I’m watching the Super Bowl, with a team with history and pride against a bunch of transients in the desert. The NFL understands today’s America, blue and red parts, as the numbers suggest. For instance, they had a smart promotion with Samsung, offering online gift cards for purchasing new HDTVs. First, they were smart enough to partner with a high quality manufacturer. Second, they allowed any store to benefit. Third, they advertised well. While I was going to purchase a Samsung anyway, the promotion encouraged me to select a slightly larger model.
I talk about this not because I want to praise the NFL, or brag about my Samsung HDTV. Though, the TV is really nice, and watching Super Bowl HD is like watching a little movie. I mention this plan because it shows that logical thought has results. Another example of that involves the person the NFL chose to flip the coin. He gots lots of applause, this man, who showed logical thought and results. I mean General David Petraeus. One of his books is on my bookshelf, the US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual. It’s one of my more unusual purchases, which by the standards of my bookcase is saying something. (I bought a copy, but it’s available online for free via the link. I paid because I think it’s a cool title to have on a bookshelf.) Rating it is hard, because there are parts that don’t matter to the general population. I’m going to award it a 3 out of 5, a quality book. I recommend it to people interested in studying leadership and duty.
[Completely non-live Super Bowl update: Wow! Things looked bad for Pittsburgh at the end of the first half, after the tipped interception. Then, the defense had a good setup and made a play. If you watch Pittsburgh’s interception, you can see Mr. Harrison make a logical decision. He looks in at the running back, notices him blocking, then retreats into coverage. Also, as to be expected from a state that elects men who promote quasi-legal prisoner abuse, the Arizona receivers attempted a quasi-legal pick on the play. Plus the Cardinals got called for a personal foul. During the halftime show, Mr. Springsteen finished his set with Glory Days, which sort of critiques sports halcyonity. I like his style.]
Why do I want to talk about leadership and duty using this book? Well, the military knows about this. Really, they know much, much more than non-military people in general, and the last government in particular. There’s an entire chapter on leadership and ethics, and and appendix on a Guide for Action. Even if you, gentle reader, are not planning to lead counterinsurgency operations (and I suspect everyone reading is not planning this), I recommend this section. It begins with the first sentence of Section 7-1, “Army and Marine Corps leaders are expected to act ethically and in accordance with shared national values and Constitutional principles, which are reflected in the law and military oaths of service.” There’s not a lot of ambiguity there; it’s an expectation.
Furthermore, leaders must work to establish ethical culture. They educate and train. They must maintain the moral high ground. This quote from Section 7-11 is extremely powerful: “Army and Marine Corps leaders emphasize on the battlefield the principles of honor and morality are inextricably linked.” Wow.
There’s a lot of this book that does not cover honor, leadership, or ethics, and I can’t recommend. That’s not for most people. Even for those interested, I’d suggest the free version, in general, unless you think it’s good on a bookshelf like me. Either way, it’s nice to see people have smart plans.
Oh yeah – the good guys in black and gold won, too. I reset the time clock on this to when most of the post was written, during the game.