William Sturgiss Lind,
Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism
at the Free Congress Foundation, is a native
of Cleveland, Ohio, born July 9, 1947. He
graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
from Dartmouth College in 1969 and received
a Master's Degree in History from Princeton
University in 1971. He worked as a legislative
aide for armed services for Senator Robert
Taft, Jr., of Ohio from 1973 through 1976
and held a similar position with Senator Gary
Hart of Colorado from 1977 through 1986. He
joined Free Congress Foundation in 1987.
Lind is author of the Maneuver Warfare Handbook
(Westview Press, 1985); co-author, with Gary
Hart, of America Can Win: The Case for Military
Reform (Adler & Adler, 1986); and co-author,
with William H. Marshner, of Cultural Conservatism:
Toward a New National Agenda (Free Congress
Foundation, 1987). He has written extensively
for both popular media, including The Washington
Post, The New York Times, and Harper's, and
professional military journals, including
The Marine Corps Gazette, U.S. Naval Institute
Proceedings and Military Review.
co-authored the prescient article, "The Changing
Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation,"
which was published in The Marine Corps Gazette
in October, 1989 and which first propounded
the concept of "Fourth Generation War." Mr.
Lind and his co-authors predicted that states
would increasingly face threats not from other
states, but from non-state forces whose primary
allegiance was to their religion, ethnic group
or ideology. Following the events of September
11, 2001, the article has been credited for
its foresight by The New York Times Magazine
and The Atlantic Monthly.
Mr. Lind is co-author
with Paul M. Weyrich of the monograph: "Why
Islam is a Threat to America and The West."
He is the author of "George W. Bush's `War
on Terrorism': Faulty Strategy and Bad Tactics?"
Both were published in 2002 by the Free Congress
Normally, the position of Chief of Staff of the Army is the ultimate brass
ring an Army officer can hope to grab. There is no higher Army job, and
merely holding it guarantees a man at least a small place in the history
books -- though not necessarily a favorable one. In fact, the last Army
Chief of Staff to merit Clio's praise was General "Shy" Meyer, who held the
post twenty years ago. Since he left, the Army has been stuck in a
Brezhnevite "era of stagnation."
It is therefore surprising that at present, no one seems willing to take the
job, nor the position of Vice Chief. Both current incumbents leave this
summer, and instead of the usual line of hopefuls standing hat in hand, the
eligibles have headed for the hills. Rumor has it they may have to recruit
the hall porter and the charwoman.
The interesting question is why. Part of the answer is Secretary of Defense
Donald H. Rumsfeld. To put it plainly, Rumsfeld treats people like crap.
Working for him is like working for Leona Helmsley, except that Leona is
less self-centered. Unless you are one of his sycophants, equipped with a
good set of knee-pads and plenty of lip balm, you can expect to be booted
down the stairs on a regular basis.
Truth be told, some senior officers deserve to be treated that way, because
that is how they always treated their subordinates. But Rummy does not
discriminate between perfumed princes and the real thinkers and leaders. He
has driven more than one of the latter to hang up his hat in disgust, to his
service's and the nation's loss.
But that is not the whole story. Part of the reason no one wants the Army's
top job are two fundamental contradictions in the Administration's policy
toward the Army. Unless they are resolved, any Army Chief of Staff will
find himself in a difficult position.
The first contradiction is that the Administration puts the Army last in
line among the services at the same time that it is getting us into wars
only the Army can fight. We are already fighting one Fourth Generation war
in Afghanistan, we are becoming enmired up to our necks in another Fourth
Generation war in Iraq, and we are sticking our noses into still more in the
Philippines, maybe Indonesia, and possibly Iran.
Only the Army can fight Fourth Generation war, to the degree anyone can (and
no one really knows how). The Navy is irrelevant, the Air Force almost
irrelevant, and the Marines want to get in and get out, fast, while Fourth
Generation war plays itself out with agonizing slowness. Volens nolens, the
Army is left holding the bag.
Logically, that should make the Army the Administration's focus, its
Schwerpunkt. Instead, OSD is in love with the Air Force, to the point where
it wants to make the Army into a second Air Force, waging the high-tech,
video-game warfare that exists only in the minds of children and Pentagon
That leads to the second contradiction. The Army needs and has long needed
genuine military reform. Reform means such basic changes as adopting Third
Generation, maneuver warfare doctrine and the culture of decentralization
and initiative that goes with it; instituting a radically different
personnel system that creates cohesive units, eliminates the bloat in the
officer corps above the company grades and suppresses rather than mandates
careerism; making free play training the norm rather than a rare exception;
and getting rid of dual standards for men and women.
Secretary Rumsfeld also preaches reform, but what he means by reform is just
more of the high-tech illusion. Again, the Air Force is the model: the more
a system costs and the more complex it is, the better it must be. The
result is absurdities such as the Stryker, where Light Armored Vehicles,
which are wonderful for operational maneuver, are instead to be used for
urban combat where they will be instant coffins for their crews, and the
Future Combat System, a conglomeration of robots, tanks, drones and kitchen
sinks that surpasses anything envisioned by Rube Goldberg. Meanwhile, the
real reforms so badly needed go unaddressed.
In the face of all this, becoming Chief of Staff of the Army is somewhat
less enticing than becoming mayor of Baghdad. But at the same time, it
leaves the troops desperately in need of not just a Chief of Staff, but of a
highly talented and morally courageous Chief of Staff, someone who can
defend his men against the follies emanating from the civilian side of the
Pentagon. Those who know him believe the current Vice Chief, General John
M. "Jack" Keane, is such a man. Some think he could be the Army's Al Gray,
the reforming Commandant of the Marine Corps of the early 1990s who left an
enduring and powerful legacy. So far, General Keane is refusing the job, on
the legitimate grounds of his wife's health problems. Many are praying he
will reconsider. If the job goes instead to one of Rummy's lickspittles,
God help our soldiers.