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‘Leadership’ is the military’s snake oil

Stashed in: Leadership!, Military!, war

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Our infatuation with leadership seems to be a nostalgic harkening back to a time when the individual, rather than the machine, held sway. As the military becomes increasingly technological and run by specialists (which is to say, by the senior enlisted troops who actually understand the machinery), the function of the officers overseeing them becomes unclear. Draping these officers in the cloak of leadership is a sign of frustration and impotence, not of strength.

Exacerbating the problem is that nowadays the military seems to lack a clear mission: What exactly was the benefit of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? Because the military can’t plausibly tell its officers that they’re defending their country from the enemy, as it could in World War II, it appeals to their pride and desire for purpose by assuring them they’re better people—leaders—than the civilians they’re meant to defend. And this goes to their heads.

Yes, what WAS the benefit of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Other than greasing the engine of the military industrial complex...

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