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  • Seriously Pathetic

    Posted by David Foster on September 29th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Here’s one view of life and of leadership, from the French writer and pilot Antoine de St-Exupery:

    ”A chief is a man who takes responsibility.  He does not say, ‘my men were defeated,’ he says, ‘I was defeated.’”

    And here’s a different view  from Barack Obama:

    Well, I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.

    What a pathetic excuse for a leader.

    Nor should anyone kid themselves to the effect that Hillary Clinton would take a significantly more responsible approach to the job of President, or that that she took a serious and responsible approach to her job as Secretary of State—see my post excusing failure by pleading incompetence.  Neither Ms Clinton nor Mr Obama appears to have much understanding of what it actually means to be responsible for running an organization.

    See also my post thoughts on leadership and command, from two writers and a general.  Can anyone imagine Obama or Clinton working to develop the kind of “feel” for an organization describes as being achieved by the fictional Willie Keith, or engaging in the sort of agonizing soul-searching described by the real William Slim?

     

    15 Responses to “Seriously Pathetic”

    1. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Every time I see the name Antoine de St-Exupery, I feel like I should stand and salute. I’m not being facetious. What an impressive and wholly admirable human being.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      Always somebody else’s fault to politicians. Was reading an old post of Lex – someone you & I like – and he was quoting a USMC Sgt – going to Annapolis and “starting over” in the leadership run – but a great quote was “ If you’re not prepared to follow you’re not prepared to lead”

    3. David Foster Says:

      Great phrase from NeoNeocon: Obama the Blame Duck

    4. MikeK Says:

      “Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated”

      That is an interesting construction. It is not an admission by Clapper that they underestimated ISIS. I’m sure he didn’t mean it that way.

      The life of Antoine de St-Exupery sounds much like that of Earnest K Gann whose novels of flying were big items on my reading list as a boy and a college student.

      This quote sounds like Gann and brings up the excellent Vanity Fair article on AF 447

      ” Later he complained that those who flew the more advanced aircraft had become more like accountants than pilots. ” The VF article mentions “Clipper Skippers” as the old opinionated generation of captains. I sent a link to it to a friend who is an airline captain. Like a diminishing share of airline captions, he is ex-military with combat experience.

    5. MikeK Says:

      A good point is made by one of neo-neocon’s commenters.

      “The ONLY source for secularism in Syria is the socialist despot: Assad.

      Even the “FSA” is a total fake. It’s a FRONT. It doesn’t have ANY actual troops. It’s pure media operations 100% of the time.

      If you peal back the covers, you’ll find that ALL of its fighting elements are “affiliates” and that its “top commander” has NO line authority whatsoever. He was selected because of his ‘legend’ — in the spy-world sense.”

      This why I think we are wasting our time with Iraq and Syria but should just napalm all the fighters we can get in the open before they figure it out. We should help the Kurds defend themselves and to form an enclave of security, just as we did with them after 1991. The Yazidis can stay there and, if Israel helps them to train, they may be able to sit out the Muslim Civil War that is coming. Now that Saudi is expendable for us, we have no big dog in this fight. Let ISIS and Iran kill each other. There are a lot of innocent Iranian civilians but they might be able to avoid the battle. They are probably the only secular people in the Middle East outside of Israel.

    6. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Those people who endured and fought WWII … sigh. As they vanish from the world of the living, one by one – can I hope that the memory of them will not? That we can recall how courageous, how stalwart – how determined and how confidant?

      Magic 8-Ball says “hazy -try again”

      Seriously – I just don’t know. I do hope, however.

    7. MikeK Says:

      SGT Mom, I am from the in-between generation. My father was in the Navy in WWI when he was 15. My cousin and lots of family members served in WWII. We lost something with the draft although the Army is better off volunteer. Maybe, if Obama wanted to really imitate Roosevelt, he would have restarted the CCC. That would never fly with his feminist man-hater supporters and his pajama boy voters, though.

      Lots of upper class and upper-middle class college types, except doctors, avoided the draft and Johnson looked the other way because he didn’t want to stir up the opposition that would have caused. He didn’t call up reserves for the same reason. Bush looked small telling people to shop after 9/11 even though he had a serious recession on his hands at the time.

      I think the Democrats had a collective attack of insanity in 1968 and are still not over it. Maybe when a nuke goes off in NY harbor or LA harbor, they will wake up. I am not a fan of invading anyone right now but we need to build the military back up. Nothing avoids war like being prepared for it. The West learned the wrong lesson from WWI.

    8. Roy Says:

      Mike,
      The Volunteer Army model makes war too inexpensive. It does an end run around what I insist as foundational to a nation waging war: sufficient (I’m willing debate percentage here) agreement that it really must go to war.

      Nb that I reject as unworthy of my time any position which does not posit the existence of meanies who require restraint by force. Individuals may have to confront such ugliness, even in a generally lawful society. Nations not only may but certainly will.

      IOW, the question is not “War vs no War”, but “Does this situation warrant war?” If so, then get agreement and wage it with “judicious use of overwhelming force”.

      Along with you, I ponder nukes in harbors. In fact, I remain both surprised and concerned that something like that has not occurred. Surprised, because the technology is not that esoteric and unobtainable as to of itself provide a sufficient barrier. Concerned (albeit with gratefulness both that it exists and that I don’t know about it), because I wonder what degree of sneaky stuff and unknown viciousness has gone on to provide the additional restraint.

    9. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      IOW, the question is not “War vs no War”, but “Does this situation warrant war?” If so, then get agreement and wage it with “judicious use of overwhelming force”

      Really well put.

    10. MikeK Says:

      “The Volunteer Army model makes war too inexpensive. It does an end run around what I insist as foundational to a nation waging war: sufficient (I’m willing debate percentage here) agreement that it really must go to war.”

      What we are dealing with now are constabulary actions that are better done by volunteers. A volunteer army is for national survival situations. What we have now is more like Britain had in the 19th century. They did it well and we are yet to see if we can do it as well. Read Imperial Grunts to see what we are doing or what we were doing before Obama. He will get us all killed. He is an incompetent fool with no idea of what needs to be done.

    11. MikeK Says:

      “Antoine de St-Exupery”

      Apparently, St Exupery was flying a P 38 F 5, another of my interests, when he was lost. Some discussion on the P 38 Facebook site of the details. My license plate frame says “I would rather be flying a P 38.”

    12. ErisGuy Says:

      Obama never pretended he was leader. He is to himself and his followers and organizer and Lightworker, whose purpose is to lead us to uplift us to his morality.

    13. John in KC Says:

      MikeK, if you’re ever up by Superior, Wisconsin the Richard Bong museum excellent and a must for P-38 fans. Being able to say you’ve been to the Bong museum is a plus.

    14. TimL Says:

      I’d be more sympathetic to Clapper if he promptly resigned. If he is responsible, that is the obvious next step. Not resigning means you are not taking responsibility. I don’t really believe Clapper is responsible but that “should” be his response. I know Obama blew off numerous security briefings for more rounds of golf or making out his NCAA bracket, etc.

      This is becoming more common. Disaster happens, official X declares him/her self to be “responble”. There are no consequences. This to me is the opposite of taking responsibility. From Hillary to the Fed in the financial crisis, officials rarely accept responsibility. Obama is staking out a new low in this regard. I guess he figured it’s too late to blame “Bush”.

    15. David Foster Says:

      Leadership as taught at West Point versus leadership as practiced by Barack Obama