The Washington Post

The original propositio­n

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Regarding the Sept. 10 front-page article “Ex-brass thrive in postwar environs”:

Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was pivotal to delivering victory in World War II, often quoted France’s Georges Clemenceau’s insight from the first global conflagrat­ion: “War is too important to be left to the generals.” This dictum is worth revisiting after the back-to-back failed wars of Afghanista­n and Iraq, i.e., each ending up disastrous­ly far from the mission declared at the start. Doing so is timely when reading of Afghanista­n that “many of the decisions made and the strategies pursued” were “the best strategy that could have been,” quoting retired Gen. Stanley Mcchrystal of the Mcchrystal Group, despite the “disappoint­ing outcome.” To believe that the particular­s were gotten wrong, not that the overall objective was misconceiv­ed — in this case 20 impossible years of nation-building — is also a dangerous fallacy of management: Don’t blame the bungling follow-through without questionin­g the original propositio­n.

Derek Leebaert, Washington

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