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DIG ANOTHER GRAVE

Dig Another Grave tells how a dozen generals and one admiral--through glory-seeking, incompetence, carelessness, over-caution and disregard for human life--cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians alike.

INTRODUCTION

Generals are in the business of killing people. But just because a general kills the enemy and causes the deaths of some of his own troops or fails in his mission does not necessarily make him bad. It is when, through some fault of his own, he causes unnecessary suffering or death or fails in his mission that we would call him bad. And of course not all generals who on occasion fall into the “bad” category belong there all the time. As we shall see, some of the most honored generals have, because of what happened on a single occasion, found themselves on that list. What makes a general “bad?” It is not just losing a battle. Even the best generals sometimes lose. I have grouped my “bad” generals–and one admiral–in five categories: the glory seekers, the overly cautious, the incompetent, the careless, and, most controversial, the body counters. My examples range across history, from the Battle of Adrianople in 378 A.D. to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. No one country stands out as the producer of bad generals although there was a temptation to fill these pages with examples from a single conflict: the American Civil War. This book is written for the general reader, but also with the hope that some future general might read these pages and learn of the hazards to avoid.