American politicians still don’t understand our enemy, still don’t understand the capabilities and limitations of the American military, and — worst of all — they still seem unwilling to learn. They come from an intellectual aristocracy that believes itself educated simply because it’s credentialed — and they tend to listen only to those who share similar credentials.
They’ve built a bubble of impenetrable ignorance, and they govern accordingly. During World War I, German general Max Hoffman reportedly declared that “English soldiers fight like lions, but we know they are lions led by donkeys.” Over time, his criticism stuck, and popular opinion about the war hardened into a consensus that the horrors of the trenches were the product of stupidity and lack of imagination.
Callous generals, the criticism held, safely ensconced themselves in the rear while sending young men to die in futile charges, unable to conceive of the tactical and strategic changes necessary to deal with the technological revolutions that defined the war. This criticism was unfair then — generals on all sides suffered high casualty rates and dramatically changed tactics during the course of World War I — but it’s entirely fair now.
Just look at the collection of senior “talent “advising President Obama on ISIS. Stanford- and Oxford-educated National Security Advisor Susan Rice has no military experience, was part of the team that disastrously botched America’s response to the Rwandan genocide, and is notable mainly for a willingness to say anything to advance the electoral prospects of her political bosses.
Stanford- and Michigan-educated Valerie Jarrett — by many accounts President Obama’s most-trusted adviser — also has no military experience, spent much of her life toiling in Chicago municipal politics, and has gained influence primarily through her steadfast loyalty to the Obamas. Yes, Yale-educated John Kerry served bravely in Vietnam, but one of his first acts upon returning home was to turn on his fellow veterans and slander them as war criminals. He has minimal credibility in the military.
Perhaps worst of all is Smith College–educated Wendy Sherman, the lead negotiator of the administration’s disastrous Iran deal. She has zero military experience, started her career as a social worker, and then made her name in radical pro-abortion politics as the director of EMILY’s List. Sherman played an instrumental role in the failed North Korean nuclear negotiations during the Clinton administration, so naturally Obama put her in charge of the Iranian debacle.