Tom Ricks has an article in the current Atlantic Magazine on the widespread failure of American generals. I am surprised that there has not been more discussion of it along with all the gossip about General Petraeus’s romantic peccadillo’s. Ricks does not list Petraeus as one of his failed generals; Petraeus does not come in for the same criticism as Generals Franks and Sanchez, but by pulling himself down, Petraeus undercuts the status of the whole general officer corps. In addition to Ricks deep criticism that many generals are incompetent to lead troops and fight a war, others are pointing to the perks that generals enjoy.
Petraeus became an intellectual darling because of the success of his counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq. But yesterday on one of the Sunday talk shows, some revisionist historian pointed out that his surge in Iraq happened to coincide with a Sunni tribe’s decision to ally with the US and oppose the more radical Sunnis, that may have done more to quell the violence than the surge. See this article in the Washington Quarterly.
If the leading American general has no clothes (referring to the emperor tale, not his personal conduct) or feet of clay, what does that say about the rest of the generals and the American military establishment?