Paul Ryan’s Battle of Kasserine Pass

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General George S. Patton arrived in North Africa with a single mission: lead the Allied forces to victory over the Hun.

But Patton’s assignment was also in response to a miserable and deadly failure of leadership. The failed leadership of General Lloyd Fredendall.

Fredendall was a Francophobe and an Anglophobe ill-suited to wage coalition warfare; a micromanager who bypassed the chain of command – giving orders as far down as company level; a coward, he allowed animus with subordinates to affect his judgment and undercut their authority; and finally, staring defeat in the face at Kasserine, he tried to pin the blame on others.

Abolishing Obamacare was to be the first battle of the new Republican government. For this battle, Republican forces had trained for nearly a decade. But, as we learn so often in history, peacetime generals and commanders mostly fail when the bullets start flying. For example, every US submarine commander in command on Pearl Harbor Day was relieved of command within a year. Mostly because they failed as wartime commanders.

When Trump won and the GOP retained the Senate, America transitioned to a political wartime footing. But Ryan’s boots aren’t up to that rugged turf.

Over on the news channels, the House of Representatives is about to kill Paul Ryan’s failed, horrible healthcare plan. I admit I was wrong yesterday. I expected the bill to pass. And I was okay with it passing. Yesterday.

Today, seeing Paul Ryan scramble, panic, and retreat, I’m glad the bill is failing. Like General Fredendall, Ryan arrived in his position with high expectations. Before his epic failure at the Battle of Kasserine Pass, Eisenhower wrote of Fredenall: “I bless the day you urged Fredendall upon me and cheerfully acknowledge that my earlier doubts of him were completely unfounded.”

Borrowing the words of Dwight Von Zimmermann who chronicled Fredendall’s failure, consider this:

Paul Ryan is a Trumpophobe and a populophobe ill-suited to wage populist warfare; a backroom conspirator who bypassed the House order, crafting a failed bill with lobbyists and cronies; a coward, he allowed animus with the Republican President to affect his judgment and undercut Trump’s authority; and, finally, staring defeat in the face at AHCA, his establishment cronies will try to pin the blame on the tea party.

It’s time for House Republicans to show the humility, wisdom, and leadership shown by Dwight Eisenhower. After Fredendall’s epic failure, Eisenhower ordered him to return stateside and occupy a desk until the end of the war. Fredendall might destroy the desk, but at least he wouldn’t be in a position to get people killed.

I call on the House Republicans, beginning with Missouri’s delegation, to move immediately to replace Paul Ryan as Speaker. Replace him with a leader in the mold of George Patton. Replace Ryan with a Speaker of character and strength equal to this historical inflection point.

Now, on to tax reform.


Also published on Medium.


4 Comments

  • Conservative Ken

    March 26, 2017

    Had a suspicion you were familiar with Boyd.
    Ever notice how losers obsess over their predicament after a confrontation? Many even figure out way they lost, tactically at least. Karl Mack did this after losing at Austerlitz, it ate him alive. He knew tactically why he lost, but also knew his moves were not his own. Napoleon was moving the Prussian army.
    Just my morning ponderings. Now on to study Braddock!
    See what you did.

    • William Hennessy

      March 26, 2017

      Thanks, again, Ken. I’m rereading 48 Laws of Power and 33 Strategies of War. Side by side they’re even more powerful.

  • William Hennessy

    March 25, 2017

    Boyd’s OODA loop is the basis of John Braddock’s DADA loop. Combined with backward planning, it’s the basis of every military and intelligence operation.

    I’m always amazed by business “leaders” who know a lot of military jargon to make themselves sound tough, but lack awareness of basic military strategy tools.

  • Conservative Ken

    March 24, 2017

    Ever heard of Col. John Boyd? Boyd is credited with the OODA Loop concept. Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. It was designed for fighter pilot training, but can be applied to virtually competitive undertaking. The goal of OODA loops is take and keep initiative while the competition is working on step one. Trump is working OODA loops on steroids.

    Even more amazing is that Trump is fighting on multiple political fronts simultaneously. Every front has the same result. Trump’s political competition is still at the starting gate wondering what happened. You can see it! Pelosi, Waters, and Ryan are visibly bewildered, losing their political composure.

    Colonel John Boyd – YouTube https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Rbb48uUOkqQ

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