Author Topic: Worst US General?  (Read 9774 times)

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Offline bayonetbrant

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Worst US General?
« on: April 20, 2012, 09:22:20 AM »
Let me start with this caveat - if you instantly blow your stack by saying Tom Ricks is a know-nothing asshat who doesn't deserve to talk about the military, you're barking up the wrong tree.  The guy is a very knowledgeable and experience defense journalist with a deep understanding of the military and national security issues.

That doesn't mean you have to agree with his opinions, especially on this one.

This is from a while ago, but still worth a discussion -
The Worst Generals in American History

His ranking?
Quote
1. Douglas MacArthur
2. Benedict Arnold
3. Ned Almond
4. Tommy R. Franks
5. William Westmoreland
6. George McClellan
7. Ambrose Burnside
8. Horatio Gates

Now, he doesn't elaborate on anyone but Macarthur, and most of the discussion on the page focuses on Mac, but I would be interested to hear his reasonings behind several of the others on the list, as well as the omissions of a few.

Here are his thoughts on Macarthur
Quote
It was my contest, so I declared MacArthur the No. 1 loser, because of his unique record of being insubordinate to three presidents (Hoover, Roosevelt and Truman) as well as screwing up the Korean War. Plus additional negative points for his role in the gassing and suppression of the Bonus Marchers in 1932. You can't defend a country by undermining it.

It really is extraordinary how the Army has extirpated his memory. The influence of Marshall, Eisenhower and Bradley lives on, while MacArthur has been treated as a historical dead end. Kind of amazing, considering he was a general for 26 years, was the Army chief of staff, received the Medal of Honor, fought in three wars and was a senior commander in two.


Discuss...
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Offline LongBlade

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2012, 09:25:47 AM »
Tommy Franks? Hmmm.

Offline Centurion40

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2012, 12:04:09 PM »
MacArthur was the worst US General because he was insubordinate??  Honestly, I wouldn't even rate that as a factor in judging the worth of a General.
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Offline MIGMaster

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2012, 12:16:48 PM »
A guess a definition of worst or a terms of reference is probably necessary.....

Offline mirth

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2012, 01:02:47 PM »
I'm on board with most of that list. Ned Almond should probably be #2 behind MacArthur. Not sure if Tommy Franks deserves the top 10. Seems like Mark Clark or Custer would have a place on the list before him.
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Offline Mr. Bigglesworth

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2012, 01:05:13 PM »
MacArthur was the worst US General because he was insubordinate??  Honestly, I wouldn't even rate that as a factor in judging the worth of a General.


Strategy blunders would be the most important factor IMO.
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Offline Mr. Bigglesworth

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2012, 01:19:01 PM »
Tommy Franks? Hmmm.


From wiki:
According to Time magazine, on 21 November 2003, Franks said that in the event of another terrorist attack, American constitutional liberties might be discarded by popular demand in favor of a military state. Discussing the hypothetical dangers posed to the US in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks, Franks said that “the worst thing that could happen” is if terrorists acquire and then use a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon that inflicts heavy casualties. If that happens, Franks said, “... the Western world, the free world, loses what it cherishes most, and that is freedom and liberty we’ve seen for a couple of hundred years in this grand experiment that we call democracy.” Franks then offered “in a practical sense” what he thinks would happen in the aftermath of such an attack.
“It means the potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world – it may be in the United States of America – that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event. Which in fact, then begins to unravel the fabric of our Constitution."
"[No] one in this country probably was more surprised than I when weapons of mass destruction were not used against our troops as they moved toward Baghdad," said Franks on 2 December 2005.[4]


Is it normal for generals to imagine throwing away our way of life to respond to an attack with Military dictatorship? It seems to me that if a country responds to something with a massive distortion of its culture it is doomed to lose. Look at how the world has changed because a handful of freaks did an attack on a free society. Trillions spent by countries across half the globe. Civil liberties chopped. New secret police (to use an inflammatory phrase from another thread) bureaucracies set up. It must give the other nutbars a real sense of power. I'm afraid it is losing the culture war.
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Offline mirth

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2012, 01:29:02 PM »
I don't read that as Franks advocating or supporting a military dictatorship, but expressing it as a possible outcome in the event of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction.
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Offline Jack Nastyface

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2012, 01:35:55 PM »
Why would you put Mark Clark on that list?  I understand that the campaign into Italy was very difficult (doomed to be so, even before it started) but it was initiated by Stalin's demands for a second front.  Someone had to do the job and Clark pulled the short straw.

Or am I missing lots?

I've heard other military analysts talk about Tommy Franks...it would appear that their biggest gripe is that his plan to defeat Saddam was based on rushing to baghdad and "toppling the regime" (aka - Star Wars trench run) instead of securing the boarders and then attacking resistance centres.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2012, 01:44:21 PM by Jack Nastyface »
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Offline Jarhead0331

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2012, 01:45:01 PM »
What about William Westmoreland?  Is he on the list simply because history tells us that we lost the war? There are probably few Generals with as many combat victories as this guy.  Heck, the US military under his command practically won every major engagement.
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Offline mirth

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2012, 02:00:44 PM »
Why would you put Mark Clark on that list?  I understand that the campaign into Italy was very difficult (doomed to be so, even before it started) but it was initiated by Stalin's demands for a second front.  Someone had to do the job and Clark pulled the short straw.

Everything I've read about Mark Clark, in the Italian campaign in particular, is that his generalship was poor and he was far more concerned about his own self-promotion than defeating the Germans. His decision to advance into Rome instead of cutting off the Germans after the Anzio breakout is considered a major blunder made for the sake of headlines.
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Offline Mr. Bigglesworth

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2012, 02:00:50 PM »
I don't read that as Franks advocating or supporting a military dictatorship, but expressing it as a possible outcome in the event of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction.


Sure. The problem is he is also saying wastern civ is a fragile balloon that will implode from any attack. It stuck me that he feels the only way to win is to revert to dictatorship. Command and control of all the nation's resources. To me that is a fail.
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Online Staggerwing

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2012, 02:04:07 PM »
I don't read that as Franks advocating or supporting a military dictatorship, but expressing it as a possible outcome in the event of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction.

Same here. I see it as a warning for vigilance against another major attack because he worries that Americans could actually give away their liberties willingly if they are frightened enough and destroy America as we know it.
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Offline mirth

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2012, 02:16:44 PM »
I don't read that as Franks advocating or supporting a military dictatorship, but expressing it as a possible outcome in the event of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction.

Same here. I see it as a warning for vigilance against another major attack because he worries that Americans could actually give away their liberties willingly if they are frightened enough and destroy America as we know it.

That's how I read it. As a warning if an attack with weapons of mass destruction resulted in massive civilian casualties it would drive us toward a dictatorship.
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Offline LongBlade

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Re: Worst US General?
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2012, 02:23:15 PM »
I don't read that as Franks advocating or supporting a military dictatorship, but expressing it as a possible outcome in the event of a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction.


Sure. The problem is he is also saying wastern civ is a fragile balloon that will implode from any attack. It stuck me that he feels the only way to win is to revert to dictatorship. Command and control of all the nation's resources. To me that is a fail.

Total fail.

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