Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Underbelly's Wichita correspondent, who doubles as military/defense analyst, meditates on the apparent source of a destabilizing tradition--the lieutenant colonel:
Ever notice how much trouble LTCOLs of various types cause?  Consider one LTCOL Custer – who famously was the youngest general in the Union army and the dumbest LTCOL on the books after he tangled with the natives in a field in the Black Hills. The Army would have been better off if they had left him a major general and parked him Washington to molder in the damp. He famously left his Gatling guns behind. To the sorrow of the 7th Cavalry. 
I’m sure I missed a few but the next one of note that I recall was LTCOL Ollie North, who among other things was termed the highest ranking LTCOL in the country at the time. Infamously, he escaped from imprisonment due to the interference of congress. Famously, he was represented by a potted plant in hearings. 
Now we have two examples to contemplate: one LTCOL Broadwell, who didn’t play well with others but can do a lot of pushups. She’s turned a lot of heads en route to being a soccer mom in the south somewhere. And finally LTCOL Allen West, recently one term congressman and soon to be talking head on Fox or worse. He seems to fail upward: having been ejected (with pension) from the army for violating the rules of war (’they are just guidelines’) but got elected to Congress by being nuttier than the other guy. Having failed as a congressman (who by definition have to get reelected or fail), he will now make six or seven figures mouthing off on Fox – where he will be limited to embarrassing himself rather than Congress.

As for Broadwell, well, she may be talking head – but not on TV. From her perspective, she’s likely better off in Carolina than in North Dakota. And her book will sell out -
Wiki has a list.  It includes  Aaron Burr, John C. Fremont and Henry Blake from M*A*S*H.  Also (remember him?)  Bill Kilgore:


dilbert dogbert said...

One SIL, wife's side, made LtCol this year. He is a tech geek so maybe he won't be in the running for worst ever. Hope so.

Jimbo said...

John C. Fremont gets a lot of grief, poor guy. He was a pioneer/explorer and an eccentric. He just existed outside of the box even then. I certainly wouldn't put him on the same level as the smarmy Oliver North. And Custer was a loser pretty much for all of his career (did they really have Gatling guns in 1876? - wow). But interesting pattern nevertheless.