Today the general that was leading the American effort in Afghanistan submitted his resignation to the President. He did so because he made a fatal flaw, one that people with power who aren't the overall leaders, the untouchables if you will, sometimes forget. That rule is that there is no freedom of speech when you criticize in public the people you work for.

That's especially true in the military. The military isn't necessarily set up for people to be independent thinkers. Unlike many other jobs, the military's main goal is to train people to follow orders to the tee without question. For the most part, the military can't afford to let people at certain ranks make decisions for themselves. Being in the military means knowing that someone might ask you to give up your life for the greater good; if you're unwilling to do that, you should never join the military, and if you're unable to accept the responsibility to send someone to what might be their death to serve their country, then you shouldn't have that position.

Something that the military does teach is that everyone in essence serves the ranks above them. In the military, it's easy to know who's at the top. It is an interesting conundrum that some officers will defer to career military sergeants of certain rank in many situations, but the buck stops with the guy with the most stripes or the most brass.

What the people at the top sometimes forget is that the military works for the people, and overall, they report to the President. It's too bad for them that a new person is elected every 4 or 8 years, and that person might be a civilian with no military training. Those are the rules they know they signed up for when they joined the service. Those that are lucky to get to be a general or an admiral know that when all is said and done, it's the President who signs off on whatever they, or other advisors, come up with.

People who get to be generals or admirals also are taught a lot of history. Mainly military history, but there's a lot of presidential history in there as well. The idea is to not make the same mistakes that have been made in the past by whomever. The general who resigned today forgot that MacArthur got fired rather than resigned for basically doing the same thing. The general today, if he hadn't resigned, would have had to have been fired because he forgot a lesson, and top brass in the military aren't afforded the luxury of forgetting lessons, especially when the bulk of their job is sending people off who might not be coming back home.

If you look at this properly, you realize that though this seems like it's only geared towards the military, it's basically how regular business is as well. CEOs are beholden to stock holders often enough, but make the wrong personnel move and there's the probability of a major strike that can cripple a company. Company CEOs need to remember that, in their own way, they work at the luxury of their employees, and are thus beholden to making sure that whatever decisions they make that are good for the company are also good for the majority of their employees. Because if they're not, unless they're the owners of the company, they'll either be forced to resign or will be fired.

Interesting leadership lesson our country viewed today; I wonder if anyone will repeat it any time soon.