God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen - Jars of Clay - listen now

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

An American Junta?

What should we make of the arm-chair American generals calling for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld? How long would military discipline and order last if a group of corporals and sergeants could get together and make demands that their commanding officers resign? How well would the commanding officers receive such a demand? The word "mutiny" might come to mind. Personally I think those corporals and sergeants might quickly find themselves well acquainted with a the layout of Leavenworth, or at the very least adept at using a little tool called a "potato peeler."

Bill Center, a retired Rear Admiral, weighs in on the issue saying the Generals are putting us on slippery slope:
Civilian control of the U.S. armed forces is a fundamental democratic principle that our military men and women internalize from day one. Officers swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic." When administering that oath to enlisted personnel, we add the words "I will obey the orders of the president of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me." We hear and repeat those words countless times during a career. We take them seriously.

Thanks to actor Geena Davis, most Americans now know that the president is commander in chief; fewer know the secretary of defense is second-in-command. The secretary issues orders on behalf of the president. Those orders must be obeyed, period.
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Rumsfeld might have considered resigning in the wake of the devastating Abu Ghraib revelations. By so doing, he could have taken responsibility and sent the strongest possible signal concerning the total unacceptability of such conduct. Perhaps he did offer his resignation and the president declined to accept it. Regardless, it was very disappointing that none of the responsible generals resigned.
--- --- ---
If they [the retired Generals] 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 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?
Indeed. This is America afterall, not Guatamexaricoragua, and here the military does as the civilians tell them to do. Period.

3 comments:

Willwng 4/19/2006 03:52:00 PM  

Or one could be a mild contrarian and say, Look what happened.

Rummy is more secure in his job than before. He could now neither quit, nor be fired.

And a groundswell of sympathy has arisen within ranks.

Those seven generals were either put up to it by him, or it's a damn good thing they retired because they are effin' FUBAR!

Kevin 4/19/2006 04:18:00 PM  

I believe that most if not all of those Generals were "Generalized" during the Clinton administration. That could go a long way toward explaining their opinions and who may or may not have "put them up to it."

It would be just like the Democrats to make that kind of misunderestimation.

Willwng 4/22/2006 02:20:00 PM  

"Guatamexaricoragua"... love it!

Reminds me of that not-altogether-mythical eastern European country of Stanistan.

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