Generals put us on slippery slope
A couple of weeks ago I referenced an article in Harper's called "American Coup D'Etat". In my post I argued that it was highly unlikely that an coup would occur, that the tradition of civilian control was just too strong. Immediately thereafter the "Rumsfeld Six" started demanding the resignation of Secretary Rumsfeld. At first I wasn't too concerned, "They are private citizens now, they can pseak out if they want", was my thought on the matter. I changed my mind this weekend when I read General Newbolds opinion piece in Time magazine. His article contained the following quote:
"With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution."
This is nothing less than a call to mutiny. He is attempting to absolve those who might participate from blame by offering up the excuse that "We were living up to our oath". The fact that he calims to have the support of current leaders is more disturbing. It indicates that the idea of civilian control is disintergrating.
Apparently I am not the only one this disturbs. Bill Center, RADM USN (Ret) published a piece in the Seattle PI today which contains the following:
"The decision to resign belongs exclusively to the individual. The retired generals had their chances to resign. It is reported that Maj. Gen. John Batiste may have done so. Others chose to follow orders. If they now want to offer an opinion on the conduct of the war, they are well-qualified to do so. They are also free to criticize the secretary's leadership. I've offered critical opinions of my own. It is not their place, however, to call upon the president's second-in-command to step down.
The vast majority of the more than 8,000 retired general officers have remained appropriately silent. That does not mean we lack a voice. Eisenhower was right; we already exercise disproportionate influence.
The outspoken generals have put us on a very slippery slope. You may agree with them in this case and therefore find little reason for concern. Would you be equally comfortable with 5,000 or 6,000 retired officers calling for the resignation of a leader you supported?"
I spent 14 years in the military and I never had much respect for the Khakis (Officers and CPOs),but I honestly never expected to see this.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
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