Best Defense

Why does Trump admire one of the worst generals ever in American history?

For all the reasons you’d expect.


Best Defense is on summer hiatus. During this restful spell we offer re-runs from the past 12 months. This item originally ran on Oct. 3, 2016.

For all the reasons you’d expect.

So re-upping this:

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.

Photo credit: Foreign Policy

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 Twitter: @tomricks1

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