I am very proud that since releasing my book Crisis of Command three months ago, we sold over 22K copies, and we did that without great store placement. We made the USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-seller list. For the rest of my life, I will continue seeking the reforms outlined in the book. But my vision is, and always has been, about the future. My writing, focus, and thoughts are being pulled forward… as I hope we all feel. 2022, for me, was all about closing a chapter. 2023, for me, will be all about starting a new chapter.
But before moving on to the next chapter… one reminder… Most writers, commentators, and teachers are critics. They are not doers. If you truly want an education about succeeding in life, surround yourself with the doers, and remain skeptical of those critiquing from the sidelines.
I recently read an article in last month’s Foreign Affairs titled “The Right Wing’s Loyalty Test for the Military.” The author, Risa Brooks, is a University of California San Diego Ph.D. academic without military experience. Yet she went on to become a senior fellow at West Point military institution from 2017 – 2020. She epitomizes the PhDs I illustrated in my book. In my book, I stated, “Too much importance was placed on academic PhDs with zero military experience. It was hard to take them seriously when they lectured me about my views. The PhDs also acted like tenured instructors only willing to put in the minimum effort.” Obviously, this criticism sparked an academic pushback against my thinking.
Risa built her argument in the Foreign Affairs article around the false assumption that “the military is a meritocracy.” This is blatantly false. The problems with the promotion system are clearly delineated in my book. Anyone who has served understands this. Unfortunately, like many others attached to the DoD, she lacks perspective.
Risa then went on to lump my thinking as “right wing” because “the right wing media embraced” me. Risa… I will talk to anyone brave enough to speak with me. The deeper question you should ask yourself is why the “left wing” media wouldn’t bring me on despite my best efforts and despite them initially covering my story. Or… better yet… what if instead of deflecting toward right and left politics, we objectively came together and analyzed the problems in the military and sought to reform them? Are we so divided that losing wars in a dramatically incompetent fashion becomes political finger pointing without objective criticism and accountability?
Are we so divided that losing wars in a dramatically incompetent fashion becomes political finger pointing without objective criticism and accountability?
Foreign Affairs… do better. I hope in the years to come, there are more people brave enough to push back against the inexperienced educated class standing in the way of true reform. If not, over time, inevitably, a stronger external force will drive the reform laid out in my book Crisis of Command.
We Can’t ALL Be Wrong.