The Moral Imperative of Leadership
Author royalties go to Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
If you read one book in your lifetime on the warrior culture, this is that book. Active-duty Marine Colonel B. P. McCoy expertly relays his innermost thoughts and feelings, drawing on his mastery of personal leadership. He understands the intangibles that make up our modern-day warriors, those young Americans on whom we place so much responsibility when we send them into harm’s way.
The author begins with the institutional design that leads some to believe that because of a manifestation of the American culture in which we’re taught to kill from a young age through the use of video games, the task of a warrior would somehow be easily executed, based solely on these inequities. To the contrary, Col McCoy points out that the battlefield commander is hampered by the societal digression and the simple fact that young Americans can point a video weapon and kill, never feeling the true effects or suffering associated with actual combat. He explains that our culture is not that of predator, but more of prey. Through examples, he concludes that the American society places grave consequence on the taking of a human life, while we still require our young to bear arms against our enemies and to extinguish life. Only through superb training, conducted by passionate leaders, do our young Americans become moral warriors.
Col McCoy describes the total cost of combat and the price paid by all who choose to become a warrior. By pointing to positive training examples and keying on the effects of situational training, battle drills, conducted prior to and during combat, he successfully trained his Marines and developed the proper habits that would be the difference between life and death during combat. He directed his Marines to become “experts in the application of violence,” without sacrificing their humanity. In the book, it became clear that he found the combination that allowed his men to achieve tactical superiority in every aspect.
The essence of war is violence and the act of killing legitimate human targets without hesitation. To accomplish this, he instituted meaningful training and used his refined principles as a human being to guide him in the leadership and administration on the moral code that rules the field of battle. He is the perfect example of all that we hold dear in our warrior culture. He loved his men, showed them the right way through his personal example, guided his actions with passion and relayed his feelings to his men completely. He was quick to note his own shortcomings and how he overcame them and was the inspiration to the team that triumphed when all Marines survived the day.
Emotionally riveting, The Passion of Command provides inside information into the warrior culture and allows one to grasp the complexities when hardening the mind, body and spirit for the rigors of combat. Most find it hard to communicate the human effects of combat to people who have never experienced the harsh realities associated with actually engaging an enemy. Col McCoy doesn’t have that problem. He has opened the door and let the reader in.
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