Blunderer in Chief

Dec. 1, 2009


Michael McBride

I’ve read the dictionary definition of blunderer (2: to make a mistake through stupidity, ignorance, or carelessness), and I it believe it is somewhat incomplete.

There is another aspect to blundering that is missing from this definition, and it centers about ego and blind arrogance.

While I fully agree with the Webster definition, it seems that many blunders are less chance events, and more driven by egocentric individuals, blinded by their own will and arrogance.

Napoleon’s and Hitler’s invasions of Russia. Custer’s final battle with the Sioux. The United States’ escalation in Vietnam.

All blunders and all purposefully driven by the egos of those involved.

Napoleon should have recognized that the sheer size of Russia made it impossible to hold or subjugate, even if it could be have been conquered.

By many accounts Custer lacked an appreciation of the Sioux’s battlefield skills, and he is known for having over-inflated his own tactical abilities. He gave a demonstration of this lack of respect for the enemy by dividing his forces and pursuing the offense in spite of many tactical clues that could have resulted in far less devastation to the 7th Cavalry at Little Big Horn.

Hitler should have learned from Napoleon, and he should have also considered the items added by me above. He should have also been able to predict that opening a second front, one that dwarfed the first front in its vastness, would be problematic for many reasons, but it is well known that sound strategy and logic was rejected in favor of his egotism.

Collectively, the United States overestimated its post-World War Two abilities and grossly underestimated the powerful nationalistic force that drove the North Vietnamese. Early we were only lightly engaged as advisors, but we quickly and arrogantly turned it into a war infused with business like calculations and predictive results that centered only on our view of the world, our calculations, and our massive military capability. We completely, and arrogantly, blundered into a war that would bog us down for more than a decade by ignoring other inputs, such as the will and motivation of our adversary and their determination to defeat us. We were befuddled and mystified when they did.

Webster should find away to work the words, arrogance, blinded and ego into their definition.

President Obama is lining up two make two of the largest blunders he could make as a President, and both will cost American lives.

Not his health care rationing and economic redistribution plan. Not his farcical “stimulus” program, which is nothing more than a higher form of vote buying. And not the Administration’s fumbling of the H1N1 vaccine program.

I am talking about Obama’s new role as Military-Tactician-in-Chief and his adjunct role as Prosecutor-in-Chief.

Each of the Services has an operational planning school for senior captains. In the Marine Corps this school is known as Amphibious Warfare School. Graduates leave the school with an in depth knowledge of operational planning and staff planning for amphibious operations.

One of the techniques used to focus planning efforts is the development of courses of action or “COAs.” In COA development, captains are limited to developing only three possible plans. What becomes readily apparent after a couple of these planning exercises, is that there are rarely three equally appealing COAs to choose from.

One COA typically stands out as being the best strategic choice based on lessons learned from similar operations and a reasonable comparison to the well understood Principles of War.

The next COA is often appealing from an “outside-the-box” perspective, because it is not typically the “textbook” solution. But COA number two almost always has more inherent risk.

COA three is usually a non-starter. It generally falls far from conventional wisdom and experience, and it usually carries an inordinate amount of risk compared to the other choices. Continued..


2 thoughts on “Blunderer in Chief

  1. The “Resident in Chief” cant find his ass with both hadns in the dark, what makes him thing he should have in put into troop levels? His experience with the economy and running GM?

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