Monday, December 17, 2012

How Eisenhower Stood Up To His Generals

Ike And The Generals -- How Eisenhower Stood Up To His Own Wilitary -- Evan Thomas, Time

Dwight Eisenhower loved the army, in which he served for almost all of his adult life. His favorite form of relaxation, after golf, was to sit down for a drink and swap war stories with some old West Point classmates. When he left the White House in 1961, he puzzled his successor, John F. Kennedy, by asking to be returned to his five-star army rank, which meant that in retirement he would be referred to as “General,” not “Mr. President.”

But to know and love the military was not necessarily to trust it, at least when it came to spending money or deciding when to go to war. As president, Eisenhower kept a skeptical eye on “those boys down at the Pentagon,” as he called them. Eisenhower believed in what he called “The Great Equation,” the balance of security and economic needs. Eisenhower knew, from long experience, not the least as Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, that the military was skillful at getting politicians to pay for unnecessary weapons systems by exaggerating the threat.

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My Comment: What helped Eisenhower the most against his generals was that (after-all) he was the Commander in Chief .... and he had the power to promote or fire his generals. President Obama is definitely no Eisenhower, but he does have the same authority and powers .... and I hope the wisdom to apply Eisenhower's approach to the military.

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