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Combat leaders and perfumed princes
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ralph Peters, who usually enjoys smacking the "brass" around, gives some rare praise in his most recent article.

I bring it up because of who it is he praises. He praises LTG Ricardo Sanchez's replacement, LTG Ray Odierno (he also praises Petraus), and he gives voice to why Sanchez is a retired LTG and sniping for the Democrats from the sidelines:
Even as some of us began to suspect that Iraqi society was hopelessly sick, our troops stood to and did their duty bravely. The tenacity of our soldiers and Marines in the face of mortal enemies in Iraq and blithe traitors at home is the No. 1 reason why Iraq has turned around.

Without their valor and sacrifice, nothing else would've mattered. Key leaders were courageous, too - men such as now-Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno. Big Ray was pilloried in our media for being too warlike, too aggressive and just too damned tough on our enemies.

Well, the Ray Odiernos, not the hearts-and-minds crowd, held the line against evil. Only by hammering our enemies year after year were we able to convince them that we couldn't - and wouldn't - be beaten. If the press wronged any single man or woman in uniform, it was Odierno - thank God he was promoted and stayed in the fight.
That's the leadership that wasn't apparent previously. Oh we hung in there, but leaders take charge and make things happen. The last thing they want to be is reactive. They want the enemy reacting to them. And that is the biggest difference between Iraq under Sanchez and Iraq under Odierno.

Odierno is a combat commander. Sanchez was what David Hackworth used to call a "perfumed prince". Unfortunately, in peace-time, the perfumed princes still find their way into the upper echelons a heck of a lot more than I'd like to see. They're the "manager" generals. War tends to shake them out of the trees and promote the real combat commanders into leadership positions. It's a pity we don't have a better way of determining such things prior to discovering it in combat.

As I've said in the past, in a couple of posts, that is something the Army and in fact the whole military needs to take a good look at and they need to do it now. Obviously good managers are necessary in the military as well, but we need to be able to identify and promote good combat commanders when they're CPTs, MAJs and LTCs. We need to find our Odiernos early and get them trained and promoted early as well (as an aside, what we don't need to do is see guys like COL H.R. McMaster passed over for BG). Or else we're doomed to repeat putting perfumed princes such as Sanchez in positions which they can't "manage" because they require leadership.

With Gen. Petraeus being recalled to sit on the last general officers board, perhaps that reality is finally dawning on the senior leadership. And I also hope that it will mean that COL McMaster will soon be wearing his first star.
 
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Comments
Wow, no one can criticize the war and be sparred vicious personal attacks. I don’t know, McQ, you seemed pretty sensitive when the "left" criticize people like Bush and Petraeus, you even consider it "derangement syndrome." But like clockwork, someone speaks out against the administration in Iraq, especially if they were once supportive, and the smears and insults start flying.

The sad thing is, I suspect you don’t realize you are behaving exactly like those on the other side who you criticize when they engage in smears and unfair personal attacks. Isn’t it possible that there can be a difference of opinion that is legitimate, and doesn’t require one have to tear down the person who thinks differently? Consider that.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
By the same token, Scott, you are singularly incapable of calling a spade a spade and admitting that there is real progress, even, dare I say it, measures of success. Instead, you come in an rationalize it away because it is not possible, not even remotely so, for what you have already written to be ’a miserable failure of policy’ to be working. No, it HAS to be something else. So instead, when you hear hoofbeats you start yelling ’ZEBRA!’ because ’Horses’ is inconvenient.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Dr Erb, Sanchez’s problem is, as others have pointed out, that he was in charge of many of the things he is complaining about! Sanchez might have some reasonable complaints, but he doesn’t bother to make them. When the man-in-chief says that leadership was lacking and that no strategy was available, one is forced to ask, "Wasn’t that YOUR job?" The rancor between Bremer and Sanchez out to have been thrashed out by Rumsfeld and the POTUS, yes. The Surge could have started sooner, yes, but the strategy, that was SANCHEZ’S job....just as Petraeus made it his job and brought in new ideas. So when Sanchez wants to complain, he needs to provide a heaping portion of crow for himself, which he DOES NOT. In short, he tries passing the buck upstream and McQ and others are calling him on it. YOUR problem is that Iraq is working out, and that doesn’t fit into the Erbian Narrative.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Consider that.
Consider what? You call yourself non-partisan but let there be any words regarding Iraq and the quips such as the following spurt from you:
I also find it repulsive that some are trying to make it seem like if we can just have stability in Iraq somehow the policy was OK or a ’success.’ That is dishonest, it’s trying to sweep under the rug the fact that all the expectations and hopes for the policy were wrong, and the damage done is immense (in political and human terms). It’s been a fiasco of the highest magntitude, an utter and complete failure. The Bush administration is doing a decent job now trying to clean up the mess, but it’s not like they can ever turn the policy into a success. That’s impossible. Saying it can be a success is like saying "well, we dropped the vase while moving it and it broke into pieces, but we cleaned up the mess and so we successfully transported the vase."
Or how bout this oldie but goodie:
This blog definitely chooses which news from Iraq to take seriously — while sites like antiwar.com show the situation to be dire. You gotta read all sides to get a realistic view. What I see happening is the US shifted from trying to defeat its opponents to coopting them in the short term and, it appears, accepting a close relationship between Iran and the emerging Iraqi leadership. This can buy time for the US to able to have a rather stable departure, but it clearly is vastly different than the policy objections and the rationale for launching something which has killed so many people and destroyed so many lives. I hope they can pull it out and extricate the US from the chaos. But they will not be allowed to redefine it as a success in any way shape or form.
For someone calling themselves non-partisan, you seem to be reading and citing from the Democrat "We are Losing in Iraq" script and can’t seem to clear away from that dead rhetoric.
The sad thing is, I suspect you don’t realize you are behaving exactly like those on the other side who you criticize when they engage in smears and unfair personal attacks. Isn’t it possible that there can be a difference of opinion that is legitimate, and doesn’t require one have to tear down the person who thinks differently? Consider that.
For someone to write and/or speak like that he/she would have to ignore all but the most partisan of sites to reference, all but the most arbitrary of sites agreeing with the bias of the writer. Sites that you grant credibility where none exists. He/she would have to give creedence to people like Murtha, Carter, and Sanchez. People you seem to grant credit where credit is lacking or knowledge and expertise where their past performance shows they have none. And that, friend Erb, is definitely not the case. That is for McQ. As for you on the other hand . . .
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
If I remember my history, I seem to recall a previous time when the Democrats pulled a so-called war hero out front to speak and act against an unpopular president during an unpopular war. I think McClellan was his name. Do you want to take some time he to defend that hack? Or am I being too critical of a good man just trying to do his best?

You seem to be on a hair trigger to accuse McQ of "derangement syndrome" but I don’t hear any words from you on your defense of Sanchez. There have been several blog entries on the subject and except for you throwing rocks at the writer, I have not heard one word from you defending the man’s record or expertise. Or do you have any such words at all? Are you so bereft of logic in his defense that the only thing you can do is play the victim card for him and cry out at him being "picked on" because he is someone who "speaks out against the administration in Iraq, especially if they were once supportive."

OK, tell you what, there Erb. Defend him. You tell us why his voice and words have merit. We’ll wait.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Erb, did Sanchez:
1) Request every possible "A Team" be sent to Iraq, to begin the basic training of the Iraqi Army; and
2) Request that the US military school system begin to IMMEDIATELY take Iraqi cadets into it’s OCS/Academy system, and seek to have the schools systems transplant as much of their teaching staff to Iraq to create a professional NCO and Officer Corps; and
3) Create a security zone that included 10-15 km of Iraq’s neighbor’s and begin to aggressively patrol that zone with Rangers, SEALS, Force Recon and the like; and
4) Did he ask for an increase to 160,000 troops; and
5) Focus on population centres, and reconstruction; and
6) Request that ALL Federal agencies and branches institute programs to send needed technicians to Iraq, programs to include increased pay, one-time bonuses, increased Federal Retirement benefits ( 1 year in-country=3 years retirement credit) and elimination of Federal income taxes for Federal civilian employees; and
7) Demand that the command relations be straightened out between the CPA and CentCom?

If he did these things, he can complain...certainly they are things that may have been done, in part, but certainly needed to be done from the get-go and I’m not even a soldier...

Sanchez, if he didn’t do these things, he failed as a commander and really can’t complain about his treatment or the culpability of others. I believe Sanchez did not do these things and his complaints are McClellan complaints, he got held responsible for his failures and he doesn’t like that.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Nah, Scott has a cool blame jumping system.
All blames for faults in operations in Iraq bypass the theatre commander and jump straight to the SecDef and POTUS.

So, for example, Abu Ghraib was the fault of Bush and Rumsfeld...
Sanchez, well, he was just in charge where it was going on at the time.
He wasn’t responsible for any of it.
Six months after the fall of Baghdad, a vast Iraqi weapons depot with tens of thousands of artillery rounds and other explosives remained unguarded, according to two U.S. aid workers who say they reported looting of the site to U.S. military officials.

The aid workers say they informed Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the highest ranking Army officer in Iraq in October 2003 but were told that the United States did not have enough troops to seal off the facility, which included more than 60 bunkers packed with munitions.
Stolen tons of munitions? Bush and Rumsfeld, they were responsible for scheduling the rotation of guards that day on the facility, you see?
Sanchez, well, he was just in charge where it was going on at the time.
He wasn’t responsible for any of it.

He’s a, a, a, victim of failed policies!
(In your broken vase analogy there Prof, Sanchez was carrying the vase)
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
(In your broken vase analogy there Prof, Sanchez was carrying the vase)
Vital question is that vase pronounced as "Base" with a "V" OR, vase as in "vahz"....?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Vahz, of course.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Vahz, of course.
Good then the Doctor will be able to understand you...otherwise he’d wonder what a VASE was.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well, I’m hoping he’ll get it after all that time spent amongst Yankees.
I mean, after all, Aunt isn’t pronounced ’ant’, it’s pronounced ’ahnnt’.

Now, don’t ask me why it’s not ’bahz’ instead of ’base’ because that’s just beyond me.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
careful now: you may inadvertently turn Professor Scott Erb into Professor ’Enry ’Iggins.

’The Blame in Iraq stays mainly on Bush’
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
Erb exactly 1 year ago:
The US military is not providing protection or support, the idea that we are standing between an all out civil war and lower levels of violence is wrong. We are witnessing growing violence and are impotent to stop it.
Erb is an idiot.
 
Written By: JWG
URL: http://
Regarding Sanchez:
OK, tell you what, there Erb. Defend him. You tell us why his voice and words have merit. We’ll wait.
Still Waiting!
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
Sanchez has learned the Lessons Of Vietnam as practiced by Westmoreland et al. Blame it all on the politicians. That seems to be the only thing he learned.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Wow, no one can criticize the war and be sparred vicious personal attacks. I don’t know, McQ, you seemed pretty sensitive when the "left" criticize people like Bush and Petraeus, you even consider it "derangement syndrome." But like clockwork, someone speaks out against the administration in Iraq, especially if they were once supportive, and the smears and insults start flying.

The sad thing is, I suspect you don’t realize you are behaving exactly like those on the other side who you criticize when they engage in smears and unfair personal attacks. Isn’t it possible that there can be a difference of opinion that is legitimate, and doesn’t require one have to tear down the person who thinks differently? Consider that.
Note that Scott is actually just attacking McQ; he doesn’t defend Sanchez, or present any argument of substance. Scott is really just reverting to an ad hominem attack, essentially what he acuses McQ of.

And he willfully ignores that there are good reasons to be critical of Sanchez. Like the fact that he was the guy in charge when things went to hell . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Now Don, you know better than pointing out logical fallacies to Erb: he’ll just ignore them and resort to other logical fallacies by justifying his own by pointing to (purportedly) others.
 
Written By: Joel C.
URL: http://
The good Dr. needs to bone up on military history. I predict no substantive rebuttal to good historical points of Joe, SShiell, Looker et al, will come out of his keyboard.

At least Montgomery and MacArthur won some battles in WWII, so their bellyaching about Ike and Truman respectively were heard by some.

Sanchez was singularly unsuccessful in the only major assignment of his career. Why anyone would listen to him now and take him at all seriously is beyond me.

If Erb can’t defend him, nobody can. So far, he is not up to the challenge.
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
"The good Dr. needs to bone up on military history."

I think he has already expressed his opinion of ’military’ history.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
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Written By: buy Ephedra
URL: http://orgs.tamu-commerce.edu/csa/_schooldisc/070173fb.htm?ephedra

 
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