Friday, June 25, 2010

Playing on Foreign Soil: USA Soccer vs the US Military

The DoD and the US military need to take a page out of USA Soccer's handbook about playing away games.

Wednesday saw the two entities at completely opposite ends of the spectrum--USA Soccer celebrating a never-say-never victory over a really tough opponent in a do-or-die situation and the US military with disgrace on its face and a combat commander being fired for gross insubordination of the order of Douglas MacArthur.

USA Soccer never quit as they faced a gritty Algerian team. In fact, as I have been watching the other matches in the World Cup, I have been amazed how easily some of the players are hurt and removed form the games. The US team was playing at the end of the game with two players who required stitches after the game to close wounds sustained during the game. And in a testament to the "it ain't over until it's over" spirit which resides in all Americans--they won the match during stoppage time when hope seemed lost.

I celebrated wildly--maybe a too bit wildly, at work.

Conversely, the US military was portraying everything that is wrong with the current crop of combat leadership--unbridled contempt for our civilian leadership. The actions of GEN McChrystal and his staff are a blot on the heroism and honor of those of us who have served in the US military. He should be fired, as he was, and sent home in disgrace. And his staff--all of it, should be replaced because they are part of a culture of contempt that cannot be allowed to exist in the military.

I am reminded of a scene from my favorite movie "Patton" where the new commanding general , Patton, of the US II Corps in Africa arrives at his command post shortly after the disaster at Kasserine Pass. In the movie, one sees a command staff that is disorganized and without basic adherence to fundamental appearance and discipline. Patton goes on a tear and reestablishes discipline almost instantly. And that is what the US Forces in Afghanistan need--a thorough housecleaning and adherence to good conduct and discipline.

So, USA Soccer--winning in South Africa against the odds when the game seemed hopeless and after being denied a good goal or the US military in Afghanistan--disgraced by their senior leader and his staff and complaining they cannot win the war in Afghanistan which, by the way, officially became the longest running war in the history of the United States.

U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A Soccer Rules!

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