Former senior advisor the Secretary of Defense Col. Doug Macgregor joins Max Blumenthal and Aaron Mate for a candid, live discussion of the Russia-Ukraine war and his time in the Trump administration when an Afghan withdrawal was sabotaged and conflict with Iran and Syria continued.
Douglas Abbott Macgregor (born January 4, 1953) is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and government official, and an author, consultant, and television commentator.
In 2020, President Donald Trump proposed Macgregor as ambassador to Germany, but the Senate blocked the nomination. On November 11, 2020, a Pentagon spokesperson announced that Macgregor had been hired to serve as Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense, a post he held for less than three months.
Macgregor was the “squadron operations officer who essentially directed the Battle of 73 Easting” during the Gulf War. Facing an Iraqi Republican Guard opponent, Macgregor led a contingent consisting of 19 tanks, 26 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and 4 M1064 mortar carriers through the sandstorm to the 73 Easting at roughly 16:18 hours on 26 February 1991 destroyed almost 70 Iraqi armored vehicles with no U.S. casualties in a 23-minute span of the battle.
Macgregor was at the front of the formation in the center with Eagle Troop on the right and Ghost Troop on the left. Macgregor designated Eagle Troop the main attack and positioned himself to the left of Eagle Troop. Eagle Troop Scouts subsequently followed Macgregor’s tank through a minefield during which Macgregor’s crew destroyed two enemy tanks. As Macgregor was towards the front of the battle involved in shooting, he didn’t “request artillery support or report events to superiors until the battle was virtually over, according to one of his superior officers.” The risks he undertook “could have been criticized had the fight turned ugly.”
At a November 1993 exercise at the Army’s National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, Lt. Col. Macgregor’s unit vastly outperformed its peers against the “Opposition Force (OPFOR).” The series of five battles usually end in four losses and a draw for the visiting units; Macgregor’s unit won three, lost one, and drew one. Macgregor’s unit dispersed widely, took unconventional risks, and anticipated enemy movements.
Macgregor was a top Army thinker on innovation, according to journalist Thomas E. Ricks. He “became prominent inside the Army” when he published Breaking the Phalanx, which argued for radical reforms. Breaking the Phalanx was rare in that an active duty military author was challenging the status quo with detailed reform proposals for the reorganization of U.S. Army ground forces. The head of the Army, United States General Dennis Reimer, wanted to reform the Army and effectively endorsed Breaking the Phalanx and passed copies out to generals; however, reforming the U.S. Army according to the book met resistance from the Army’s de facto “board of directors”—the other four-star Army generals—and Reimer did not press the issue. Breaking the Phalanx advocated that “the Army restructure itself into modularly organized, highly mobile, self-contained, combined-arms teams that look extraordinarily like the Marine Corps’ Air-Ground Task Forces”. His article called “Thoughts on Force Design in an Era of Shrinking Defense Budgets” was published in The Dado Center Journal (the IDF’s “Journal on Operational Art”).
Many of Macgregor’s colleagues thought his unconventional thinking may have harmed his chances for promotion. While an Army NTC official called him “the best warfighter the Army has got,” colleagues of Macgregor were concerned that “the Army is showing it prefers generals who are good at bureaucratic gamesmanship to ones who can think innovatively on the battlefield.” Macgregor was also seen as blunt, and to some, arrogant. Despite Macgregor’s top post-Gulf War NTC showing, his Army career was sidelined. The summer of 1997 marked the third time the Army refused to put him in command of a combat brigade,“a virtual death warrant for his Army career, relegating him to staff jobs as a colonel for the remainder of his service.”
Macgregor was the top planner for General Wesley Clark, the military commander of NATO, for the attack on Yugoslavia.
In the fall of 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who had read Breaking the Phalanx, insisted that General “Tommy” Franks and his planning staff meet with Colonel Macgregor on 16–17 January 2002 to discuss a concept for intervention in Iraq involving the use of an armored heavy force of roughly 50,000 troops in a no warning attack straight into Baghdad.
Macgregor left the Army in June 2004.
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The problem with US foreign policy is that it is determined by those individuals in the State Department and Langley and not the Department of Defense and do we need to mention what tribal group has been running that show! It underscore my shock at University in the mid 80s, when during an International Relations class, a guest speaker, an ROTC officer, came to deliver a special lecture. He was the most anti-war persona imaginable and as he gallantly stated at one point, “military men know war first-hand and do everything possible to avoid it.” Nothing closer to the truth could have been said.
Listening to Col. MacGregor, I’m dumbfounded by the revelation that there is indeed one honest professional in the US military establishment left who can speak with professional integrity and not be influenced at all by state-sponsored propaganda. May he be an example to all those wayward individuals who hold truth above all even if it means going directly against your government’s policy.
The donors need to be brought to heel. We have to remind ourselves that the people are supposed to be the determining factor in such matters, and not wholly biased defense contractors. This is not our fight. Our exceptionalism is embarrassing and dumb. Childish even.
We need to fix our state dept.
None of this can be done without the very tough challenge of getting an uninformed and somewhat uncaring public onboard, and a veterans structure that seems to be immune to being abused via the forever wars and fake wars, with the officers some of the worst in slugging the koolaid down that all wars are good for the military and hence the veterans, and the thinking and analysis stops there.
Jim. I may be going out on a limb here, but I would estimate that 99% of the American public believes what Biden says….that Putin is a war criminal. It’s almost too easy to use social media and other media to strike an emotional (and uninformed) response to Russian military activity with a few fake videos and a great burlesque performance by Zelensky(y). I think he wears the same t-shirt as his stooge cousin Zuckerface. Either Putin will give up in the face of worldwide idiocy or he will escalate out of frustration. Biden should really rethink the Devils bargain he has made. But, his old man’s ego gets in the way. What a mess!
“…but I would estimate that 99% of the American public believes what Biden says….that Putin is a war criminal.” – You are probably right, so what that teaches us is that Trump had his way of spin, smoke, and outright lying, and Biden has his. They get away with it only because they have an audience that gets a buzz out of it. When Biden mentions the thousands of innocent Donbass civilians killed in the indiscriminant shelling, then his stature with me will go up a bit. Biden unwisely revealed, for no real benefit, that he can be a grifter, too. If I were one of his aides I would have told him that was a dumb thing to do at his age and the point he is in his career. I expected more, but have no suicidal thoughts over it. Tomorrow is a new day and the fight begins at dawn.
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