Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Political Animal: Too much John Wayne

More sanity from our UK allies. Once again, can we please just hand the entire operation over to them? Please?

British brigadier attacks America's John Wayne generals

A senior British officer has criticised 'shoulder-holster' American generals for trying to emulate film stars.

Brig Alan Sharpe, who worked alongside Americans in Baghdad, said there was a 'strong streak of Hollywood' with officers trying to portray themselves as Sylvester Stallone or John Wayne.
He wrote the comments in a paper on Britain's influence on US foreign relations and the essay is likely to strain the 'special relationship' further, coming after other British officers' criticism of the American approach.

An important part to being a successful American officer was to be able to combine the 'real and acted heroics' of Audie Murphy, the 'newsreel antics' of Gen Douglas MacArthur and the 'movie performances' of Hollywood actors, the brigadier wrote.

While this might look good on television at home, the brigadier suggested that 'loud voices, full body armour, wrap-around sunglasses, air strikes and daily broadcasts from shoulder-holster wearing brigadier-generals proudly announcing how many Iraqis have been killed by US forces today' was no 'hearts-and-minds winning tool'.


Anonymous said...

The picture in the post is of General William Wallace. I worked under his command for two years. He is no hollywood general. he would, in fact, kick John Wayne's butt.

It is silly to call soldiers "hollywood" for wearing holsters, etc. Apparently the writer doesn't realize that hollywood actors imitate soldiers, not the other way around. The term "John Wayne" implies idiocy in the military, as in "Hey, John Wayne, that is NOT the way to do a three-second rush."

KC said...

The picture was selected by the journalist. The characterization comes from the Bittish general, complaining about the American approach to winning the peace.

No doubt our bad-asses are able and willing to kick butt. That's the problem. Doing that, and adopting that pose all the time, does not work in a counter insurgency. It does not secure the peace. Are they willing to engage the population person to person instead of riding rough all the time?

Seems some US commanders get it. But a lot don't. (Or so I read, and so says this Brittish commander.)