Posts Tagged ‘armed forces’

The Straight and Narrow

Posted in General on February 4th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – 5 Comments

For too long, the young and impressionable members of our armed forces have been molested by a flamboyant, theatrical clique known as officers.  Adorned in ribbons and spangles, these strutting coxcombs routinely accost the enlistees, demanding unnatural acts of submission and degradation.  No one willingly does 50 pushups.

And for too long, we have tried to ignore the brazen, outlandish conduct of officers.  Liberal etiquette tells us that it is only a matter of lifestyle and that we should judge the officers solely on their military ability.  But that is the problem!  Officers are inherently incompetent.  History proves it.

In the annals of war, victory has often been determined by which side had the fewer officers.  Consider these examples: 

Agincourt, 1415: 6,000 Englishmen confronted 30,000 Frenchmen.  But the French force was chiefly comprised of knights.  That is the equivalent of an army of second lieutenants.  How do you coordinate 30,000 megalomaniacs?  They were preoccupied with their appearance, not with such mundane drudgery as tactics.  The English massacred them.

English Civil War, 1642-1649:  As the axe descended on his neck, the soon-to-be-late Charles I had the consolation that his cavaliers were quite good poets.  Unfortunately, while finding rhymes, they lost battles. They had been defeated by dour farmers who had no panache but knew the lay of the land from plowing it.  (Yes, the Roundheads had poets too, but John Milton had no delusions of military ability.)

American Revolution (you should know the dates):  By this time, the British Army had abandoned any hope or pretense of competence.  Its officers had achieved their commissions by buying them.  The classic example was General John Burgoyne.  When he surrendered at Saratoga, Burgoyne had with him 30 carts of luggage, a wine cellar, someone else’s wife, and what was left of 9,000 men. The general had simply intended to march his army from Canada to Albany, N.Y., but he had chosen an itinerary through forests, swamps and 20,000 American troops-led by amateurs.  

French Revolution, 1789-1815: Taking the guillotine as a hint, most of the French officer corps fled the country.  Led by its more assertive sergeants and corporals, the French army soon overran most of Europe.  Unfortunately, those sergeants and corporals then promoted themselves to Dukes, Princes and-in one case of overreaching-Emperor.  They stopped thinking like soldiers and began acting like officers, invading Spain and Russia without any idea how to win there.

World War I:  According to the laws of physics, a machine gun bullet is faster than an infantryman.  The officers of Europe spent five years testing that axiom.  At least, the British officer proved that he could still write good poetry. 

Viet Nam:  Modern technology-and PhD. programs– produced a new species of officers.  Military consultants have all debilities of traditional officers and do not even have the physical ability to do chin-ups.  They wage war with flow charts.  The military consultants were certain of victory because they went to Ivy League schools and Ho Chi Minh did not. 

And Afghanistan/Iraq:  See Viet Nam. 

I realize that some historians, military re-enactors and Jeopardy fans can think of competent, even excellent, officers.  Yes, I can name too:  Alexander the Great, Richard the Lion-Hearted, Frederick the Great and Lawrence of Arabia.   But they are the exceptions.

If only all our officers were gay.