I was reading a blog post by Peter Munson when I was amused to see him mention a certain Brigadier General. Why? Because this officer who served as the spokeman for the coalition in Iraq in 2004 had previously served in an office where I had to interact with him over the phone. I will always remember him saying: you are not stupid, just your ideas. What an incredibly stupid thing to say. And the funny thing was that I was calling him about a set of proposed stances the Joint Staff was examining--not my ideas. Oh, and, by the way, the ideas were not stupid at all--how to reduce American troops in Kosovo by sharing responsibility in a sector.
But to have this ace communicator, well known as a dick as one tweeter put it today, be the public face of the US military in Iraq in 2004 when everything else was going wrong, well, that was perfect.
Not that my year (exactly ten years ago) was one of Steve brilliance. I remember the consternation folks would have when I would have to spell out my name on the phone: Saideman--S as in Sam, A as in Apple, ... instead of Sierra Alpha Indigo Delta ....
Ah, good times. The funny thing was that I was always told that the best and brightest folks in the military were those who were on the Joint Staff. I would tease back, saying that these are the only folks I know, so I cannot be sure. And then officers like the one Munson and I have both encountered tended to prove the generalization true. Those who got their "Joint" qualification elsewhere were not so stunningly bright--Tommy Franks would be another such genius (actually, hard to tell from his bio where he got his Joint qualification).
All I can say is I am glad I have tenure. It buys me heaps of insurance from the Kimmits and Franks of the academic world, folks who have been promoted far beyond their capability.
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