The Buck Stops Where?

One of the more lasting effects of spending almost 6 years on active duty is a deep and abiding cynicism about human behavior in organizations. It’s served me much better than the crap dished out in grad school about the same topic. Today, I find news that the Army, the organization that helped me become the bitter cynical person I am today, is behaving true to type. It’s business as usual for the officer corps.

Phil Carter has an excellent post up on the whole sorry mess. He is, however, a former officer and so does not view the affair with quite the degree of bitterness a former enlisted soldier can muster up. Honestly, did anybody think the IG was going to take down a 3 star general for anything less than bloodstained hands and a smoking gun? If you thought that was even a remote possibility, you need to pull your head out of your fourth point of contact. That just wasn’t gonna happen. LTG Sanchez is a team player and a member in good standing of the club. Who’s getting hung out to dry? The NoGo bitch and a bunch of peons. BG Karpinski was wearing a big fat target from the word go. In addition to being in the Guard, she’s also female. Anybody that doesn’t think that matters, go to the back of the class and try again. The officer corps of the US Army, once again, has decided to protect careers instead of facing the hard facts and laying blame.

You really should go read Phil Carter’s whole post. Mr. Carter’s analysis is spot on and includes this devastating critique:
I dare say that this story sends a staggeringly bad message to the soldiers and junior leaders now on the front lines: we will hold you, your sergeants and your lieutenants responsible for their actions, but we will not hold your colonels and generals responsible for theirs. It is hard to see how that message can possibly support the "good order and discipline" which is so essential for maintaining an effective fighting force.
The only flaw is his analysis comes from making the unjustified assumption that command responsibility means anything anymore. Apparently it doesn’t.


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