The title of General Martin's paper in 2000 was "Jesus the Strategic Leader." On the face of it, not necessarily a bad paper. I mean, making the argument would be an uphill climb, but Jesus of Nazareth did initiate a spiritual revolution that transformed large parts of the world. And he was into the trinity long before Clausewitz. In the hands of the right thinker, it would be interesting to place Jesus in a strategic context. (It also would be interesting to compare him as a strategic leader to Moses, Siddh?rtha Gautama Buddha, and Mohammed.)
But not in the hands of Martin. John Schindler, a professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College, writes in his blog that Martin's essay is a stinker. "The paper is poorly done," Schindler writes. "I would have failed it . . . . In terms of academic quality, this is crap, pure and simple."
I think Schindler is harsh but correct. Parts of the paper read like parody. Not only are we told that Jesus assembled a "top team," it turns out he would have made a good battalion commander. (All this time, I thought he had been a corporal.) "Jesus recognized the value of conducting AAR's," Martin writes. With a straight face.
Indeed, Jesus was practically an Army Ranger. He knew and taught the importance of traveling light, Martin observes. (Didn't he say somewhere in the gospels, "Don't forget nothing"?) He also understood the importance of taking time to recharge his batteries, we are told. And he knew how to pick his battles, rendering unto Caesar.
Judas is mentioned in the paper, but Martin does not grapple with the issue of how such a great strategic leader could be so wrong about one of his 12 closest subordinates.
I could go on. But it is like shooting fish in a barrel. At some point, one must just avert one's eyes from this mess. It does make me wonder why someone thought he was just the guy to steer NDU through a stormy era. That said, his bio says he has a PhD in engineering management from MIT, and that his dissertation subject was organizational change.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.