Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Politics and Generals.

I have blogged on this before.

In our model of government and society the military is subordinate to the civil government. The Constitution demands it and when one thinks about it the virtues required for military success are not what we want to govern or normal day to day affairs.

This has caused a friction in our society when we decide to war. Perhaps not in every war but quite a few it has. The American Civil War, Vietnam, and our current war are situations where there is friction between the civil and the military. In the case of the current war it isn't so much between the civil government and the military but one side in the debate trying split the Bush Administration and the military.

Quite a few people say it was politics that lost Vietnam and not the military. Well, the making of war is a political matter. What many Vietnam era soldiers are right to complain about is micro-managing from Washington D.C. during the war. High level officials pushing new rifles on the troops or controlling small scale troop movements and actions. Only rarely and in special circumstances should such interference happen.

Patton said a commander should not normally involve himself in the affairs of subordinates more than two levels below his position. Obviously the operative word is normally but it seems to me to be a good rule of thumb. I know my boss and he knows me. I know his boss and she knows me however her boss I am familiar with but on a given day I bet she doesn't know what I am doing (and vice versa). It seems the crew from D.C. violated that rule in Vietnam.

Of course, every now and then a given PFC will act in such a matter to demand the attention of someone way up the chain of command. Lyndie England is a good example of this. The actions of her and her comrades made a large impact and demanded high level intervention to set their mess straight. This happens in any large organized effort.

It appears the Bush administration is handling the situation in Iraq well. They have set high level goals, told their commander what their resources and restrictions are and let them work to accomplish those goals. Why do I say we are seeing military-civilian friction? Because the left is utterly clueless in military matters and are trying to convince the American public of the supremacy of the military over the civilian.

John Kerry and this merry band decided that the Bush Administration does not have standing to command due to the President's lack of combat experience. They tout their own experience (and try to minimize their active rejection and outright hate for the military) and medals to try to show how only they have the moral authority to conduct a war. There is no requirement for the Commander in Chief to be a former warrior.