« Enough Blame to Go Ar… | Home | The Best Trained, Mos… »

The Immune Group: Holding the Military's Leaders Accountable for Iraq


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/modules/smarty/Smarty_Compiler.class.php on line 270

seven comments


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/lib.php on line 4647

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /nfs/c08/h02/mnt/120456/domains/onviolence.com/html/pivotx/includes/textile/classtextile.php on line 1011

Based on some of the comments we’ve received, I’ll point this out: this is just one group that deserves blame among many. That was why we wrote Monday’s post.


The military establishment remembered one thing from the Vietnam war, they remembered how to convincingly shift the blame from themselves to the politicians. It worked pretty good than and it will probably work well enough now.

Since you brought it up, bemoaning the ‘lack of strategy’ excuse for failure really frosts me. Strategy has nothing at all to do with the actions of high ranking officers on the scene. It hasn’t anything to do with paralysis by powerpoint, nor with H&I fire being delivered in Baghdad in 2003 nor with a moron like Sanchez wanting to bomb the bridge the remains of the murdered contractors were hung from in Fallujah. Our high ranking officer corps likes to talk about being responsible for one’s actions but it is something they mostly seem to require of others.


I just read Monday’s entry. The greatest failing of the generals perhaps is their failing in the duty to advise. I remember reading a story once where FDR was holding some kind of meeting about military preparedness prior to WWII. He said some foolish thing about all being well and everybody nodded their heads in agreement except George Marshall. He said that the foolishness was foolishness and if something less foolish wasn’t done there would be hell to pay. He later recalled that he figured that was the end of his career but duty demanded action so he did it, to the benefit of all.

Maybe (strictly conjecture on my part) he got away with saying what he did was because the civilians figured that if they got rid of him the next guy would be the same and the one after that would be the same so no sense looking a more amenable type.

Now, if somebody like Shinseki says something the civilians don’t want to hear, they can be damn certain that there will be plenty of multi-stars who will tell them exactly what they want to hear so the Shinsekis can be discarded with ease. That there are so many feckless senior officers is the fault of the professional military itself. It couldn’t be like that unless the military as an institution started selecting, at least partly, for fecklessness at some point.

This still goes on of course. Big shot general after big shot general send their men to be killed in Afghanistan knowing that it for nothing if the Pak Army/ISI isn’t reined in. Those same generals tell the civilians year after year that we can prevail without dealing with the Pak Army/ISI even though they know it isn’t true. I don’t understand how those guys can live with themselves.


Since we’re on the subject, I figured you guys might be interested in this.

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/..

It is an AP story about how Gen. Dempsey feels that Gen. Ward shouldn’t be retired at a reduced rank.


@ Carl – Sigh. sounds like more of the same. Check out Rick’s new book and HBR article for more of this.


Ike was CEO.
Patton was Combat.
The generals in Iraq are/were what, Combat or CEO?

Iraq was two separate operations. Franks did the easy part, the part the troops knew how to do.

Afterwards? the second part was something new. Nobody, as far as I know, knew how to proceed. So, if CEO and Combat don’t work, they need a third type of general.


Eric H:

It is understandable if nobody knew, knew, how to proceed. But the generals mostly didn’t have any idea at all how to proceed. That they didn’t have any idea at all, and the lower ranks had to figure things out for them as they went along, is a serious indictment of the military education system. Lots of countries in history have conquered, occupied and pacified other countries, including us. That this kind of thing may have been new to the generals just means they weren’t well educated in their business.