Appealing to a Lower Power
Eager to maintain their progress, Moroni quickly fires off a letter to Pahoran requesting reinforcements for Helaman's paltry forces. This is a peculiar move. Why Pahoran?
Moroni, as stated in Alma 43:16, is the "chief captain over the Nephites," meaning that he "took command of all the armies of the Nephites." So why is he contacting Pahoran, the chief judge, to request backup? Shouldn't Moroni have subordinate captains posted all over the country? Shouldn't he just contact the guy in charge of the Army of Northern Zarahemla and order him to send a few thousand troops to Helaman's aid? He's in command of all the armies of the Nephites. Especially during a time of war and way before instant communication was even a possibility, it seems stupid for Moroni to feel the need to request reinforcements from a government official instead of just taking care of it himself.
What Happens When You Assume
Spurred by the recent success at Manti, Moroni begins hatching a plot to regain more territory from the invaders. To his shock and dismay, however, the Lamanites conquer the city of Nephihah while he's busy scheming. Verses 9 and 10 explain why Moroni had not anticipated this possibility:
And now as Moroni had supposed that there should be men sent to the city of Nephihah, to the assistance of the people to maintain that city, and knowing it was easier to keep the city from falling into the hands of the Lamanites than to retake it from them, he supposed that they would easily maintain that city.
Therefore he retained all his force to maintain those places which he had recovered.So he, the cleverest of all Book of Mormon military commanders, simply supposes that somebody is going to reinforce Nephihah. Well, they're your armies, pal. Did you tell anyone to reinforce Nephihah? You have nobody to blame for this but yourself.
Moroni Blames Everyone Other Than Himself
Instead of confronting his own incompetence and admitting culpability for the fall of Nephihah, Moroni chooses to hold basically everybody else responsible (verses 11 and 13):
And now, when Moroni saw that the city of Nephihah was lost he was exceedingly sorrowful, and began to doubt, because of the wickedness of the people, whether they should not fall into the hands of their brethren.
And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country.In a moment of quiet introspection, Moroni reasons that maybe he's losing this war because the Nephites are so gosh darn wicked. Or maybe it's the government's fault. It's certainly not due to the fact that he's unqualified for his job because he's only lucked into success thus far by managing to go up against stupid opponents. It's definitely not because he has no mind for strategy at all. And it absolutely isn't because he's shown a lack of leadership and simply expects stuff to be done without him lifting a finger or even bothering to delegate important responsibilities. It's either the people or the government. They're to blame.
I'll concede one point to Moroni, though. The Nephite government has demonstrated indifference concerning the freedom of their country in one big way—they haven't bothered to can his ass and replace him with someone intelligent and capable. I don't care who it is. Lehi. Teancum. Just about anybody has a better chance of actually winning this war than Captain "Everyone's a Scapegoat" Moroni.