Forwarded by Bill Thompson with the following comments: Military sociologists will have a great time with this thesis. Wasn’t it the Greatest Generation spawned in WWII, that provided the leadership for the U.S. for the next 50 years? Many of us have learned over the years to not underestimate the potential and resourcefulness of junior officers and enlisted personnel. Robert Kaplan has stumbled on to a good story and let’s hope others pick up on it and report other positive pieces.”

By Robert D. Kaplan, author of Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground (Random House, 2005).

If you want to meet the future political leaders of the United States, go to Iraq. I am not referring to the generals, or even the colonels. I mean the junior officers and enlistees in their 20s and 30s. In the decades ahead, they will represent something uncommon in U.S. military history: war veterans with practical experience in democratic governance, learned under the most challenging of conditions.

For several weeks, I observed these young officers working behind the scenes to organize the election in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. They arranged for the sniffer dogs at the polling stations and security for the ballots right up to the moment Iraqi officials counted them. They arranged the outer ring of U.S. military security, with inner ones of Iraqi soldiers and police at each polling station, even as they were careful to give the Iraqis credit for what they, in fact, were doing. The massive logistical exercise of holding an election in a city of 2.1 million people was further complicated by the fact that the location of many polling stations changed at the last minute to prevent terrorist attacks.

Read the rest of the story HERE.