May 1, 2011  

Rational thinking

Gen. Martin Dempsey’s article about building critical thinking into leader development (AFJ, March) was interesting and well-intentioned, but who should he be talking about? Critical thinking is fine, but it is just more “buzz words” like “agile and adaptive leaders” and “mission command.” With every state in the union in some type of fiscal crisis and a national debt that we cannot afford, it is not the officer corps that needs to think “critically” but our leaders who have the gall to lecture us about it who should think “rationally.” They are the muddle-headed super-bureaucrats who insisted Iraq had WMDs, and when that was proven false, said it did not really matter because Saddam Hussein was a bad guy anyway. They were the ones who did not analyze the mission to Afghanistan properly and did not send enough forces to eliminate Osama bin Laden and his terrorists.

The current fiasco in Libya is another good example. First it was said that we would only support the “no fly” zone, but then it turned out that we are leading the effort with a four-star general in charge. We are hoist with our own petard by the Arab nations and some others that like to criticize us. All because our leaders did not use “critical thinking.”

I do not think the officer corps needs to be lectured about critical thinking when those doing the lecturing cannot even remember the lessons of Vietnam and the disastrous mistakes that got us embroiled tin the Middle East just 10 years ago. Critical thinking, my foot! Our leaders just need to use some common sense. Rational thinking, not critical thinking, is what is needed; and it is the top leadership that needs to go to school on it.

Lt. Col. Thomas D. Morgan (ret.), Army

Steilacoom, Wash.