WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

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Thomas Ricks: "The Generals"

Thomas Ricks, as shown in an AP file photo provided by Penguin Press in 2005.
(AP Photo/The Penguin Press/ Maj. David Olson)
Thomas Ricks, as shown in an AP file photo provided by Penguin Press in 2005.

Leadership during wartime can bring dramatic victories and resounding failures, shaping the legacies of both the generals who lead wars and the countries in conflict. Though retired four-star Army Gen. David Petraeus and Marine Gen. John Allen are considered masterminds behind U.S. military strategy in an unpopular war, recent analysis has been devoted to their roles in a sex scandal. Veteran military reporter Thomas Ricks thinks that's a problem. He chronicles the decline of American military leadership from World War II to today in his new book, "The Generals." Ricks joins Kojo to look at some of U.S. history's top generals, and explore how today's commanders are adapting -- or not -- to the demands of modern warfare.

Video: Inside The Studio

Veteran military reporter Thomas Ricks weighed in on the sex scandal engulfing retired four-star Army Gen. David Petraeus and Marine Gen. John Allen. Ricks said the real scandal is the taxpayer funds invested in an FBI investigation of the matter, as well as the lack of attention Americans pay to military leadership. "We seem to care more about the sex lives of our generals than we do about the real lives of our soldiers," Ricks said. He added that news media devoted a disproportionate amount of time talking about the American security contractors killed in the Benghazi, Libya, attack, when hundreds of contractors have been killed in Iraq without nearly as much press.

Read An Excerpt

Excerpt from "The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to Today" by Thomas E. Ricks. Copyright 2012 by Thomas E. Ricks. Reprinted here by permission of Penguin Press. All rights reserved.

WAMU 88.5

The Music And Legacy Of Motown

Motown founder Berry Gordy and director Charles Randolph-Wright of “Motown the Musical" join Diane for a conversation about the history of Detroit's famous sound.

WAMU 88.5

Will Montgomery County Go "Bottoms Up" On Liquor Laws?

Since Prohibition, Montgomery County has held the purse strings on liquor sales, meaning the county sells every drink from beer to bourbon to local bars and restaurants. But local business owners are pushing back from this system, claiming it lacks efficiency and leaves customers waiting. County officials say they are holding out for alternatives that protect those within the industry. We discuss both sides of the issue today.

WAMU 88.5

Exelon's Chief Strategy Officer On Its Proposed Takeover Of Pepco

Kojo chats with Exelon's chief strategy officer about the company's vision for electric service in the Washington region, and its argument for why its acquisition of Pepco is in the best interest of customers.

WAMU 88.5

Computer Guys And Gal

Another year is coming to a close and the Computer Guys And Gal are here to discuss this year's biggest technology news, including the growth of virtual reality and the "Internet of Things."

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