Fix the problem, not the blame. -- General of the Army George C. Marshall
In an interview with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, he told me, "Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well." He personally lived by that credo.
General Eisenhower had an awesome responsibility decision on launching the D-day invasion of France on June 6, 1944. After Ike said, "We'll go," he sat at his portable table and wrote a press release for use if the attack failed: "Our landings have failed . . . and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone." 1
I discussed this further with him, and he told me he remembered Lee's statement after the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg. There are many theories on what might have been the cause of that defeat, but Lee blamed no one but himself. In a letter to President Jefferson Davis, Lee wrote, "No blame can be attached to the Army for its failure to accomplish what was projected by me, nor should it be censured for the unreasonable expectations of the public. I am alone to blame." Then on August 8, 1963, Lee offered his resignation to Davis. "The general remedy for the want of success in a military commander is his removal. . . . Success should be risked to secure it. I therefore, in all sincerity, request your Excellency to take measures to supply my place." 2
On November 5, 1862, President Lincoln relieved McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac, frustrated by McClellan's delay in fighting and his lack of success when he did fight. He was replaced with Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside, who may have overre-