Hon. Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the Army
Gen James C. McConville, Chief of Staff, United States Army
Hon. Mark Esper, Secretary of Defense
Hon. Sean O’Donnell, Inspector General (Acting), Department of Defense
Gen Joseph M. Martin, Vice Chief of Staff, United States Army
Lt Gen Thomas Seamands, G–1 (DCS Personnel), United States Army
RE: Systematic Leadership Failure
I am terribly disappointed, but not terribly surprised, at the leadership failure at senior levels of the Department of Defense and United States Army in allowing the intimidation, bullying, and loss of service to the nation of an officer selected for promotion who did his duty. In his own words, he will be fine; but the question shouldn’t even come up. I am less confident that the nation and the next generation of military leaders will be fine.
It is your job to ensure that those who are qualified for promotion to more-senior positions are promoted, free from outside interference. You have not succeeded in that tasking. Each of you must consider exactly what that means to the officers of today and of tomorrow. Each of you must further consider the permanent damage to the oath of commissioning — that one’s duty is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic — that this fiasco has done and will do in the future. Each of you must consider whether orders you have been given (however couched) regarding this matter are lawful, and how to respond personally to those orders. Each of you must consider what the treatment of Lt Col (P) Vindman — ratified through your silence — will mean to those who later must choose whether to speak truth to power outside of a combat-imminent situation.
Each of you must also consider a significant structural reform to the Defense and Army personnel systems, and advise the other services of your considerations and conclusions. There is no place for the insult of so-called “rehabilitative assignments” for commissioned officers.
Plenty more where that came from…
Maybe energy would be better spent being concerned with the US military being employed in Afghanistan for almost 20 years with no end in sight and no stated goals than can be achieved. Maybe some of these losing Army officers could better spend their time studying their profession and bettering themselves as officers, than worrying about a paper-pushing pogue like Vindeman who thinks the the foreign policy of the United States resides outside of the will of its President.
The most advanced and professional military in the world is stymied once again by determined amateurs, but we should respect their judgment of any situation at all?
Seriously, at this point in time, why should be be thinking that any of these Military leaders have a remote clue about much of anything beyond keeping their jobs and helping their cohorts keep theirs?
Your comment is mere “whataboutism.”
But addressing it head on, the Afghanistan problem is a civilian political problem and not a military problem. We are in Afghanistan because the civilian leadership that chose to take us there did so rashly and without a clear exit plan. And then, before Afghanistan was secure, the civilian leadership decided to run headlong into a second poorly thought out invasion. The civilian leadership that followed then felt stuck in Afghanistan fearing the creation of a power vacuum – the exact consequence of drawing back from the other poorly thought out invasion of the time.
Of course, the disgusting troll who currently occupies the White House tried to blame his predecessor for creating ISIS in payment for his efforts to get the US out of Iraq. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jv_tChFyhKs (calling Obama the “founder of Isis” at 0:13).
It appears, at least from where I sit, that the military did its job in Afghanistan and in Iraq rather well. Even with forces and resources split between two invasions, the US military invaded on a virtual moment’s notice, captured military targets, toppled existing governments, and set up effective short-term control. But then it was asked to do something that is, frankly, not its job – it was asked to keep the peace and to nation-build.
We are stuck in Afghanistan almost 20 years later because a cowboy civilian draft dodger, with the bipartisan approval of spineless civilian career politicians (as well as some good men and women who got caught up in the moment), rushed to war without thinking of the consequences.
I know the “Mission Accomplished” banner was about Iraq and not Afghanistan. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niWvafMn-J4. But it is telling of the mindset of the civilian leadership at the time. The civilian leadership never had any idea what the long term objectives were when they sent the military in, and now that civilian failing is laid bare.
Worse still, the disgusting troll of a man currently serving as Commander-in-Chief has the nerve to blame the military for the poor decisions of past civilian administrations in a transparent effort to discredit anyone who disagrees with him today. And perhaps worse still, millions of Americans are buying it hook line and sinker.
If you were more informed, you’d be aware of the many reports from top generals that outright lied about what is going on there and whether we were winning or not. This is not by any means solely a civilian problem. It is a military one at its core.
I have no problem with Trump, or anyone else being a “draft dodger.” Turns out, that was absolutely the better decision anyway. Nobody should serve unless they want to. That was true even when it wasn’t national policy.
I suppose you served proudly? I did, as noted above. Or are you yet another non-server criticizing someone else for not serving? The only people I know who bring this up are themselves non-servers. I have no problem with this, only it’s funny.
I didn’t serve. And I don’t mind it. And having not served, I will not be holding my hand up asking to be put in a position to send other people to face consequences I was not prepared to face.
The draft was the wrong policy. And I don’t blame anyone who dodged it – it doesn’t make them bad people. But it should, I think, disqualify someone from sending others to war. It is unfortunate that neither Biden nor Trump served in the military. But, the draft dodger I was referring to was Bush – the civilian leader whose fault it is that we are in Afghanistan .
Your attack on me, like your whataboutisms, is unfortunate. It always comes to that when people can’t win with their arguments.
As for “reports from top generals that outright lied,” those things happened (if even they did happen at all) AFTER the civilian leadership set into motion events from which there was no turning back.
Oh, lighten up. You are no wilting flower and we all know it. Don’t be how you are if you cant also take it.
If you have no problem with draft dodgers (as I do not either), then why evoke it as a dig then? YOU are the one that brought it up – apparently now, unnecessarily. Obviously, it meant something in your mind when you called his a draft dodger, as lots of people do for Trump as well.
And you think that those who have not served should not be able to send people to war? Aside from the Constitutional issues, that’s simply unworkable. Pretty much NOBODY serves anymore. Certainly a minuscule fraction from those “elite” American institutions that tend to keep the upper reaches of Government service largely to themselves. Under your rule, either nobody would be qualified to be President or we’d never go to war again. (either is actually fine by me, but you can see how unworkable this is.)
And it is certainly not like the Presidents who HAVE served have done us any favors.
I don’t put anything here for you to be impressed by. I really don’t CARE about you and whether you post here or not. Nor do i care if I properly respond to your counterarguments. So if you feel personally put out, it’s just in your own mind.