Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Do we have ourselves a good old fashioned cabal?

Tony Blankley isn't calling it seditious, at least not yet. He does raise some questions about the motivation and timing behind the recent calls of retired generals for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld.

Blankley hones in on Richard Holbrook's Washington Post oped titled "Behind the Military Revolt." He offers Bill Clinton's former UN ambassador as someone who "is at the least very well informed if he is not himself part of this military cabal intended to 'consume ... Donald Rumsfeld.'" In his piece, Holbrook seems convinced more generals currently on active duty will step forward after retirement and continue the current storm "until finally it consumes not only Donald Rumsfeld."

Earlier in his piece, Holbrook calls the situation the most significant civilian/military standoff on authority since MacArthur versus Truman during the Korean War and later points to the struggles between McClellan and Lincoln during the Civil War. Civilian authority prevailed in both situations. I'm guessing Holbrook sees both results as a good. What makes the present standoff different?

Blankley argues that if active duty generals are in fact agreeing among themselves to speak out upon retirement, a case of sedition could be made against them. He keeps his speculation at the theoretical level, but does quote from the Uniform Code of Military Conduct to contend his theory could easily fit the category of mutiny.

I don't know the motivation behind the wave of denunciation aimed at Rumsfeld. I hope to learn more. I suspect much of the tension stems from the transformational approach the Sec Def insisted upon in conducting the Iraq War. It made for brilliant strategy in taking out the enemy with minimal casualites, but has proven more problematic in reconstruction. Our nation has always been well served by the subordination of the military to civilian rule. I respect the opinions of generals who have served in the field mightily, but I'll have to hear much more than I have so far to agree with their political assessments.


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