New Leadership Lessons from Peace

By | July 26, 2019

[July 26, 2019] Edward Kennedy III is a leader in war and peace. He calls out those who FAIL to learn from WAR; those very lessons that falsely allow us to believe that war is brutish and nasty yet teaches us good lessons. Today, he discusses his belief that PEACE teaches false lessons.

Once upon a time, the greatest writer of all time, Leo Tolstoy, wrote that “An arrogant person considers himself perfect. This is the chief harm of arrogance in that it interferes with a person’s main task in life; becoming a better person.” I’m a product of war. My father, my great grandfather, and as far back in my family history known to us; we have produced warriors and are better for it. During one of the fiercest battles I was part of during the Vietnam War, I came to a realization (out of nowhere) that it was the dreadful peace among nations that drove us to this war in Southeast Asia. Prosperity and peace are the mother and father of war. There are lessons to be learned from peace but they are not what you might think.

The first lesson. Arrogance prevails in peace. Combat focuses the mind in a way that only warriors can truly understand. I’ve been in those pre-combat missions that make it clear that many of us will die; some horribly. I’ve rubbed shoulders with friends who lived on a few hours after we decided upon a particular course of action to take against the enemy. War destroys all arrogance; peace encourages it. The most arrogant people are those who suffer the niceties of peace while paying no price.

The second lesson. Emotion rules. During combat, decisions are made carefully. The slightest mistake will get you and your buddies killed. Being close to the right answer and the tactically correct position doesn’t count for much when others are doing their damndest to take you out; usually with automatic weapons. Combat produces a certain level of awareness that tends to drown out emotional decision making. Those that allow their emotions to control them usually die. Peacetime is when emotions are allowed to run its course because there are few consequences. Politicians know this and why they promise the world to you but never deliver.

The third lesson. False compassion is stylish. Don’t you care for the pitiful, downtrodden immigrants? And don’t you feel morally superior to the dirty politicians who would deny benefits to the poor? Yeah, right. In war, we all dig foxholes and fight alongside your buddy who may be from an underprivileged family in the Bronx or rich relatives in the Hamptons. I don’t care and neither do they when someone is trying their best to kill you both. Peace is for those who have the luxury to waste their and your money and time on folks who don’t deserve an unearned slice of bread. No one came up to us during a battle to say, hey fellas, want an easy way out.

The fourth lesson. Hard work is devalued. Do you think you work hard?   Try combat for a few hours … or days. For those who’ve been there, they know the utter exhaustion, volatility, horror, and depravity of it all. When in physical combat with the enemy, it seems never to end. There are no breaks, timeouts, do-overs, or “safe spaces.” When in a peaceful setting back home, you can go to the refrig, get a beer and some peanuts and watch a game from the comfort of your couch. Hard work doesn’t count for much and if you do work hard, most people consider you a sucker. They take the same amount of taxes out of your paycheck as the next guy to give your money to those who don’t want to work at all. Peace discourages work; war manifests work.

Next time people implore you to accept “peace” as the most elevated of human endeavors; stop and think. It’s the peace that drives us to war among ourselves and among nations. It’s the peace that pushes us into ordinariness and complacency and to devalue others. Peace is a byproduct of war and we have yet, as a world, learned how to address its real benefits properly and we have also failed to learn our lessons from war that gives us peace.

Author: Edward Kennedy III

Edward M. Kennedy III joined the U.S. Marine Corps on May 22, 1966 after graduating from high school in San Diego, California. Deployed to South Vietnam as part of the 1st Marine Division in January 1967. Earned a Bronze Star Medal with “V” device for valor in combat against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam during the Battle of Huế. After an honorable discharge married high school sweetheart Victoria Elizabeth and had five children and now have eight grandchildren. Graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Civil Engineering and started a small firm working construction projects throughout the west coast. Sold the business and now tinkers in his retirement as a part-time consultant for whoever can afford him.

31 thoughts on “New Leadership Lessons from Peace

  1. Mr. T.J. Asper

    First, thank you for your service Mr. Kennedy. Your service in Vietnam is appreciated and forever will be. Those like Jane Fonda (traitor) and those like her who protested will rot in hell.
    Second, thank you for another great article that gives us the disadvantages of ‘peace.’ We get soft during peacetimes but I’m not advocating for war. We have to recognize the peace problem and overcome getting fat, lazy, and stupid. England did this after WWII and look at what it did to destroy their economy. Only PM Margaret Thatcher was able to bring them back.
    Please publish more for us fans of yours.

    1. José Luis Rodriguez

      Share this with your High School class?

    2. Lynn Pitts

      Well said, Mr. TJ. We should all take a good lesson from what England did after WWII and discuss why it led to such problems in a once great country.

  2. Tracey Brockman

    Wonderful article. Thank you again for your great works, Mr. Kennedy. I know others have written this too but you have no idea how well-received your writings are among my friends and colleagues.

  3. Edward M. Kennedy

    I want to thank everyone for their kind words of encouragement and for enjoying my article. Being retired is keeping me busy. Occasionally I fly to some unnamed country for a job that requires some of my special engineering talents. Usually, this is in dangerous places that many will not go.

  4. Kenny Foster

    Mr. Kennedy, I would like to read more about your service in Vietnam as a US Marine. I enjoyed an earlier article you wrote about one of the battles. This is where we can glean more info on how leadership works at the tactical level and how to survive under fire (figuratively) and how to make sense of things when all around you is going to sh**. Thanks for another great article today. Even my wife liked it.

    1. Ronny Fisher

      It would be great if Mr. K gave us more on his service, so I agree. I would like to read what he thinks about the senior military AND civilian leaders during the Vietnam War. I’m sure it is not too flattering.

    2. Martin Shiell

      I’m with you guys. I hope he takes us up on the offer. I promise to help spread the word that EKIII is back and back strong.

  5. Wilson Cox

    Mr. Kennedy, I’m also one of your big fans and wish you would write more articles. I know you send your stuff to other publications but please give us some more of your humor, on-target analysis, and butt-kicking opinion.

  6. Max Foster

    “Arrogance”….. your point is well taken. Arrogance in leaders is a deadly problem that manifests itself in several ways. Your take on this is enlightening and, I might add for my fellow commentators, entertaining and funny. Your other point, second in the list, is about emotion ruling our political system. This is so correct. Just look at the Democrats recently elected and think they are the moral police of us all. Crazy stuff. America is headed toward third-world status thanks to liberals.

      1. Forrest Gump

        Stupid is as stupid does. Oh wait, someone else said that.

      2. Andrew Dooley

        She will just claim they are being sexist by investigating her. Playing by the rules and the law is not important when you are on a moral crusade.

    1. JT Patterson

      Max, you wrote what I was thinking exactly. Arrogance is just too much in these freshmen (women) politically elected people. SHows that some of her voters are really brain dead.

      1. Scotty Bush

        🙂 Brain-dead, you’re killing me with humor.

  7. Willie Shrumburger

    Mr. Kennedy, I’m also one of the fans of your writing and I do appreciate you getting to the point quickly and making some excellent arguments on something we often don’t think about. Please keep writing.

  8. Janna Faulkner

    Hard lessons from peace. Thanks. I never thought of this the way you have presented it. I also liked your lessons from war. Please keep providing real articles for Gen. Satterfield’s leadership blog. Your stuff is one of the reasons I keep coming back here. Keep it up. We all love your writings.

    1. Bryan Lee

      Yep! Spot-on comment. This is why I too come back to Gen. Satterfield’s blog. Great blog post by Edward.

  9. Nick Lighthouse

    Good to read another, non-politically correct article, Mr. Kennedy. Thanks for your succinct and hard-hitting analysis.

    1. Greg Heyman

      Yes, non PC is the norm for Mr. MKIII. We all should read this at least twice to figure out his point and appreciate the underlying humor.

      1. Yusaf from Texas

        Every time I read it I find something new. Great article.

      2. Joe Omerrod

        Greg, you are sooooooooooo right. I too re-read the article and found more hidden jewels in it.

  10. Shawn C. Stolarz

    You’re BACK! Welcome back to THE LEADERSHIP BLOG. I’m one of your biggest fans.

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