This weekend I did a lot of channel surfing. Each Memorial Day, we are treated to a variety of war movies - mainly World War II movies. It was a good review of events.
1. The Republican candidate for president, who has never served in public office (elected or appointed) or in the military, claims he is equipped to be president because he attended a private military high school.
No he isn't.
More to the point, to even utter such a claim reveals an incredible level of contempt for the profession of arms and the skill and knowledge of the Americans who practice it.
2. Over the past few days, I re watched "The Longest Day" and "A Bridge Too Far." a good contrast between the results of good military planning (D-Day) and over-optimistic and over-confident planning (Operation Market Garden).
Over confidence isn't uncommon in human conflict. A recent example was when George W. Bush's chicken hawk staff dismissed General Shinseki's estimate of the requirements to occupy Iraq. Apparently they thought Shinseki just scribbled a guess on the back of an envelope. That's not how professional military planners work. Shinseki's was a staff estimate, not a guess. And it was pretty accurate.
3. Our Constitution establishes civilian control of the military. For this to work, we can't require presidents to themselves be military professionals. But they need to take the profession seriously and to treat the profession with respect.
That's a challenge.