From my brother-in-law, in the Navy

Read the following excerpt from a column by Col. David Hackworth (retired and, unfortunately, now deceased – a ground-pounder who HAS been there and done that) about Wesley Clark:

    For sure, Clark is one of the smartest guys ever to wear four stars. He finished number one in his West Point class, graduated with honors from Oxford and the National War College, was a war hero in Vietnam and as a young captain was earmarked as general officer material.

    But among mud soldiers, he’s known as a guy who never paid his dues with the troops in the trenches and doesn’t understand the nitty- gritty of war or what motivates warriors down at the bayonet level. He’s like a doctor who’s brilliant at theory but dangerous with a scalpel because he hasn’t been there and done that long enough to learn the skills of the trade. In 33 years of service, Clark spent only seven and one- half years in command with troops from platoon to division level– barely enough time to learn what makes a tank platoon tick. The rest of his service was as a staff weenie, an aide, a student, at the White House or at some fat cat headquarters.

    The man is not a field soldier; he’s more a CEO in uniform. Perhaps an efficient manager, but not a Patton-like leader. The troops call his sort “Perfumed Princes,” brass known for their micromanagement bias and slavish focus on “show over go” and covering their tails with fancy footwork. Unfortunately, today’s senior Army ranks are filled with such managers — and these kind of dweebs are why the U.S. Army is in trouble. The troops and young leaders are great. But too often the senior brass are politically correct dilettantes, out of touch with their soldiers more interested in chin straps on the points of chin than in battle-drill being executed correctly. They don’t understand that everything they need to learn about leadership and combat savvy doesn’t come from management books or advanced degrees.

I do believe that to reach flag rank anymore, one must be 101% politically correct – talent counts for nothing if one is not politically correct.


  1. I was a huge Clark fan in 04, hoping he’d win the nomination. I pictured his military knowledge as something Repubs could appreciate, but he’d be somewhat middle-of-the-road enough as well.

    Newsweek had a piece in the latest issue discussing possible VP’s, and they named Clark as a good match with Obama.

  2. Perhaps you’ll recall that General Clark was about to start an armed conflict with the Russians in the Balkans, until a British General, who was General Clark’s subordinate on the mission, refused to follow General Clark’s orders.

    There’s also a great picture out there where Wesley Clark has switched covers with Serbian General — and war criminal — Ratko Mladic.

  3. We have had some great warriors assume command positions, men such as Halsey, Patton, MacArthur. Thre is another breed that followed a more political route to the stars.

    This is not a uniquely American problem. The Gilbert and Sullivan mini-masterpiece was a satirical blast at a First Sea Lord whose nautical background was nil.

    Meeting social quotas is probably more important than winning battles.

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