Part of inspirational leadership is powerful words. In the military, it isn’t really enough to be effective. In fact, it’s essential for leadership to be able to inspire their men, regardless of the task, the mission or anything else. This fundamental building block of command is often overlooked in a world full of numbers, training checklists and the rest. It’s just assumed that a leader will be able to speak and inspire his or her subordinates.
As such, it’s great and more than a little bit refreshing to see fire come from the mouths of one of our top generals. Within infantry circles, there’s an ism — more of a warning, really — to never mess with an old guy with a star on his CIB, nevertheless a Ranger or SF tab. That sentiment was created because of men like GEN Mark A. Milley, the US Army’s current Chief of Staff.
The Stark Warning
As we’ve progressed through the past few decades, public appeal and social media have made leaders very careful about what they say — often to the point of not being willing or able to speak their minds and really lay out the case before them. But last week at the Army’s AUSA conference, GEN Milley had some special love for those who are looking to take strategic advantage of any situation in the world as the US election cycle continues.
“I want to be clear to those who wish to do us harm…the United States military — despite all of our challenges, despite our op tempo, despite everything we have been doing — we will stop you and we will beat you harder than you have ever been beaten before. Make no mistake about that.”
These words of warning come as Russia looks to take advantage of US elections in order to better its position in Syria for themselves as well as Bashar al-Assad’s regime therein. One political analyst in Moscow, Nikolai V. Petrov told the New York Times, “Putin is in a hurry before the American elections. The next American president will face a new reality and will be forced to accept it.”
No Idle Threat
This is a fairly abrupt escalation in rhetoric as both sides see a prospective weak point in the lame-duck period of President Barack Obama. This means that it’s even more important than ever before for leaders like GEN Milley to be vocal and outspoken for US interests — and to assure any force that would try to step up to the United States that we are more than capable of not only fighting and winning, but beating them “harder than [they] have ever been beaten before.”
It’s a good sign to see in these uncertain times that leadership is willing to step up and make themselves heard. Whereas it’s true that tough words mean nothing without tough actions, the US has demonstrated time and time again that it will be victorious on the battlefield whenever called upon.
Every so often, it’s helpful to remind our prospective foes that they are one poor decision away from swift and decisive action. It’s time for them to choose the better part of valor, else they will face the wrath of everything we’ve got.
Speaking of what we’ve got for our enemies, don’t forget to showcase your “appreciation” and “share a round” with ISIS!