The Generals’ Revolt

THE GENERALS’ REVOLT….A friend of mine who’s currently serving in Iraq emails some thoughts about the recent criticism of Donald Rumsfeld coming from retired general officers:

It?s very interesting to watch the retired generals coming out to speak against Secretary Rumsfeld from here. Prior to mobilization, I was a fairly vocal critic of this administration and its national security policies. But now that I?m on active duty, I have to stay mute and neutral, especially in front of my soldiers.

It?s also difficult to weigh the value in having these generals speak out now, versus the harm they?re doing to the principle of civilian control over the military. But I guess most of all, I have to ask the question ?why now?? It would?ve been one thing for these generals to fall on their swords in 2003 or 2004 ? to literally lay their stars on the line when it counted. But now that they?re comfortably retired, and we?re three years into the war….I don?t know what to make of these acts of dissent.

Should the generals have spoken up earlier? Should they have spoken up at all? Regardless of whether or not we agree with the generals’ criticism, I think it’s wise to be uneasy about something that has a bit of a sense of a palace revolt against the current civilian leadership of the military. But has mismanagement of the war become so extreme that the usual rules simply don’t apply anymore?

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