Tuesday, April 18, 2006

General Rules about Generals.

The role of generals and the military in general as it relates to shaping policy rages unabated in the blogosphere.

Most bloggers and commentators recognize the military is attempting to shape policy and foist its views on how things should be done. However, most are now only seeing a little sliver of how the military works to influence national policy with the recent outburst of criticism aimed at the President by the six generals.

Chester just published a piece on the topic and he starts it off by stating
The public denunciation of a sitting Secretary of Defense by several now-retired Generals is a profoundly disturbing affair. It would be equally disturbing were the Secretary a member of a Democratic administration. It would be no less disturbing were the generals advocating more aggression in our foreign policy, opposed to a Secretary who was more dovish -- the seeming opposite of the case we are confronted with today.
Source: The Adventures of Chester - Dear Generals: Please Stop, Immediately
A very needed pronouncement, because I would not blame the left for knee-jerkingly believing we were cheering the military generals on when they resisted President Clinton.

Resist President Clinton they did. A couple of instances of that before we move on. First and most publicly obvious was the don't ask, don't tell fiasco. Recall President Clinton tried to change the military policy prohibiting homosexuals from serving in the Armed Forces. President Clinton and his administration attempted to change that policy to allow open homosexuals serve in the military. That was decision was greeted with extreme resistance (an article I read also accuses President Clinton of not adequately consulting with the military prior to the order) and eventually the military establishment forced their Commander in Chief to back down! Now, whatever one thinks of the overt issue at hand it is quite contrary to the Constitution what happened, the military was able to override the Commander in Chief.

Poisonous is a very apt way to describe the relation between the Clinton Administration and the military.
While open conflict soon dropped from public sight [after the don't ask don't tell fiasco], bitterness hardened into a visceral hatred that became part of the culture of many parts of the military establishment, kept alive by a continuous stream of incidents and controversies. These included, to cite but a few: the undermining and driving from office of Secretary of Defense Les Aspin in 1993, followed by the humiliating withdrawal of his nominated replacement; controversies over the retirements of at least six four-star flag officers, including the early retirement of an Air Force chief of staff (an unprecedented occurrence); and the tragic suicide of a Chief of Naval Operations (also unprecedented).
Source: THE EROSION OF CIVILIAN CONTROL OF THE MILITARY IN THE UNITED STATES TODAY - by Dr. Richard H. Kohn published in the Naval War College Review Pages 1-11
So, if you are a person of the left cheering on the current insubordinate generals you had better be careful what you wish for.