Review: Washington Rules
By Andrew Feldman, August 26, 2010
For his first 40 years, Andrew Bacevich lived the conventional life of an army officer. In the military world where success depended on conformity, he followed the rules and “took comfort in orthodoxy…[finding] assurance in conventional wisdom.” Comfort, that is, until he had a chance to peer behind the Iron Curtain, and was shocked to find East Germany more third-world shambles than first-rate threat.
That experience, combined with the introspection that followed his subsequent retirement from the army, led Bacevich to reevaluate the relationship between truth and power. After having taken his superiors at their word for decades, he slowly came to understand “that authentic truth is never simple and that any version of truth handed down from on high…is inherently suspect. The exercise of power necessarily involves manipulation and is antithetical to candor.”
This is a theme that runs throughout the book: that those who make the rules also benefit from them, and thus their demands should always be regarded skeptically.
While abstaining from questioning the patriotism of past leaders, Bacevich is not reluctant to point out how many policies that were later widely embraced were originally trumpeted by ambitious men who had as much to gain personally by their acceptance as did the country: General Curtis LeMay, who built a massive nuclear arsenal as head of Strategic Air Command; Allen Dulles, who backed coups across the globe as CIA director; and General Maxwell Taylor, who rode the idea of “flexible response” from retirement to the position of chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
But Bacevich is not content to only blame leaders. In contrast to George Washington’s ideal of the citizen who would consider it his duty to actively serve his country, Bacevich finds today’s Americans “greedy and gullible,” pursuing personal gain in the stead of collective benefit. Any solution, he argues, must come from an awakened people who demand change from the people they put in office.
Your title of the thread is not the logical conclusion from your initial post.
And, your using the term "deadwood" is incorrect, since "deadwood" correlates to people that are not effective in their jobs, oftentimes due to their skill sets being obsolete.
In the military, people have to maintain their repective skill sets, based on the current technology, or procedures. Possibly, you are outside your arena of expertise, not having been in the military?