RANGER AGAINST WAR: Captain American <

Friday, July 02, 2010

Captain American

Captain America

I sell the things you need to be

I'm the smiling face of your T.V. ohh…

I'm the Cult of Personality

I exploit you; still you love me

--Cult of Personality
, Living Colour
______________

When Ranger looks at General David Petraeus's medal-festooned uniform, he always wonders: Where are the meaningful badges, like the Combat Infantry Badge and the valor awards that used to reside on General officers ribbon bars? Heck, even good Platoon leaders had these in previous wars.


The same can be said of General Stanley McChrystal and most of our present-day warrior elite. All the medals on their chest will not ensure success or victory. But this post concerns Petraues -- the Teflon Boy whose leadership in Afghanistan is now touted as essential and indispensable to that war effort (as though fighting in Afghanistan has anything to do with warfare, anyway. It is merely organized violence.)


To debunk some of the Petraeus myth:


[1] Petraeus
did not write the Counterinsurgency manual. He was the Officer in Charge or Commanding Officer to the group which produced the manual.

There are no manuals in the U.S. Department of Defense system which are written by only one or two people. A plethora of GS 1712 Training Specialists and GS 1710 Education Specialists are generally tasked with writing and researching manuals.


It is infrequent that soldiers write manuals; Petraeus was a contributor, and should not be hailed as some modern-day developer of COIN warfare techniques. The COIN FM 3-24 strikes us as a disjointed group effort, and does not belie the articulation imputed to the General.


[2] No man is indispensable in our system. Witness the hasty departure of former indispensable General McChrystal.


We are replicant replacement units, as it should be. Wars are not about individuals, nor are they individual efforts. War is an institutional effort and if this system cannot produce replacement leaders, then we are a lost bunch of warriors. Nobody is irreplaceable, whether we are talking the platoon or national level.


Even al-Qaeda has produced twelve number 3's since the beginning of hostilities. Individuals are irrelevant. We are not living in a Marvel comic book


General Petraeus is not Captain America.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Sven Ortmann said...

Some generals have been outstanding enough to deserve being called "indispensable", even if they weren't in the strictest sense.
Such outstanding generals are rare, though. Maybe one per cent.

Generals in Afghanistan seem to be quite unimportant because there are no true formation-level actions, no real operational level of war.
Lieutenants and captains seem to be most important on the tactical level.

Junior officer trainers are probably more important than generals there.
(I wouldn't rank the influence of platoon NCOs as as important in AFG as it used to be in earlier wars. The typical Staff Sergeant skill set seems to be of rather small importance there.)

Friday, July 2, 2010 at 5:33:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Chief said...

I 1) was never in the U.S. Army and 2) retired from the Navy over 30 years ago.

Having served for 21 years in a period when medals were a rarity, I have tried to count the number of rows of ribbons on Gen Petraeus' blouse. Without success.

And at the local level, when ever I see an E-5 recruiter with 3 or 4 rows of ribbons, I figure they give 'em away like candy.

They would appear to be meaningless.

Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 9:04:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Rez Dog said...

I always marvel at the difference in medals worn by Patraeus and Dwight Eisenhower. I recall he often wore as few as two rows, if that. Maybe he was too busy to have time for all that decoration.

Saturday, July 3, 2010 at 9:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

RD,
Ike was wearing his authorized awards and decorations. They were slim since he never personally engaged in combat opns.
This is not a criticism, but rather fact.
jim

Sunday, July 4, 2010 at 10:15:00 AM GMT-5  

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