How U.S. Commanders Deal With Their Military Allies

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We’re all familiar with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and her five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance.

Well, over at Best Defense, Tom Ricks has come up with a similar construct detailing the six stages U.S. military commanders go through in their dealings with their local counterparts in Afghanistan and Iraq:

1. Upon arrival: “Ok, Ahmed, Mohammed, whatever your name is, there’s a new sheriff in town — and you’re looking at him.”

2. Weeks later: “Colonel Localguy, Major Otherguy, please sit down. Here is a Powerpoint briefing on what you’re gonna do.”

3. Weeks more later: “Ok, I got it. I can be sensitive! So, colonel, this is what we are gonna do.”

4. Many weeks more: “Now that I am beginning to understand this place, this is what I think we should do.”

5. Months into the tour: “I’m at my wits’ end. What do you think we should do?”

6. Near end of tour: “Before we leave, is there anything I can do to help you achieve your goals?”

Repeat with each rotation until the American people tire of the war.


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