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News How many generals? Cannon Fodder?

  1. May 1, 2007 #1
    I have played chess since childhood. I know the absolute value of protecting the king and the relative gain on occasion of sacking a queen. I also know the value of being on the front lines. Indespensible. So I was wondering if anyone knew by breakdown among the casualties by rank? what has been the highest rank lost in Iraq?
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  3. May 1, 2007 #2
    The highest ranking officer that I can google was a colonel.

    There was also a Marine Major who was the highest ranking female killed.

    The top brass stays in the green zone or in Kuwait
  4. May 2, 2007 #3


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    General David Petraeus lead his troops in Iraq during the combat phase, and later he was based in Mosul. Certainly the top level theatre commanders stay in the Green Zone or in Kuwait.


    Leader of the Fabled 101st to Command in Iraq
  5. May 2, 2007 #4


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    The highest rank killed has been colonel.

    Here is a site listing all US dead including their rank. If you import the list into excel and parse it you can sort it by rank. http://www.icasualties.org/oif/US_NAMES.aspx [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  6. May 2, 2007 #5


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    Keep in mind, in chess the queen has sujper powers none of the other units possess.

    Similiarly, once you're promoted past the rank of lieutenant colonel, you have laser vision and can fly.
  7. May 3, 2007 #6


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    Chess is a really poor analogy, since the 'king' is nothing but a piece of plastic, wood, or stone. The thinking is done by a piece completely outside the game.

    The person making the decisions has to be located in a spot where he can see what's going on. In past wars, the general had to be near the front where he could get a good view of all the action with his own eyes, plus have a good cavalry to bring observations of things beyond the general's own eyes. Today, the general relies more on the modern equivalent of the cavalry to bring him a bigger view of the battle - except the modern equivalent requires a communications infrastructure and the means to process the observations.

    You see more if your infrastructure isn't destroyed by enemy fire than you do if you stand on a hill to personally view the battle.

    I take it you suspect generals use a strategy designed to protect their own life rather than a strategy designed to win? Or you suspect the lack of risk to their own life makes them more willing to sacrifice their troops?
    Last edited: May 3, 2007
  8. May 3, 2007 #7
    I'm not sure what I suspect here, I was just curious as to whether our own deployment strategy was hampering our efforts in any way--either from the standpoint of bringing this mess to a "successful" conclusion or in recognizing the ultimate futility. I suppose at some level I am bothered by the abstract nature of calling the shots from within a safe bunker or green zone. Then it does become somewhat like a chess game. I'm not suggesting that the brass does't grieve the loss of every soldier, but its far different than experiencing on a daily basis the absolute chaos that seems to reign at the moment.

    My real ***** has more to do with a system where non-combatants call the shots ultimately with no risk to their lives or even those of their sons and daughters. Its been said often enough to be a cliche, but apart from a few brave exceptions to the rule, it's not the neocon's kids or even the congressman and women's that fight wars like these. Personally, I'd rather see a draft without deferrment, that exposes the entire population to equal risk. I suspect that we might be more circumspect in the long run.
  9. May 3, 2007 #8


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    Maybe not quite so poor - I saw a "60 Minutes" piece a year or so ago that talked about the command and control center for the Iraq theater. I think it was in Florida...

    It is like chess except that their king/queen are on the board, but ours are not.

    edit: found it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Central_Command
    Last edited: May 3, 2007
  10. May 3, 2007 #9
    Two remarks,

    Firstly, what are the odds in the ranks triangel of having casualities in the few stars ranks out there?

    Secondly, those generals are of the "been-there-done-that" category, having been cannon fodder in Bosnia or Gulf War I or something similar.
  11. May 3, 2007 #10


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    The odds increase dramatically because you know that an enemy will be looking to take out the leadership.

    Bad analogy.... according to this, it appears as if we're fighting with less firepower, but at the same time it's impossible for us to lose. I think neither are actually true
  12. May 3, 2007 #11


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    Yeah, it is still a stretch. I've seen movies where the board is life-sized and the players are people. If you're the king, you're the decision-maker and a player, though a nearly useless one. In the Iraq war, CENTCOM was a decision-maker and was invulnerable - but it wasn't exactly a player.
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