THE FALL OF THE GENERALS….They don’t call him “Blood and Guts” for nothing. In the current issue of the Monthly, Ralph Peters argues that our post-WWII system of “celebrity defense secretaries” has been a disaster for our ability to fight wars effectively. Especially under George Bush:
Today, however, our presidents do not hear unvarnished, de-politicized military advice, and the situation has never been graver than under the current administration. Presidential interviews with generals are essentially pre-scripted, with vetted talking points ? political courtiers control access to the president and determine what the president will hear. Only the president himself could change the situation by demanding to hear a range of military views (without commissars at the shoulders of the generals). President George W. Bush, who has chosen war as a policy tool, may be the American president most isolated from sound military advice.
At least six retired combat commanders have now gone public with the sort of technical ? not political ? criticism I’ve heard for years in private conversations with our generals. None of the critics has anything to gain personally. Indeed, each has much to lose by speaking out against any aspect of the most vindictive presidential administration since the Nixon era.
Retired generals criticizing Donald Rumsfeld? Bring it on! After all, “Should we put our trust instead in biased pundits, administration surrogates and a battery of yesteryear’s military retirees who’ve fed heartily at the defense-industry trough and rely on continued access to the Pentagon?”
Well, should we?