The Best Defense

News keeps coming!: Iran undermines Turk-Kurd peace pact, ancient Persian chemical warfare, Army col's, Uighurs, etc.

 

  • To the southeast, fighting in Tarmiyah, a strong candidate for the roughest little town in Iraq, killed some Awakening members.
  • In the world of good Army colonels and not-so-good ones, Col. Everett Spain, currently finishing a Ph.D. at Harvard, was awarded the Soldier's Medal for his actions during the bombing of the Boston Marathon. I also am hearing that an Army colonel is in trouble for pulling his 9mm pistol and threatening a staff officer with it.
  • The Lawfare blog, which is dependable for its facts, for its smart interpretations, and for its slightly right-of-center views, is now carrying advertisements for jockey underwear that costs $24 a pop. Do you think a left-of-center blog would prefer to advertise boxer underwear?
  • Moving right along, there was a shootout on the Vietnamese-Chinese border, apparently involving a group of Uighurs.
  • There apparently is a CIA weapons depot in Boerne, Texas. This confirms everything that New Yorkers have always believed about Texans. And the CIA.
  • Yow. Cinco de and all that.

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The Best Defense

One day in a garden in Cairo during WWII: Seeing a senior general fired

I wrote in my book The Generals a lot about the need to remove underperforming generals. After writing it, I continued my research and came to believe that high-performing organizations in dangerous environments tend to remove roughly 10 percent of their subordinate leaders every year.

In the book I had some accounts by generals of being fired, or of firing someone. But I can't recall a single instance of someone witnessing the act. So I was interested to read in Churchill: Taken from the Diaries of Lord Moran that Moran, Churchill's doctor during the war, saw this happen during World War II. One morning in August 1942 Moran was sitting under a tree on the lawn of the British Embassy, reading a book and watching two hoopoe birds. He saw General Alan Brooke, the chief of the imperial general staff (that is, the top officer in the British military), take a seat under another tree with General Auchinleck, then the beleaguered British commander for the Middle East.

Moran wrote that,

I could not hear what the C.I.G.S. was saying, nor could I see the expression on Auchinleck's face, but I did not need any help to follow what was happening. Auchinleck sat with his forearms resting on his thighs, his hands hanging down between his knees, his head drooping forward like a flower on a broken stalk. His long, lean limbs were relaxed; the whole attitude expressed grief: the man was completely undone.

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