Review: On the Psychology of Military Incompetence

5 Star, Complexity & Catastrophe, Corruption, Culture, Research, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Force Structure (Military), Impeachment & Treason, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Military & Pentagon Power, Misinformation & Propaganda, Power (Pathologies & Utilization), Public Administration, Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy, Threats (Emerging & Perennial)
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Norman Dixon
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely a Core Reference, August 21, 2009

I am so very glad to see this book at least available from some sellers in second-hand form. I still have my orginal hard cover from 1976 and took it down from my military shelf to appreciate it once more. I urge the publisher to re-print this book, and I would be deeply honored to be asked to write a foreword to the next edition. Norman Dixon has made a signal contribution that will long out-live all of us.

Although I despise Amazon for pre-emptorily deleting over 350 of my shared images to get rid of 12 copies of Bush-Obama sharing a face, I think so highly of this book that I have taken the time to scan and load my own original book cover. You can find all of my uncensored work at the Public Intelligence Blog.

This is nothing less than an essential reference in the leadership arena, and particularly in the national security arena. The author is a deeply original speaker of truth to power, and his work on the characteristics of incompetence, his chart on the role of “bull,” his discussions of the reactions to criticisms, the concept of “efficiency” in the armed forces, and his examination of both the kinds of relationships and the interplay among the authoritarian personality and “group-think” are all very very important.

Most of our military officers (in the USA) have for decades forgotten that they swear an Oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, and instead they translate that oath into blind obedience to the chian of command, no matter how illegal, idiotic, or illogical those orders might be.

See also:
The Rules of the Game: Jutland and British Naval Command
Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
None So Blind: A Personal Account of the Intelligence Failure in Vietnam
Who the Hell Are We Fighting?: The Story of Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars
War is a Racket: The Antiwar Classic by America’s Most Decorated Soldier
The Fifty-Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World
Wilson’s Ghost: Reducing the Risk of Conflict, Killing, and Catastrophe in the 21st Century
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq
DVD: The Fog of War: Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
DVD: Why We Fight

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