Noonan: An epidemic of egomania strikes America's civilian and military leadership

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TylerR's picture

Editor

Modesty is a rare virtue. Noonan does make a point with her article, but I want to clarify some facts first;

1. Petreaus is pictured in his dress uniform in her article. For formal photos, officers and enlisted are "encouraged" to wear their full ribbons, etc. You may wear just the top row (the most important) if you wish, but realistically speaking, this just isn't done for formal situations like official photos or testifying in front of Congress.

2. She mentioned that Eisenhower wasn't wearing anything fancy as he slogged ashore after D-Day. Lovely point, and I doubt Petreaus or any other U.S. Army General officer wore anything but their ACUs in theater either. Her point is moot.

Her overarching point about egomania and award of medals and citations for literally everything is legitimate. I deeply respect Petreaus for his military achievements in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the most respected military officer since Eisenhower, and deservedly so. Let's not make him the focal point for the legitimate, larger issue Noonan is addressing.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

GregH's picture

Yawn... Yes, in the good ole days, people just were not arrogant like they are today. There was not the abuse of power.  Yea, right....

And we are supposed to believe that because Peggy Noonan tells so. She apparently searched history and could not find any examples of boorish mistresses that bragged or public officials who were vain.

I have no idea whether her theory is correct or not. But the events of a few boorish people this week do not make her point. Not her finest article...

TylerR's picture

Editor

I have never agreed with the pathetic pandering we give our four stars, in every service. I don't care how many stars they have, they don't deserve all the perks they get. You are a military officer, not a dictator.

Petreaus appears to be the foil for the larger point here, but I find the suggestion that hubris and the culture of luxury flag officers become accustomed to was the cause of his downfall ridiculous. Petreaus got into trouble because he is a sinner, like the rest of us. The circumstances surrounding the sin are no more than idle speculation; God knows and so does Petreaus. Let's leave it at that.

The larger point is very well taken. You'll get no argument from me.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

TylerR wrote:

I have never agreed with the pathetic pandering we give our four stars, in every service. I don't care how many stars they have, they don't deserve all the perks they get. You are a military officer, not a dictator.


Well, most of them earned whatever respect they get a lot more than the average politician did, though there are certainly a lot of politics in play for many of the flag ranks. They are not dictators, gods, or anything else like that, and those that treat them so are wrong. Still, there's a reason they are in the positions they are, and respect for their achievements is, IMHO, usually well-deserved.

Petraeus is a sinner like the rest of mankind, but as a military officer, his service is quite admirable, and I'm sure he was an excellent choice for CIA director. He's not an example of spiritual leadership nor should he be.

Dave Barnhart

TylerR's picture

Editor

Sure, they deserve respect. They do not deserve ridiculous perks that ordinary, mere enlisted mortals like I was never had. More to the point, I wouldn't want those silly benefits. It is ridiculous. I don't like it.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

TylerR's picture

Editor

Good one about MacArthur. He really was one arrogant guy . . . I read his biography, American Ceaser, by William Manchester. He was a brilliant commander but extremely arrogant.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Wayne Wilson's picture

Yes, I think in terms of generals, we have always had both in the American tradition.

Grant was simple and modest. Custer was vain and flamboyant.

Omar Bradley was an Everyman. Patton was a a self-absorbed showman.

They were all great generals.

 

jimfrank's picture

When I was stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas there was a two star USAF general in command of the Fighter Weapons Center.  He was promoted to three star rank and was given command of a numbered Air Force, which is a very important combat command.  He brought along a female staff sergeant from Nellis who served him as an administrative type.  This general was busted for adultery, removed from his command, reduced one rank, and forced to retire.  He probably had a chance to become USAF Chief of Staff, but he gave it all away.  This sort of thing is nothing new. 

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Noonan is stupid anymore and proved it with her ignorant praise and support of '08 unqualified and unvetted Obama. That is as gracious as can be stated.

She knows nothing of senior leadership in the military. She knows little of a necessary military culture for its success. Military tenure and increase in rank carries with it increased responsibility and reward, particularly with senior officers. She has commanded nothing, flown zero missions, and developed and answered for zero combat tactics and strategies. The culture of the military requires a clear hierarchy with its duties and privileges.

The problem is not the accoutrements of rank, particularly that of a GO but the failure of that person in such surroundings.