It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I’m readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I’ll, in turn, do my best for the cause by writing editorials — after the fact.

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870) American military leader

Variant: "We made a great mistake in the beginning of our struggle, and I fear, in spite of all we can do, it will prove to be a fatal mistake. We appointed all our worst generals to command our armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers."

Generally cited as an 1863 statement, there are a number of variants (dating to the 1870s) and no actual writing by Lee has been found. More information here.

Added on 30-Sep-14 | Last updated 30-Sep-14
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