The Best Defense

The worst general in American history?

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on June 2, 2010.

That was the discussion I was having yesterday with several friends. Here is my ranking of their nominees:

1. Douglas MacArthur
2. Benedict Arnold
3. Ned Almond
4. Tommy R. Franks
5. William Westmoreland
6. George McClellan
7. Ambrose Burnside
8. Horatio Gates
 

It was my contest, so I declared MacArthur the No. 1 loser, because of his unique record of being insubordinate to three presidents (Hoover, Roosevelt and Truman) as well as screwing up the Korean War. Plus additional negative points for his role in the gassing and suppression of the Bonus Marchers in 1932. You can't defend a country by undermining it.

It really is extraordinary how the Army has extirpated his memory. The influence of Marshall, Eisenhower and Bradley lives on, while MacArthur has been treated as a historical dead end. Kind of amazing, considering he was a general for 26 years, was the Army chief of staff, received the Medal of Honor, fought in three wars and was a senior commander in two.

army.mil

The Best Defense

The end of Sgt. Bagosy, USMC

While Tom Ricks is away from his blog, he has selected a few of his favorite posts to re-run. We will be posting a few every day until he returns. This originally ran on September 17, 2010.

Oh man. Take a minute to read this widow's account of watching her Marine sergeant husband fall apart after he came home from Afghanistan. Two quotations that really struck me: 

"I knew that we had run out of time."

And, as he contemplated suicide:

"There is no way I can stop you from doing this, is there?" she said she asked her husband.

"No."

If you know someone who seems suicidal, here is a phone number:

1-800-273-TALK

(HT to BD)

Marty Melville/AFP/GettyImages