I don't think name of the rank matters... nor does the fact that this particular tale happens in the military. This is another example of something fairly common in high stress situation where someone in command has to make a quick decision to avert disaster.
Fire chiefs all of the time have to decide to send in their firefighters, or to pull them out. Making a wrong decision is tragic and sometimes even the right decision is painful. Doctors also make decisions of life or death when treating critical patients.
In each of these cases, you hope that the person in command makes a right decision. In hierarchical organizations, whether it is a firehouse, or a hospital, or a military unit... you have people in command for exactly this reason.
This example isn't making the point that I think Coluber wants to make. Actually the point the Coluber actually wants to make isn't very clear. If the point is that we shouldn't have armies, or nuclear weapons, or war... then fine. But as long as we have armies with nuclear weapons, making sure they have solid command structures led by people who can make rational decisions is probably a good idea.