Friday, December 17, 2010

Very Serious People

From a DOD-sponsored distance learning class that I am currently taking on military logistics, one of the lessons is a cautionary tale about the man, who at the time, was the chief warrior of the United States of America. This lesson deals with the logistics of the initial days of the Iraq war in 2003.  I quote the entire lesson, it's short:

"Bring war materiels with you first, then forage on the enemy." -Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu always emphasized the need to be prepared to go to war at any time, be able to take with you what you need, and not have to return to resupply.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld made the decision to deploy mostly combat units in the weeks before the invasion, and held back Army and Marine Corps logistics and support units. Battalions of tanks and armored vehicles dashed forward in pursuit of the enemy, leaving behind a trail of broken-down vehicles because there were no repair parts. Some units even ran dangerously low on ammunition and had problems getting resupplied. Others that needed M-16 rounds received unneeded tank shells instead.

An important lesson, "Bring with you what you need," was not learned.

General Paul Kern noted in an interview that "American forces managed to prevail only because of the creative ability of individual soldiers to pull the pieces together. They are the heroes."

Bottom line: beware of Very Serious People. Don’t be in awe of them, for often they are stunningly wrong.


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