Friday, April 14, 2006

Who Runs the Military?

In the 1860s (here in the USA that is) we fought a Civil War. The cause of the war is not the topic here. What we need to recall is the terrible relations the executive branch had with one of its subordinate departments and not so much with the department but with individuals or an individual within the given department.

What department? The Department of War (as it was called back then) and the individual in particular was George Brinton McClellan. There were quite a few squabbles between Abraham Lincoln and General McClellan with McClellan often using simian adjectives to describe President Lincoln. Lincoln's orders to McClellan were very much resented as ignorant civilian meddling. Eventually Lincoln was able to assert his authority over the unruly army.

It appears we have a little of this going on and have had it going for sometime now. It certainly was a problem during the Clinton years. President Clinton with his background was not very popular amongst the military leadership and a number of officers resigned or lost their jobs. I recall one officer who in a speech called his Commander in Chief a philandering dope smoker (or similar) that officer lost his job and well should have.

I found an article out there that talks about this problem in great detail. The author fears bad things for America if the military does not return to its proper place.

I leave you with one quote from the paper I dug up (more commentary will come as I read and analyze the paper)
In 2000, a three-star general casually referred to a uniformed culture in the Pentagon that labels the Office of the Secretary of Defense as "the enemy"–because it exercises civilian control.
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 Page 26
That is a bad thing.