Cid Standifer is a freelance reporter, web designer and translator based in Arlington, Va. She has written for Military Times, Inside Washington Publishers and the Roswell Daily Record.
Thomas E. Ricks, The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today. New York: Penguin, 2012. 558 pp. $32.95.
When Tom Ricks published Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq in the summer of 2006, the impact was immediate and extraordinary. The book shredded any pretense that the Bush administration knew what it was doing in Iraq and also brought to light myriad failures of the American military establishment in the war. A Naval Academy graduate and a senior U.S. senator told me that he could only read a few pages before having to take a walk around the block to cool down so that he could see straight enough to continue reading. He was not the only reader to react strongly to Fiasco; the book became a number one New York Times bestseller and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Fiasco contributed to a reassessment of military strategy in Iraq and focused attention on the failures of American military leadership in that war. One of the most pointed indictments came from inside the Army when my friend Lt. Col. Paul Yingling published an essay titled “A Failure of Generalship.” Yingling noted the Army’s failures to prepare for the Iraq war and to adapt to its requirements during the course of the conflict; his most damning line noted that “As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”
U.S. Naval Institute’s Fred Schultz spoke with journalist and documentary filmmaker Sebastian Junger on Sept. 24 about Junger’s new organization dedicated to providing basic medical training to freelance frontline war reporters and photographers.
Junger created Reporters Instructed in Saving Colleagues following the 2011 death of photographer Tim Hetherington in Libya.
Hetherington was wounded by mortar fire while covering the conflict in Libya and died on the way to a local hospital. Junger said if fellow journalists on the scene were trained in basic first aid, Hetherington could have survived.
RISC has conducted its first intensive training session in April and his preparing for a second in New York.
Junger also discussed his view on the U.S. Afghanistan pullout and his responsibility for helping make the term “The Perfect Storm,” one of the most overused clichés in the last twenty years.
On Sunday, Ernest Borgnine died at 95.
Best known for his screen roles in films like Marty, From Here to Eternity and television shows McHale’s Navy and Airwolf, Borgnine also spent ten years in the U.S. Navy retiring as a Gunner’s Mate First-Class. Borgnine was a lifetime member of the U.S. Naval Institute.
By Ernest Borgnine
Proceedings April 2009
It was just like in the movies.
The year was 1935, and I was right out of high school, restless, and bored with my temporary job working on a vegetable truck. One day, on a delivery run through New Haven, Connecticut, I spotted a sign on a storefront that said “JOIN THE NAVY—SEE THE WORLD.” Hey, I thought, I ought to look into that. So I stopped in to see the recruiter. Two days later, I was on a bus to the U.S. Naval Training Station in Newport, Rhode Island. more