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Op-Ed: Keith Rosenberg 2002

There can be any number of ways to fail:

Assumption that a specific belief has the only answer. No support from nature or history.

Assumption that religious fanatics can be bought with rewards. They may be motivated by non-earthly rewards.

Assumption that the enemy is a rational one. Enemy may be fanatical, eager to die for cause.

Assumption that there is a simple or single solution. A corollary would be the belief in the infallibility of one's own leader or leadership.

Assumption that a religious, fanatical, and suicidal enemy will lose its zest for battle.


Some Common Leadership Failures

Communications inadequate. Technology or leadership weakness.

Confidence in leadership weak. Devastates alliances, morale, and execution.

Excessive reliance on one element of the plan.

Planning failures.

Excessive or irrational fear of enemy.

Tactical and strategic options missed.

Ignoring history. Events predictable from trends evident. Repeating the failures in history.

Failing to include ALL points of view.

Overlooking critical issues.

Inflexible organization, or strategy.

Failing to find optimum response.

Losing initiative. Belated response.

Intelligence inadequate.

Miscalculation. Quality control lacking during planning.

Losing moral high ground erodes support from public and allies.

Overconfidence / naivet / inexperience.

Underestimating the enemy and their ability to surprise.

Planning is too complex. Magnifying danger from Murphy's Law.

Planning is too simple. Failing to take significant factors into account.

Planning inadequate. Loses resourcefulness during action.

Propaganda by enemy not answered. Loses support, misses enemy intent.

Random errors. Teams that do their contingency planning best have the most success.

Resources lacking or not applied at critical time.

Over extending available resources, human or equipment.

Security failure in planning or field operations.

Giving away the battle plan.

Strategic coherence lacking.

Tactical coherence lacking.

Trust in others lacking. Loses vital support.

Under confidence. Leads to poor morale and expectation of failure.

Unity of purpose inadequate.

Will and resolve lacking, or fear of possible casualties. Gives up on the cause.

Ignoring reasons for failures that have or may have already occurred.

Intelligence inadequate. Missing omens of trouble; not analyzing details or putting them together.

Public relations inept: too soon and too heavy on reassurance, too late with candor and honesty. Propaganda miscues only erode public and allied support.


Present time contexts

Zionism remains the single most common Arab complaint. Zionism at its worst is well recorded and reported; it remains ignored. Any moral high ground it ever had is eroding as civilian casualties mount and as the Zionists fail to address the basic issue, that they cannot just push an indigenous people aside without consequences. Palestinians, for their part, lack inclusionary leadership with vision. Personal vendettas between Sharon and Arafat are having earthshaking consequences. The failing Israeli assumption here is that a religious, fanatical, and suicidal enemy will lose its zest for battle.

American focus on Iraq misses the real threat to humankindthe confluence of terrorism and nuclear weapons. The Administration paints a picture where Hussein is a grave threat by its aid to terrorists. In fact, whatever Iraq has contributed, it is miniscule to what Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern States have contributed. Most of the manpower for 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia. Failing to take the UN into a partnership eroded international support. So also for treaties protecting the environment and human rights.


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