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Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The worst general in American history?

That was the discussion I was having yesterday with several friends. Here is my ranking of their nominees: 1. Douglas MacArthur 2. Benedict Arnold 3. Ned Almond 4. Tommy R. Franks 5. William Westmoreland 6. George McClellan 7. Ambrose Burnside 8. Horatio Gates It was my contest, so I declared MacArthur the No. 1 loser, ...

By , a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy.
army.mil
army.mil
army.mil

That was the discussion I was having yesterday with several friends. Here is my ranking of their nominees:

That was the discussion I was having yesterday with several friends. Here is my ranking of their nominees:

1. Douglas MacArthur
2. Benedict Arnold
3. Ned Almond
4. Tommy R. Franks
5. William Westmoreland
6. George McClellan
7. Ambrose Burnside
8. Horatio Gates

It was my contest, so I declared MacArthur the No. 1 loser, because of his unique record of being insubordinate to three presidents (Hoover, Roosevelt and Truman) as well as screwing up the Korean War. Plus additional negative points for his role in the gassing and suppression of the Bonus Marchers in 1932. You can’t defend a country by undermining it.

It really is extraordinary how the Army has extirpated his memory. The influence of Marshall, Eisenhower and Bradley lives on, while MacArthur has been treated as a historical dead end. Kind of amazing, considering he was a general for 26 years, was the Army chief of staff, received the Medal of Honor, fought in three wars and was a senior commander in two.

Thomas E. Ricks is a former contributing editor to Foreign Policy. Twitter: @tomricks1

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