are!