Center for Galactic Lessons Learned 

Despite childhood notions of the contrary, neither the Rebel Alliance nor the Galactic Empire made militarily-sound decisions.

Ultimately,[1] the Alliance overcame the Empire, and all was right with the universe.But that’s not because of superiority of warfare—it was because of Leia and R2.

That is, at least according to a blogger known as the Angry Staff Officer.

Here he recounts the problems plaguing Alliance leadership:

Mentorship, if you can call it that, was lacking for senior Alliance leadership, mainly on the religious/philosophical side. The return of the Jedi class to warfighting was meant to be a new hope, and yet the surviving Jedi proved too set in their ways to properly mentor the young Skywalker. Fearing that the truth would burden him with too much knowledge, they merely dropped bits of twisted truth along the way, leading him to make the rash choices that they so desperately bewailed. Obi Wan Kenobi spent most of his time either lying to Luke, or explaining his lies. Yoda never bothered to give Luke any true background on the situation until his dying breaths, a colossal waste of resources. Hide-bound into a static mentality that only yearned for the good ‘ol days, these “chiefs of staff” offered no great mentorship to Luke and may have in fact hindered his development by hoarding information like a bad staff officer.

Princess Leia seemed to have been the only savvy leader on either side. She operated as a good insurgent: blending with the populace, making friends with local nationals, collecting intelligence and disseminating it, thinking on her feet, and being pretty handy with a blaster. If it were not for her and R2D2, the whole Rebel Alliance would have fallen apart [emphasis mine].

And it wasn’t just the Alliance that had fundamental leadership issues. The same was true for the Empire:

In a stratified military, strained from policing every edge of the Galaxy, the Empire was hamstrung from its Chief Propaganda Officer, Lord Vader. Vader’s Commisar-like mentality meant that little went unpunished. His propensity to micromanage his battlefield commanders, both ground and fleet, led to risk aversion, as did his lethal punishment of even minor infractions. Vader’s obsession with finding Luke dominated his thinking so much that it repeatedly put the entire Imperial fleet at risk, whether it was flying into an asteroid belt or allowing a Rebel strike group onto Endor. However, it did allow for greater upwards mobility for those commanders who acted without question, as multiple O-6 to O-7 commands were rendered “vacant by force choke.” Emperor Palpatine was also a severe micromanager, making battlefield decisions around Endor and ignoring his intelligence sections.

There’s a lot more. You should read it. And while you’re at it, subscribe to his RSS feed as well.[2]

(via Greg Koenig)

  1. Spoiler alert?

  2. I would recommend you follow him on Twitter as well, but he tweets a little too frequently for my tastes. (I’ve been in a purging mood as of late, so I can’t abide him on social media.)