When your commander-in-chief tucks tail and runs
The irony of "President" Joe Biden giving his update on the chaotic and supremely flawed withdrawal of Americans and troops from Afghanistan in front of a portrait of Teddy Roosevelt charging up San Juan Hill made my stomach churn. Joe Biden fancies himself a strong leader and foreign policy hawk, of which he is neither! The placement of the podium in front of this portrait for the speech was contrived by the White House staff in a feeble attempt to portray "President" Joe Biden as a strong leader of troops like President Roosevelt.
Why are military leaders like Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Norman Schwarzkopf, and Chesty Puller revered by their troops? They are revered because they understand two things about leadership: one, the rank bestowed on them requires their subordinates to follow their orders and respect their rank by following a set chain of command, and two, although rule number one demands that subordinates respect their rank, "earning" the respect of their subordinates is what causes subordinates to follow their leaders through "the Gates of Hell" in combat. True leaders earn this by understanding that you take care of your troops first.
Rank has its privileges, true, but when you are in dangerous situations, you ensure that the troops under your charge are properly trained, supplied, led into those situations. You don't just give orders to your non-commissioned and staff non-commissioned officers and retreat to your cozy confines at the rear echelon.
You earn the respect of those under your charge as a junior officer by training alongside them in the mud and the muck and the grime. You earn their respect as a junior officer and NCO, SNCO by leading them into combat operations and making sound decisions under fire that do not unjustly place them into a dangerous situation that you are not also willing to go into. When not under direct fire in those situations, you earn their respect by ensuring that their needs are met before your own. You ensure that they have shelter, food, and as much comfort and rest as the situation allows before taking care of your own needs.
These concepts are lost on "President" Joe Biden. He is solely relying on rule number one, and yes, the Office of the President should and must be respected as commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Joe Biden has done nothing, however, to earn the respect of those he commands. British member of Parliament Tom Tugendhat summed this up beautifully when, without mentioning his name, he slammed "President" Joe Biden, stating, "Those who have never fought for the colors they fly should be careful about criticizing those who have."
"President" Joe Biden's utter failure to ensure that a plan was in place that allowed for the safety and well-being of Americans, our troops, and our allies to withdraw from Afghanistan strategically and successfully does not deserve our respect. This withdrawal did not have to devolve into chaos.
"President" Joe Biden bizarrely started his remarks on an update of the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan with a rant on his domestic policies. Joe Biden showed he is not focused on the task at hand. Joe Biden did not project the image of a competent and capable leader of men into a dangerous situation. Rather, Joe Biden projected the image of a frail and weak coward who, at the conclusion of his remarks, turned his back, tucked his tail, and ran out of the room. Joe Biden is no Teddy Roosevelt!
Scott W. Houghton: United States Marine Corps Veteran (Sergeant), Retired 32-year law enforcement veteran of the Douglas County Sheriff's Department, and Denver, Colorado Police Department. 3 Year SWAT Officer, FBI Trained Scout Sniper, Colorado Peace Officer Standards Training (POST) Certified Academy instructor, 11 Year Field Training Officer, FBI and Denver Police Trained Firearms Instructor, KOGA, and Orcutt Police Nunchaku Arrest Control Techniques Instructor, 4 Year Mounted Patrol Officer, Terrorism Liaison Officer, 14 Year Airport Officer, and Certified Member of the American Association of Airport Executives, Former Aviation Security Supervisor III — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Image: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.
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