Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Gen. Hodges vs. Gen. Barno: Is the Army losing too many talented officers?

What General Hodges lacks in facts in his column he makes up in indignation. Dare General David Barno worry that the Army is losing talented Army officers? "What an insult to the thousands who are in fact staying," Hodges fumes. Is the Army "somehow non-adaptive, too inflexible and unimaginative"? Well, I would say too many ...

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What General Hodges lacks in facts in his column he makes up in indignation. Dare General David Barno worry that the Army is losing talented Army officers? "What an insult to the thousands who are in fact staying," Hodges fumes.

Is the Army "somehow non-adaptive, too inflexible and unimaginative"? Well, I would say too many Army generals are. But, without any facts to back up his case, and conveniently ignoring years of inadaptiveness in Iraq (2003-06), General Hodges assures us that, "This is nonsense and I reject it." He offers no facts, but hey, we have to take it on faith, he seems to say -- after all, how could a system that produces me be faulty? It reminds me of the old Ring Lardner line: "‘Shut up,' he explained."

But you all know what Tom thinks -- I wrote a whole book on the subject. I would like to know what you all think, especially junior officers, both those leaving and those staying in. Let's ask those involved. Who is right: Hodges or Barno?

What General Hodges lacks in facts in his column he makes up in indignation. Dare General David Barno worry that the Army is losing talented Army officers? "What an insult to the thousands who are in fact staying," Hodges fumes.

Is the Army "somehow non-adaptive, too inflexible and unimaginative"? Well, I would say too many Army generals are. But, without any facts to back up his case, and conveniently ignoring years of inadaptiveness in Iraq (2003-06), General Hodges assures us that, "This is nonsense and I reject it." He offers no facts, but hey, we have to take it on faith, he seems to say — after all, how could a system that produces me be faulty? It reminds me of the old Ring Lardner line: "‘Shut up,’ he explained."

But you all know what Tom thinks — I wrote a whole book on the subject. I would like to know what you all think, especially junior officers, both those leaving and those staying in. Let’s ask those involved. Who is right: Hodges or Barno?

Necessary disclosure: Barno is a colleague of mine at CNAS.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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