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RET. LT. GEN. HODGES: For the last four or five years I’ve listened to experts talk about, … “Putin is this genius, he’s so smart. He can play ‘Go’ and chess simultaneously while standing on his head. He’s a former KGB agent.” Give me a break that he has no idea how corrupt his own ministry is, how corrupt his own government is, and that he doesn’t know what’s going on. So I think this is the beginning of people trying to make excuses for him, whether they’re inside Russia, or maybe they were people who were a little bit too complimentary of him outside of Russia.
This has been a lesson in strategic leadership. I’m sure he’s not hearing everything … In this very top-down centralized command structure, I’m sure there are people who are reluctant to tell him bad news or to offer different opinions. And this is also – you made a reference to all the Russian generals who have been killed – the reason they’re so exposed is because of the tradition inside Russian military for very centralized decision-making. … [A]s we would have captains and colonels and senior sergeants making decisions at the front where there was a problem, they have to have a general come forward, and then these guys are talking on cell phones, which is amazing to me, and that’s why they’re getting killed.
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