Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran's Day...and the unfortunate military genius

Happy Veteran's Day. Although I don't agree with many of the military decision making of our country over my lifetime (and before), I do truly appreciate those who put themselves in harm's way to serve our country. Also (opinions aside) I see the human sacrifice that has been made in defending our country from foreign dangers and can not think our heroes. I was raised by a father who retired as Lieutenant Colonel after 20 years in the Air Force. I also have grandfathers, uncles and other members of my family who have served in the Armed Forces. Although those in my family weren't primarily soldiers with war stories, it was enough to give me a sense of appreciation for what they do. I salute you all. Now, on a less happy note, I do feel its unfortunate that one of the most brilliant minds of recent military history had to resign his prestigious an well earned position just before Veteran's Day. General David Petraeus not only saved the War in Iraq (or at least that's the general consensus I've read), he wrote the book (literally, it's now the manual) on counterinsurgency. He figured out the social aspect of fighting a more complex and tricky enemy when most military minds were still only thinking on terms of battlefield "X"s and "O"s with no regard for the population in place. I haven't dug for all the details of his affair but this news disappointed me as I considered Obama's move to appoint Petraeus as CIA Director and moving the former CIA Director into position as Secretary of Defense was genius because our defense will have to be so intelligence based due to the different dynamic we face with terrorist groups as our main enemies rather than other formal armies. It's a good idea to make intelligence and special operations the focus and it has reaped benefits(Burn in hell, Bin Laden). However, I understand how having any "blackmail" material makes the leader of our biggest intelligence agency vulnerable in addition to a bad example to set; this isn't D-Wade leaving an unstable marriage for Gabrielle Union after all. So while I see him stepping down as admirable and possibly even the right thing to do, I just hope that a proper contingency plan is in place. I've widely heard him considered the our brightest, most influential military mind since Eisenhower. It's a shame to see him go out like this on the eve of Veteran's Day.

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