Politicians in Uniform

Here’s a good piece on General Petraeus. I sometimes forget that everyone doesn’t know these things. Of course generals are more politicians with carefully crafted public images than genuine military leaders. Also, a ‘troop surge’ is what we used to call ‘reinforcements.’

Col. MacGregor is wrong about one thing, though. Roman generals, at least during the years of the Republic, weren’t battle-hardened professionals. They were politicians, taking a military command so they could start a war and further their civilian political careers. Their ambition and amateurish bumbling got a lot of good troops killed, and lost a lot of battles.

In other words, our Generals aren’t so different from the Romans.

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