View Full Version : If you read one Sunday op-ed...

07-13-2008, 04:08 PM
If you read one Sunday op-ed... (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/07/if-you-read-one-sunday-oped/)

... read this one - An Army That Learns (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/11/AR2008071102548.html) by David Ignatius of The Washington Post. Here are the opening paragraphs:

The U.S. Army has done something remarkable in its new history of the disastrous first 18 months of the American occupation of Iraq: It has conducted a rigorous self-critique of how bad decisions were made, so that the Army won't make them again.

Civilian leaders are still mostly engaged in a blame game about Iraq, pointing fingers to explain what went wrong and to justify their own actions. That's certainly the tone of recent memoirs by Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense, and L. Paul Bremer, the onetime head of the Coalition Provisional Authority. These were the people making policy, yet they treat the key mistakes as other people's fault. Feith criticizes Bremer and the CIA, while Bremer chides former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the military for ignoring his advice that the United States didn't have enough troops.

The Army can't afford this sort of retroactive self-justification. Its commanders and soldiers are the ones who got stuck with the situation in Iraq and had to make it work as best they could. And this internal history, published last month under the title "On Point II," testifies to the Army's strength as a learning organization. (This study covers May 2003 to January 2005. An earlier volume, "On Point," chronicled the initial assault on Baghdad.)...

Key Quote

Politicians repeat, ad nauseam, the maxim that "those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." The U.S. Army is that rare institution in American life that is actually putting this precept into practice.


On Point (http://cgsc.leavenworth.army.mil/carl/download/csipubs/OnPointI.pdf) - Through 1 May 2003.

On Point II (http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/CSI/OnPointIIa.pdf) - May 2003 to January 2005.

07-13-2008, 05:05 PM
a big pat on the back to those in the Army and those working for the Army that participate in this blog. I think you all have had a great influence on shifting the rudder of the giant ship that is the U.S. Army over the past few years.

07-14-2008, 12:51 AM
Today was the mid-mission AAR for my students during my exercise. I used this piece to hammer home the point about learning from one's mistakes. I then followed it up with the argument on keeping one's skills sharp in HIC as well as COIN. In a sense, my AAR today was built by the SWJ crew. Thanks! ;)

07-14-2008, 05:54 AM
He is a must read for intelligence related matters. A couple of his novels are outstanding.

Bravo, to the Army for being a learning organization capable of learning from it's mistakes. Now if that could be transmitted to our civilian "leadership".......