Thursday, July 26, 2007

Love this Photo

I really want this framed:

Courtesy of the National Security Archive


Army Colonel H.R. McMaster was passed up for promotion to Brigadier General for the second time this week. McMaster, a veritable military genius and rock star is responsible for one of the few successes in our Iraq campaign, with the successful pacification of Tal Afar. In the Gulf War McMaster was awarded a Silver Star for his leadership at the Battle of 73 Easting, which was subsequently chronicled by Tom Clancy. In the intellectual realm, McMaster’s doctoral thesis at UNC transformed into the book Dereliction of Duty, which now an influential text about the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Vietnam.

Col. McMaster is the target of a political hatchet job. I imagine he stuck it to the bureaucracy one to many times, was shown to be right one to many times, and made too many bureaucratic and political enemies. This is a damn shame. Col. McMaster is exactly the type of man our nation needs and deserves to serve as a flag officer.

In face of this political hackery, the words of my idol, Air Force Col. John Boyd resonate particularly well:

"Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road,” he said. “And you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go.” He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed another direction.

“Or you can go that way and you can do something – something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference.” He paused and stared into the officer’s eyes and heart. “To somebody be or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do. Which way will you go?