THE RIGHT MOMENT
Are you authority oriented?
If you can’t take an order, you should definitely not be giving an order.
When you were a Tender Foot Boy Scout or going through Basic, we have all had “KP” duty thrust upon us. Did you do it (it if not cheerfully) knowing it was an integral part of insuring your fellow scouts or soldiers that hygiene in food preparation would be secured in the kitchen galley?
Or did you carry out the order begrudgingly… pissed off at having to scour a pot thinking it ridiculous where matters of soldering are concerned. Chances are, if you didn’t appreciate it, you would be more akin to give an order that is unfit and likewise never respect the other much more serious orders which will be bestowed upon you throughout the course of your career.
As simple as it seems the humble actions of George Washington as Commander in Chief, were as authority oriented as it gets in the USA. He served as commander of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, as President of the convention that wrote the U.S. Constitution, and in 1789 was elected the first President of the United States. As President, Washington successfully solved many problems, transforming the "plan" of the Constitution into a "working" government.
As president, he did not infringe upon the policy making powers that he felt the Constitution gave Congress. But the determination of foreign policy became the predominant Presidential concern. When the French Revolution led to a major war between France and England, Washington refused to accept entirely the recommendations of either his Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, who was pro-French, or his Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, who was pro-British. Rather, he insisted upon a neutral course until the United States could grow stronger.
Washington had to be talked into a second term of office as President, and he very reluctantly agreed to it. However, after two terms Washington refused to run for a third. By refusing a third term, Washington established a firm but unwritten precedent of a maximum of two terms for a U.S. president…In his farewell address he noted: “…. The very idea of the power and the right of the people to establish government presupposes the duty of every individual to obey the established government .... Let me ... warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally .... A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume ....”
Washington – a leader who could have become king of North America for life (… had he not fully understood the responsibility of authority orientation…) Stepped down and though as a private citizen also again accepted a commission by President John Adams as General of the Armies of the US of A remained true to serving a greater good for serving his nation instead of himself.
Authority orientation is simply being able to give and take a command which is for the greater good of the force unit, mission or even country. Not for a self serving prophecy.
It is not only directed to people commanding you, but to your own use of authority. One must be oriented to the authority above them, otherwise the opposite (being oriented to your own authority.) Arrogance will insure that you will not be able to wield power fairly.
Humility keeps a leader self disciplined – When you have authority over people you have a great responsibility… be you the boy scout on KP to ensure the galley serves up sanitary (no where did I say healthy here!) grub. Like George Washington stepping down as president to enforce an example to all his future countrymen that the US was formed to free us from Kings – not create them - and thus humility also keeps the leader objective. Abuse of authority is often seen with an individual’s own self interests climbing the ladder of promotion in the military for one. In the Navy its often referred to as “ticket punching,” with the first sign often being all principles of effective authority orientation being absent.
We have all known that George Washington type individual – if we think hard enough … perhaps he is that high speed, low drag instructor who should be at the tip of the spear in combat but who instead cheerfully and nobly accepts his role in an instructors cadre to churn out fighting men we can all be proud of.
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Humility keeps a leader objective.
Speaking in the House of Commons in 1942, Winston Churchill said of German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel - "We have a very daring and skillful opponent against us, and, may I say across the havoc of war, a great general.”
Martin Blumenson’s chapter on "Field Marshal Erwin Rommel," In Blumenson’s Hitler's Generals Sums it up like this:
“…His[Rommel’s] sense of valor and chivalry were the stuff of King Arthur's knights, but it was his "boldness, use of surprise, readiness to accept risks" and above all his "intuitive sense of the battlefield" that made Rommel one of the greatest generals in military history. "Brilliantly successful in attack, and remarkably resourceful in defense," the "Desert Fox" raced his armies through France in 1940 and then repeatedly outwitted the British in North Africa…Throughout the 1930s, Rommel develops a close working relationship with Hitler, whom he initially comes to admire for progressively thwarting the Versailles Treaty and restoring Germany's strength. He is seen more and more by Hitler side. He accompanies Hitler into the Sudetenland in October 1938 and then into Prague in March 1939. But Rommel is anything but a Nazi. In fact, early on he starts to harbor "serious reservations" about the Nazi regime.”
“…[Rommel’s] devotion to the profession of arms was in the best tradition of the gentleman. In a total war fought savagely and brutally, he inspired admiration for his treatment of prisoners. He was not tainted by Nazism....With his troops he enjoyed a deep rapport. He cared for them, and although he demanded their best and more, he never squandered them. Without pretension, modest, he tackled all his tasks with clarity, energy, and common sense."
General Patton knowing Rommel was a shrewd, discliplined warrior, insured he never let his guard down or the focus off the objective of Allied forces beating Rommel on the deserts of North Africa. Patton (unlike Rommel who was indeed oriented to the survival of the German nation, but NOT Hitlers skewed view of it Power Lusting leaders) and Rommel were oreiented to the authority above them : The Allied command who relied on his pit bull tactics to defeat the Nazis and all free men of the world.
So lets look at the contrasting foes: self servitude versus humility. Power lust as it is rightfully called.
Power lust always produces an obsession. It leads to controlling the thought process of others, inordinate ambition and competition that disregards authority requires constant stimulation. Stimulation becomes a priority over all other aspects of life. It demands ardent admirers and supporters to feed lust. Fear of losing power will cause to control and manipulate people. A person in power lust has to deceive people by their actions and intent. To continue to keep the myth alive doing anything – even revising history to justify and maintain their power and control.
We also know the opposites: the Fidel Castros – Che Gueveras Hitlers and Goebbels of the world who kill and maim and cheat and steal to take advantage of their people in the name of a collective good and for their own self serving principles yet who are afraid to allow any opposing opinion or force to counter their will.
Rommel however was the great Werhmacht soldier he was; again was far from a power lusting Nazi.
Rommel is often remembered not only for his remarkable military prowess, but also for his chivalry towards his adversaries - being one of the German commanders who disobeyed the commando order (The Commando Order was a top secret order issued by Adolf Hitler on October 18, 1942 stating that all commandos captured in Europe and Africa (but excluding seamen), should be immediately executed even if they attempted to surrender. Any man or small group of men with the uniform of commando or a similar unit, or any man undertaking miltary actions while not in uniform, would be turned over to the Sicherheitsdienst (SD or Nazi security service) for summary execution.) Rommel in his heart knew the aims of his superiors were evil in intent .By the beginning of 1943, Rommel's faith in Germany's ability to win the war was crumbling, as was his estimation of Hitler. Touring Germany, Rommel was appalled at the devastation of the Allied bombing raids and the erosion of the peoples' morale. He also learned for the first time of the death camps, slave labor, the extermination of the Jews and the other atrocities of the Nazi regime. Rommel became convinced that victory for Germany was a lost cause and that prolonging the war would lead only to his homeland's devastation. He came in contact with members of a growing conspiracy dedicated to ousting Hitler and establishing a separate peace with the western allies.
In the meantime, after the failed July 20 Plot against Adolf Hitler a major crackdown was conducted throughout the Wehrmacht. As the investigation proceeded, numerous connections started appearing that tied Rommel with the conspiracy, in which many of his closest aides were deeply involved. At the same time, local Nazi party officials reported on Rommel's extensive and scornful criticism of Nazi leadership during the time he was hospitalized.
On October 14th, 1944 Rommel was at his home continuing to convalesce from an attempt on his life three months earlier. The family was aware that Rommel was under suspicion of treason and that his chief of staff and his commanding officer had both been executed. Breakfasting with his son he told him it would be a peoples court of Command against the Soviets which he commented that - 'My dear boy, our enemy in the East is so terrible that every other consideration has to give way before it. If he succeeds in overrunning Europe, even only temporarily, it will be the end of everything which has made life appear worth living. Of course I would go.'
Within a Quarter Hour Rommel’s house and family were surrounded By S.S. Men with the ultimatum he surrender and commit a forced suicide or have his family killed.
Rommel explained to his family the options and the duty he had to them and Germany by taking his own life, saved his family... or did he.
The Power Lust upon Nazi Germany was so great by that time that all Germans will suffer an eternity attempting to forget the “ilk’ which were once there countrymen – Rommel knew by returning home a nation I ruins , run by criminal (nazi) minds that were tolerated by the citizens showed him how Power Lust catered to deviations in order to gain support, approval admiration and maintain or gain power…Which his Nazi Superiors so badly needed to stay there course
Yet What Rommel did for the greater good – Albeit too late and a few dollars short -- by joining the plot to stop the power lust above him , perhaps helped shortened the affects evil had on the greater good of his countrymen.
On July 17, 1944 Rommel's staff car was strafed by an RCAF Spitfire, and he was hospitalized with major head injuries. In the meantime, after the failed July 20 Plot against Adolf Hitler a major crackdown was conducted throughout the Wehrmacht. As the investigation proceeded, numerous connections started appearing that tied Rommel with the conspiracy, in which many of his closest aides were deeply involved. At the same time, local Nazi party officials reported on Rommel's extensive and scornful criticism of Nazi leadership during the time he was hospitalized. Bormann was certain of Rommel's involvement, Goebbels was not.
The true extent of Rommel's knowledge of, or involvement with, the plot is still unclear. After the war, however, his wife maintained that Rommel had been against the plot as it was carried out. It has been stated that Rommel wanted to avoid giving future generations of Germans the perception that the war was lost because of a backstab, the infamous DolchstoBlegende, as it was commonly believed by some Germans following WWI. Instead, he favored a coup where Hitler would be taken alive and made to stand trial before the public.
Due to Rommel's popularity with the German people, Hitler gave him an option to commit suicide with cyanide or face a humiliating sham trial before Roland Freisler's "People's Court" and the murder of his family and staff. Rommel ended his own life on October 14, 1944, and was buried with full military honors.
Note, that while not all Boyscouts on KP will be turned into George Washington or the high speed low drag quiet professional instructor who serves his unit and nation well; very few Castros or Hitlers no matter how much their supporters make them( read that HIM) look like great and noble men, will ever be forgotten as the power lusting monsters they are… And admidst their regimes and under such circumstances do very few Erwin Rommels posess a sense of duty and calling and military brilliance, and humilty to lay on their sword to shorten the tides they assisted to create.
If so where are the Rommel’s under the Bin Ladens the Kim ill Jungs the new Iranian Presidents and Castro? The answer is in authority orientation, and is hopefully waiting for the right moment.
Irregardless of the above, we all need to learn to take orders, because one day we may have to give orders… however selfless those orders may be.
Thank you and hearty "Hoohahs",