via Politico Magazine (here)...
This was his final trip as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the last act of a Zelig-like military career that began over here more than 40 years earlier in a small German village, then proceeded to his personal involvement in every major war since, starting with the famed “left hook” in the first Iraq War and then command of the 1st Armored Division in the second. Forty long years of effort—and yet now at the end Dempsey is blunt in admitting that some things are actually worse than when he started his unusually long four-year tenure as a member of the Joint Chiefs.Of course it isn't all Dempsey's fault.
By Dempsey’s reckoning today’s complex array of threats presents NATO with its greatest challenge since the end of the Cold War, and a refugee exodus from war zones the like of which hasn’t been seen in Europe since World War II. “As recently as four years ago, most of the strategic white papers and plans within the alliance began with some version of the following sentence: `Europe is experiencing an age of prosperity and peace unlike any in its history,’” Dempsey said in an interview on his aircraft. “My challenge to my NATO colleagues now is, ‘If you can still write that sentence with candor and a straight face, please give me a call. Because I just don’t see it that way.”
But he will be the symbol of a failed generation of military leadership. The melancholy is obvious. The idea that he should have taken a different path is easy to see...if you have the courage to look for it that is.
He needed the moral courage to tell his boss that his idea was half baked. That it wouldn't work and we needed to do something different. Instead he thought that he was doing the "military" thing by nodding and saying yes sir instead of calling bullshit - bullshit.
History will use him as the posterchild for failure. That's a shame but I'm betting that he will be harder on himself for what we now face than any historian.