Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Speak Up Stanley
"Coming from Robert Gates--the epitome of the soft-spoken, buttoned-down public servant--the rebuke was particularly striking. Military officers, Gates said last week, should give their advice to America's civilian leadership 'candidly but privately,' an allusion to Gen. Stanley McChrystal's remarks in London about the need for counterinsurgency, not counterterror. in Afghanistan. ... But the general's comments, which came in a question-and-answer session after a speech to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, are the ones that have roiled Washington and the foreign-policy establishment, producing a head-snapping conversation in which conservatives are cheering the suggestion of dissent within the ranks and liberals are going on about how military officers should shut up and salute. Consistency, though, has never been an especially widespread partisan virtue. ... Many liberals have suddenly discovered Article II of the Constitution, arguing that civilian control of the military means soldiers should not express their views outside the chain of command. ... Think about the implications of the argument that McChrystal has been too candid. If we accept that argument, then if a general appears before Congress or with a president or a secretary of defense to discuss a strategic matter, is he required to say whatever the civilian leadership has told him to say? If so, does that not risk the creation of a public-relations Nuremberg problem in which the military is forced to follow a script, setting the stage for a culture in which officers follow orders blindly?", Jon Meacham at Newsweek, 19 October 2009, link: http://www.newsweek.com/id/217091.
Gates, get lost. Even Stanley is a United States Army general, not your batman. That's the US Army, not your army, nor Obama's. Don't like it? You resign. "Shut up and salute"? Is this Clinton's administration, with Hillary, now our SecState who "hated the military"? The "shut up and salute" syndrome is why I largely ignore generals' Congressional testimony. We saw many officers "tout the party line" during Vietnam. Do you remember? 58,000 killed, 1.5 trillion 2009 dollars the drain. For what? What are we doing in Afghanistan?