Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Must Read for Future Presidents

Above, Fox Connor, mentor to Dwight Eisenhower, who said of him, "In sheer ability and character, he was the outstanding soldier of my time."

The above article is a must read for future presidents of our country. It was a speech, given by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, to the graduates of West Point, future officers in our army. It is steeped in the lessons learned by history, wise and practical in advice for foreign policy, cautious and prudent in judgment. In his speech he gives the following advice:

Conner had three principles or rules of war for a democracy that he imparted to Eisenhower and Marshall. They were:

* Never fight unless you have to;
* Never fight alone; and
* Never fight for long.

(Note that our current president has broken all three of the above axioms- would that he should have heeded such advice instead of being surrounded by hawks who spurred him to go to war, all of whom have now deserted him.)

Marshall has been recognized as the textbook model for the way military officers should handle disagreements with superiors, and in particular the civilians vested with control of the armed forces by our Constitution. Your duties as an officer are:

* To provide blunt, candid advice always;
* To keep disagreements private;
* To implement faithfully decisions that go against you.

(Truthfulness, honor, loyalty- such traits should be found in all soldiers, officers and enlisted.) The full article is worth the read, and emphasizes the importance of understanding our history in light of current events.

armchair coach
amateur historian

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