Monday, January 31, 2005

Friends, Generals and Captains of Industry,
Lend Me Your Ears

By BRUCE WEBER

QUEENSTOWN, Md. - The Air Force generals were hard on Brutus. The consensus was that he acted with deadly force when other avenues were open to him. He made a bad decision, they said - at least as it was portrayed by Shakespeare - to sanction and lead the conspiracy to murder Julius Caesar.

"Brutus is not an honorable man," said Lt. Gen. William R. Looney III, one of 20 or so senior Air Force officers and executives - mostly two and three-star generals and their civilian equivalents - gathered at the Aspen Institute for a daylong leadership seminar here. "He was a traitor. And he murdered someone in cold blood."

And though General Looney acknowledged that Brutus had the good of the republic in mind, Caesar was nonetheless his superior. "You have to understand," the general said. "Our ethos is to obey the chain of command."

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