Saturday, April 28, 2007

Where were the generals?

USA Today has a thorough discussion of failures in generalship during both Vietnam and the current Iraq War. One of the author's most important points is that moral courage is essential to generalship: having the courage to present unpleasant truths to civilian policymakers, and to the public if necessary, is just as important as courage under fire. In a democracy, generals owe their allegiance to the nation, not to a particular President or Defense Secretary.

Peter Drucker emphasized the importance of moral courage in corporate leadership as well. In the long run, dishonest accounting and other dicey business practices cause damage far beyond whatever short term benefit they achieve. Too often, though, the participants in corporate scandals float to earth under golden parachutes while shareholders and ordinary employees struggle with the mess they left behind.

1 comment:

Bluegrass Mama said...

About all I have to say to this post is "Hear, hear!" Well said (or well quoted, anyway), Katherine.