There was an interview with General Norman Schwartzcopf shortly before he died. He was originally hesitant to accept the role as commander in chief of the forces involved in the Desert Storm (the 1st Gulf War). Eventually, he came around and told Colin Powel he would take the job but “he would call them when it was over”. Essentially, he already lived through the nightmare that was Vietnam when the day to day minutiae of fighting a war was coming from the Whitehouse. He said all he needed was the general orders – what did they want him to do. Nothing more. He wasn’t going to run the war from a telephone cord back to Washington D.C.
When you think about it, it is a very concrete philosophy. How can some clown in a blue suit, sitting on a sofa in Washington D.C. understand what the soldier sitting in a humvee, in 122 degree heat, facing hundreds of the enemy needed to do?
More recently, during the Obama Administration, we had the full hands on mess that was Bengazi. Another example of too much hands on and not enough listening to the folks in the field.
And now, we have the absolute waste of a loss of 13 soldiers during a pull out because the day to day orders were coming from Washington D.C. by a bunch of people who never served, who had no clue as to what the ground situation was or simply didn’t believe it, had no tactical skills what so ever, had no experience in military pull outs, and (we’ll find out in years to follow) either didn’t listen to the intelligence during the daily briefings, or simply disregarded it.
Lesson: tell the military what to do in terms of your goal and then get the fuck out of the way.