Saturday, June 03, 2006

Small Victories

A few weeks ago I finished reading Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam. The book demolishes the myth that generals knew how to win the war in Vietnam, but were thwarted by politicians. Instead, McMaster shows that the Joint Chiefs of Staff put career advancement, political considerations and narrow service branch concerns ahead of their responsibility to offer real military advice.

It's written by a fellow named H.R. McMaster, who at the time of writing (1998) was a major in the US Army. The book got mentioned a few times last month, during the hubbub over retired generals criticizing Rumsfeld. Somewhere I'd read that McMaster was now a command officer serving in Iraq, and I wondered what he'd make of that experpience.

Now, thanks to my friend Bawb the Revelator, I have a link to the New Yorker that details "what Americans have learned about battling the insurgency in Iraq, and whether those lessons have come too late." The narration is accompanied by a slideshow, and it prominently features Colonel McMaster, who appears to be doing a fine job.

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