The Military’s Scream

I’ve said before that there’s something disturbing when the spooks start trying to undermine their civilian masters by leaking against them or otherwise. Even when I agree with the spooks.

And I have to say more or less the same thing about the news that the Army Times, the Air Force Times, and the Navy Times are all running an unprecedented editorial tomorrow — the day before the election — calling for the ouster of the Secretary of Defense.

On the merits, they are right of course, but late to the party. And a great part of our military predicament appears to be due to the promotion of a clique of yes-man generals, and the sidelining of those with the guts to stand up to demented requirements of Rumsfeld and the (now, too late, repentant) neo-cons.

But the merits are not in doubt. The issue is the politics. This coordinated editorial will be seen as representing the voice of the officer corps. And why not? Rumsfeld is killing their troops, sending them in meaningless circles — taking and abandoning cities — without a strategic plan that anyone can understand.

The service magazines are technically private. But they will be seen, as they have been for at least two generations, as speaking for their readers. Their readers have more sense than their leaders, and have no great desire to keep being herded over the cliff.

So while I agree with the sentiment, it’s not a happy moment, not at all. This is bad for discipline, bad for morale, bad for the country. The trouble is that the service papers may have correctly decided that silence might have been even worse.

This deserves to be devastating in Tuesday’s election.

Let’s hope the long-run consequences are not devastating in a different way.

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5 Responses to The Military’s Scream

  1. Phill says:

    You are missing the much larger leaks. The Wade/Cunningham scandal began after CIA leaks to discredit Foggo an thus Porter-Goss.

    I strongly suspect that Weldon was targetted because the spooks got fed up of the crackpot conspiracy theories.

    Once the climate was established the investigations proceeded of their own accord.

    Getting the army to enter politics is much easier than persuading them to return to their barracks.

  2. milo says:

    I don’t agree that they are late to the party. I think this is about a different party. I think they really don’t want to be ordered to attack Iran and they think that this order is likely.

  3. Rafe says:

    I think it is a direct reaction Bush’s speech last week in which he said Rumsfeld has the job for the duration. I suspect that the readers of those publications suspected that Bush would hang onto Rumsfeld until the election was over and then exchange him for someone else. Now that Bush is saying that Rumsfeld isn’t going anywhere, they’re responding.

  4. I think it is a direct reaction Bush’s speech last week in which he said Rumsfeld has the job for the duration.

    That’s exactly what it is:
    Now, the president says he’ll stick with Rumsfeld for the balance of his term in the White House.

    This is a mistake.

  5. Steve says:

    Let’s hope the long-run consequences are not devastating in a different way.

    You mean like a military coup?

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