+ "We Just Declared War": Buffy as General by Ensley F. Guffey:
Yay! An essay on Season 8!
Impressive article on Buffy's role as military leader. It's fascinating to read the ways in which Buffy falls short as a leader -- prescription and sanction -- and how these themes are built into the season. The distance from her troops is what's most prominently highlighted ("Connection. Why can't I feel it?" A Beautiful Sunset) where as I'm not sure any of the characters realize in-story the failed implementation of sanctioning the troops (keeping them in line).
As to the subject of Buffy's distance from her troops and her failing to sanction Simone and Giles, I think it's the result of Buffy not actually wishing to run (she's "somehow running an army" Last Gleaming Part I). I think she wanted to be an organization that helped trained the newly called Slayers who wished to fight, to be more like an affiliation of squads who provided support when necessary.
For all that Buffy loves to be in control of her own life and she'll take control in a battle situation, she doesn't like to direct other people. She wanted to give all these Slayers the choice to fight, but once they'd joined up she kept on giving them more leeway -- to hide intel from her (all her intimates do this except Xander), to disobey orders, to break rank.
Buffy wanted to free the Potentials, she never wanted to rule them. I love how the essay points out that Buffy's offer of reward to the Slayers joining her team is a sense of "family." So Buffy's concept of how to command is essentially her same role writ large to a literal global scale, where she overrelies on her in-person charisma to build a foundation of trust and loyalty.
Really fascinating stuff. What's most interesting to me is that Buffy perhaps fails to take command of her army simply because she doesn't want to be in command of an army -- her dream was something else and somehow an army arose around her and under her, lifting her up on a pedestal, distancing her from the other Slayers when she just wanted to be an unremarkable one of many. Where Buffy still managed to excel and triumph as a reluctant hero, she ultimately fails as a reluctant general.
It's a very happy meta day, I tell you!