June 29, 2007

A TROUBLING OBSERVATION: “‘There is enormous pride among young officers in their units and in each other,’ says Lt. Col. Peter Kilner, who recently returned from two months in Iraq interviewing young Army officers for a research project. ‘But I see strong evidence that they are rapidly losing faith in the Army and the country’s political leadership.’”

UPDATE: A reader emails:

I agree this article is troubling to the extent Army officers are concerned about the quality of their Generals’ decisions and leadership but my reaction to this story was quite different. To see mid-level management challenge their bosses is exactly what a large organization needs when there are problems at the basic level.

We can’t reasonably expect a bureaucracy as large as the military to be innovative and efficient. Just the opposite: Like any large institution, the military is and has been slow to adjust to changing conditions. (Just ask my WWII veteran Dad what he thinks about Generals and how they ran WWII – you’ll get an earful even though it’s been over 60 years!) But the military can change, and it happens when people like Col. Yingling express doubts and ask questions.

Good point. It was the loss of confidence in the political leadership that troubled me, though. Not that it isn’t largely justified.