A Few Good Men Character Analysis Essay
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Siskel \u0026 Ebert - A Few Good Men
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Their belief that the nature of war has changed leads them miss that the character of war has not. It is not willful obedience we need to glean from these meager words but that as leaders we must know what the end goal endstate is and persevere to achieve it. No the key cyber terrain did not exist in Hubbards world, nor did the strategic corporal. But to be a strategic corporal would that Soldier have to be more than the clerk who asks a myriad of thoughtless questions and still does not see the end state?
Hubbard does not say that questions are bad; he indicts inactivity, intellectual sloth and drive. One must understand the context to look at the greater message and how it applies to our world. To me Maisel and Duvall are modern clerks in a world where I need people who will not just think, but do. What are the key traits that Hubbard espouses? They are hard work, trustworthiness, attention to duty, and desire to carry out the mission. Are these really traits that are not useful on the modern battlefield?
Is it the failure of the leader or the failure of the led when intent is unclear? Was the need for understanding the complex political environment any less needed by the young British officer in the Hindu Kush in the 19th century? Look no further that the closing paragraph to see what Hubbard calls for. It is intellectually easy to dismiss the past because it lacks the tools or complexity of today. Does every leader truly understand the risk inherent in every mission? Does every mission order account for every contingency in our modern battlefield.
I could easily turn the intellectual table on them and say since Hubbard did not discuss subsidiary considerations, all were considered by the dynamic Rowan and he understood risk and geopolitical landscape within the mission order he received and achieved the endstate. Do we not want leaders that when they are given a clear mission exhibits the drive, creativity and resilience to reach Garcia? In the end what Hubbard reminds us of in Garcia is that leaders need to be clear in purpose, resilient when faced with challenges, and humble when goals are achieved. In a multifaceted complex world that brings so many factors to bear in the physical, cognitive, information, and cyber domains these traits are as useful today as they were over a century ago.
Too often we translate our modern biases on the past without looking to enduring lessons. If you follow the train of thought of Maisel and Duvall we can learn nothing useful from these past tomes such as Thucydides, Hubbard, or even Clausewitz because of our present biases. I argue that our post-Industrial age requires us to think and read critically and not dismiss the writings of the past because of our biases.
Duvall and Maisel never prove that Rowan did not understand his mission or that he was not a lifelong learner. Great answer byers — you saved me a lot of time and typing. Mission Command is not carte blanc to disregard orders or mission requirements, it is to allow leaders to arrive at other options in order to achieve the objective. Not all irritating grains of sand become pearls. I agree.
Just do your job without all the fanfare already. Too many people want to doubt everything and they are not trained or in a position to make those decisions. Stop the damn complaining and just get the job done. But, they also continue to realize that warfare is an inherently human endeavor, subject to the foibles of men. Heraclitus spoke of this years before and I find nothing from these two reservists stated that was an equitable argument against it.
Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back. In fact, I was inspired to write a juvenile biography of the good soldier. But there was a problem. Not only was there no message given him by President McKinley to deliver to Gen. Garcia, Rowan was nearly court-martialed for disobeying orders and blabbing to the press—not a good model for boys and girls, but perhaps an interesting study for adults. Over a course of six years I spent five week-long sessions foraging in the treasure houses of the U.
National Archives and Records Administration and further weeks studying hundreds of documents in the Andrew Summers Rowan Papers at the Hoover Institution and other collections and libraries. People should have known better, but the story was too appealing, particularly, as has often been pointed out, to teachers, businessmen, and military officers. Unfortunately, it also appealed to Andrew Rowan, who not only seemed to believe every word Hubbard had written about him, but concocted new facts of his own: new characters, new incidents, and, so help me, a talking horse in a movie script which was never produced.
I had carried my message to Garcia. Most Americans know little about the Spanish-American War , less about the Philippine War , and nothing at all about the Moro Rebellion I shadowed Rowan closely as he risked his life in all three conflicts and rose in rank from lieutenant to major. He was also for a short period a lieutenant-colonel, but led no troops. His life is an engrossing example of American militaria, but not a guide to living. They may have been born with the knowledge, they may have learned it from their mothers. God only knows where and how such people come by such traits.
It may be that these people cannot help themselves. It is possible that they cannot do otherwise. And those who lack this ability cannot learn it, or so it seems. This text is worshiped by most ROTC instructors and it was forced on me as a young cadet as well. I never liked or agreed with the supposition that blind obedience and a proactive nature make a good officer. In my six years as an Army officer, I served under several field grade officers whose leadership philosophy closely mirrored that of the author. Context is important to any mission and the "why? Perhaps if more officers challenged the efficacy and moral nature of their missions, our military would no longer be bogged down in an unwinnable quagmire half a world away. Trust can go a long way.
I think that the message to "do the thing" is indeed important. Understanding and trusting superior officers is part of what the U. Military stands by. It is embedded in the Navy Sailors Creed: "I will obey the orders of those appointed over me. Image a military where nearly every Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman questioned every order they were given? Likewise, a leader needs to be able to trust his subordinates. The leader must be able to know that his team can "get the job done". I agree to the point that there are some cases where careful analysis of the task at hand and "blind following" of orders can be risky, however, I do think that the greater risk would be to establish a culture of questioning military orders.
Elbert Hubbard put his own twist on the lessons to be learned from the famous "Message to Garcia", but the overriding principles of perseverance, individual initiative, accepting responsibility, and accomplishing an important mission at all costs are as good today as they were in Not burdening your superiors by demanding answers, or possible answers, to the minutia of a mission is a virtue not a vice.
This is especially true when responding to military exigencies. The truth of the matter is those superiors don't know all the answers. They are relying on subordinate's intelligence and initiative. Maisal and DuVal, in my opinion, have spent way too much time going to meetings in the Pentagon or War College with their contrarian attitudes, shooting down good ideas "Meetings are the places where good ideas go to die! I hope to God nobody puts these guys in charge of anything valuable like lives and ships. All that AI and high tech and the the latest gee-whiz gadgets and management school jargon didn't help when the USS Fitzgerald found itself on the business end of of a cargo ship! Did it? Two important U. We need more "Message to Garcia" training, not less!!
It's just too bad that Capt. Andrew Summers Rowan, who got the message to Garcia, wasn't on bow watch when those ships were in danger or even better, conning them. I think we would have a lot fewer dead sailors. Sorry for the typo. Rowan delivered his message to Gen. Calixto Garcia in , not Also, Rowan, by his own account, was a 1st Lt. He died at the Presidio in San Francisco in and is buried in Arlington. Having only read Hubbard's essay and Rowan's personal account of his mission, I have a few comments. The issue here is not so much of an officer's duty because Rowan was on a one-man mission, not an officer in charge. He could have been just as well an enlisted soldier, rank not being the issue.
Of course, I realize that there were other military, para-military, and guerrilla forces assisting and supporting his mission, so he wasn't alone. As to critical thinking, questioning, or even debating any aspects of his mission, I believe that it is important to not forget that his mission came directly from the mouth of the president, the highest link in the chain of command. Under those circumstances, and with the sense of urgency, who else could he have sought for additional discussions? On top of that, you need to consider the level of secrecy required in order to not expose himself to unnecessary additional danger, possibly embarrassing the president, and even causing the failure of the mission.
I don't see this essay by Hubbard as a replacement or substitute for chain of command orders, simply an endorsement for a great soldier who used all of his talents and skills to "get the job done. Hubbard and Colonel Rowan. The essay "A Message to Garcia" was never meant for career military professionals, or academics who specialized in military leadership. In fact the essay was never intended for the military at all. The author, Elbert Hubbard, was a businessman who originally sold soap and later manufactured and sold furniture and items for the home.
He also was a publisher of philosophical tracts. Hubbard lamented the lack of initiative in the growing industrial workforce of the late 19th century. His craft workshops in Aurora, New York stressed the involvement and initiative of the individual craftsman by "pushing responsibility down" to the individual. By doing this he enjoyed some financial success. The essay was originally published in Hubbard's philosophical magazine "The Philistine. The military background of the essay is coincidental. Hubbard might just as easily published a similar story about a rural mailman delivering medicine to a remote location in the Colorado mountains.
To criticize the value of this essay in the modern age misses the point that entry-level service men and women may not be prolific readers when they enlist. This simple and short essay resonates with young people. They can understand it. The only thing I can really say to an article like this, is that anyone who reads "A Message To Garcia" and thinks that it is enshrining mindless obedience to orders either didn't actually read the piece, or didn't understand it. Likewise, denigrating a thing because it doesn't account for the "buzz-term du jour" is a sure sign of a lazy intellect, a raging ego and a condescending arrogance that would be dangerous at the wheel of a car on the way to a grocery store on a Sunday morning, let alone in a command post in a live operational area.
That kind of dangerously inept mindset is definitely not something I would want advising me. The saddest statement of this entire missive is that Maisel and DuVal have no idea what they read. It seems that the authors may not have much experience dealing with a certain types of people. It seems to me that any leader who has been in the position to try to delegate a task, as mundane as planning a garrison function, to executing a serious military mission, and being met with incompetence or reticence.
I'm reminded of the Mark Twain quote possibly apocryphal :. When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. USNA 86 …. Semper Fi …. Maisal and DuVal missed the point. Instead of focusing on how nowadays Hubbard's essay might be irrelevant, focus on how continues to be relevant. I choose to look at it from the perspective on how to provide the leadership tools to the next generation. Rowan, at the age of 41 years old, a year seasoned veteran, took the task to perform the mission.
No doubt in my mind that the "stiffening" of his "vertebrate" was the result of training, education, and experience received through the various mentors good or bad that came across his life prior to this test. As leaders we need to focuse on providing the appropriate tools to the next guy to be able to take the next task at hand without any questioning or doubt; to carry A Message to Garcia. Just carry the damned message to Garcia. You knew no one was going to throw out the Message who understood it. You also knew you could pander to a bunch of people who could never 'carry the message'. Lots of replies, lots of buzz. Congratulations to you. To the rest of you. Don't come back to this well again.
It's tainted. This is also why I used to rant that 'commander's intent' was the single most important component of any mission brief. Why are you on this mission? To what ends? What is the desired outcome? Commander's intent provides that guidance provided it's actually delivered to the troops in a meaningful way. Plans may not survive contact with the enemy, but things tend to work out better for you when all of your troops know exactly why they are on this mission and what the intended outcomes are regardless of the mission.
Civil War than they did about counterinsurgency. I think the point is being missed. The lesson to be learned is not entirely from Hubbard's essay, but rather from Lt Rowan's resolve and success; and that is applicable for all prospective leaders. That lesson is merely this: find a way to accomplish the mission! There are times when the buck stops with you. You alone will bear the brunt of a difficult mission's success. You WILL find yourself alone in a hostile environment, unable to communicate with friendlies, unable to seek clarification, relief, reinforcement or air cover but still be expected to adapt, overcome and succeed with your assigned mission. While Hubbard's analysis and edicts may not fully resonate with today's politically correct environment, the example of Lt Rowan remains true and laudable.
His example of succeeding despite uncertainty, non-existence or vague intelligence assessments, readily available reinforcements, while exhibiting great endurance, persistence and dedication to mission are still as valid as when Hubbard authored his essay. These two guys are far too literal. It implies that you need to take ownership and do your complete best.. Thank you for your write up. I now see how people can so clearly miss the point. Reading through these comments, I wonder how many were written by enlisted personnel. As a young enlisted Marine, the essay was pushed on me by my Staff NCO's as evidence that immediate, unquestioning, obedience to orders was my highest and best use. I read it as many of you seem to have, as a message that sometimes you just have to get the thing done.
But the less-educated and less-critically-thinking "leaders" I had, just wanted us to shut up and do as we were told because, "A Message to Garcia. Years later, as a software engineer at a Fortune , I have my CIO and others pushing the same thing. Don't do what you feel is right and take responsibility for it; do it the way we say but also take the blame for how inefficient and costly your solution is.
If you want smart, critical thinkers to do the thing, rely on them—in fact encourage them—to use the brain you hired them for. There is something to be gathered from this story regardless good or bad. Here is the good I see. I strongly loved the story for that truth. Getting it done without relying on someone else to do the thinking. In this case, the Lt. Rowan was a superb example of stepping up to the plate and executing a task using his brain power, initiative, manpower! Still love the story and am thankful for amazing inspiration true stories about true leaders carrying out true exploits. So Rowan had the ability to carry out the mission to find Garcia.
Seems people forgot that point. Adolph Eichmann was a great "Rowan". I thought this story sucked when I read it forty years ago and I stand by my evaluation and endorse the authors' viewpoint. Kick this krap to the curb for takeout with other dated trash. If you read the entire essay, I think that one line should be interpreted as meaning that dedication to a task or trust is more important than academic studying, but I don't think he means to reject academic learning at all — otherwise why would he go on to compare the laziness of people called on because they are well educated?
I taught gifted and talented high school chemistry and physics students and A Message to Garcia was required reading. None of those kids, some going on to achieve perfect SAT scores, inferred the letter wanted them to forsake learning. Personally, and this is just one of many examples this year alone, I went through 30 hours on the phone or waiting on the phone during a week with Verizon technicians who couldn't be bothered to look and note that my initial setup by a technician didn't tie my Internet tower into the coax system for TV and wouldn't work with my upgraded set-top box.
A technician came out and discovered the problem in 1 minute. I'd like to send those inattentive people a copy of A Message to Garcia. I have only one hiring criteria… If I ask this person to do a job can I remove that job from my list of concerns? Well said! Don't understand why any editor would try and point out these plane facts as being outdated. The Message to Garcia will always have a place in history as good reading. Have used it many times to direct thoughts as to what is expected when given a job.
For two intelligence officers at a clearly prestigious institute of training, particularly duty and dedication to the objectives of a critical mission, I regret to state, also clearly voiced by many responders above, these two individuals not only clearly missed the point of the Message to Garcia, they also missed the point that the soldier understood, better than they, that he would fufill the mission by his own ingenuity and devices by responding to any unforeseen obstacles and making all necessary adjustments and improvisations, any appropriate manner, in order to successfully fulfill his assigned task. This unfortunately provides a clear example of the difference between intelligence analyses and field operations.
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