But, I have a hard time being receptive to his so-vaunted opinions when he popped smoke on the Army after a shitty war and now writes about it on the internet. Seems a cheap cop-out instead of being a West Point officer to look up to and inspire a betterment of the service, working his way to the top and affecting real change where he could.
In short, thanks for posting it, but he's still a crochety old scrotum.
[caveat] But at least he's a crotchety old scrotum who served. [/caveat]
I don't know, I find a lot of the guy's opinions quite admirable and fairly educated. He does have that "I know better" thing laced through his writing but all self-sufficient bloggers tend to do that. He's talking from experience, if not his own then it's interviews with acquaintances from the other branches of the US military.
I mean he's preaching about stupidity and glorification, two things that the US military seems to suffer from a great deal. That may sound unfair, I'm not saying that all septic soldiers are morons but simply suggesting that they would be even better at what they did if the organisation were less obsessed with it's reputation and it's practises.
Reading the Ranger article was interesting, I've spent some time often wondering what the **** Rangers were actually supposed to do. Their training sounded like a shittier, less practical version of what the commando's go through. Lives are risked, people are flunked for no reason and now officers need to get that 'Ranger badge' in order to get promoted at a reasonable rate throughout their career. It really was an interesting read.
I agree he does have some good points, but I'd be careful about taking anything he says too seriously, as any cogent points he made are severely underscored by his tone and the fact that he chose not to invest himself in this particular organization. I respect his choice, his service and his opinion, but you don't get to leave a team and then criticize how they go about things. As a tax payer, he gets to vote on things affecting the military, beyond that; not interested. His "inside scoop" is forty years old and most of his cited references are from similarly disaffected individuals; a veritable circle-jerk of self-important naysaying.
I'm more inclined to take his stuff as a snapshot of his time, rather than a valid statement on how things work because he spends so much time just criticizing. The "constructive" part tends to be few and far between. The problems with the US military are not simply problems with the US military; they're systemic issues with the culture of H'MURRIKAA itself. He does have plenty of truth scattered through to give himself viability, but it's mostly his opinion and it's obvious he doesn't regard anything to do with the military as worth doing. He talks out of his ass plenty, too, and it's pretty obvious he doesn't hold much esteem for the establishment, even going so far as to call himself a critic of the military. He doesn't differentiate between belonging to the 75th Ranger Regiment (an actual high-mobility, highly-trained light infantry unit which tends to serve as the big-gun backup for SF guys that get into trouble) and earning your Ranger tab (which means you went to Ranger school; which is simply a difficult leadership school focusing on small unit movement and combat techniques).
Can we be better? Absolutely. All organisations can. Will we get better? Not with a wave of an outdated magic blogger-wand, that's for sure. It's made all the more charming by the fact that he coddlingly states that he is simply fighting the good fight and cannot stand idly by whilst this discussion needs to happen, etc, etc, etc.
I'll even admit that the US military is pretty damn obsessed with its own ways, but it's not too surprising if you think about it. Sometimes idiot teenagers do things the hard way on purpose just so that they can say they did it on their own. A lot of what America does has kind of a sense to it if you take it from the angle that we're really rather insecure and trying to prove that we're an adult country now instead of just a rich git from across the pond.
Further, the US military suffers from the same thing all national militaries suffer from, right now; excessive micromanagement from civilian leaders and a fickle public. Public information is at an unprecedented level aided by a lightning fast global telecommunications network, tainted by completely irresponsible media outlets preventing any armed force from cutting loose and conducting war as it must be conducted to win.
And since I've rather strayed off-topic, here I'll stay.