Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Of Generals and Loose Lips

The current situation with Gen McCrystal and he and his staff's unprofessional remarks about the President, the Vice President and a host of others in the senior leadership of our government is reminiscent of the situation between President Truman and Gen McArthur.

The story this morning from CNN puts it this way:

Washington (CNN)
-- America's top military commander in Afghanistan is unlikely to survive the fallout from remarks he made about colleagues in a magazine profile to be published Friday, according to a Pentagon source who has ongoing contacts with the general.

That is putting it very mildly.

He should be forced to retire after losing a star form his shoulder. That's my opinion.

It is OK to have private thoughts about those you work with--but to allow yourself to make statements like this in public and also to allow, even encourage your staff to make such remarks is not only unprofessional, but is truly is conduct unbecoming an officer and also a violation of Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ):

Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
I have read the Rolling Stone article--and in my mind, Gen McChrystal definitely violated this article and should be court-martialed.

Oh, and by the way, there is also a violation of Article 134:

Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.

He should consider himself very lucky if he is allowed to resign and retire.

The difference between being a military officer--especially a commanding general, and a civilian is very great. Officers are held to a much higher standard and, yes, often the basic rights that Americans are used to are not entitled to a military person and especially an officer. Officers especially serve at the pleasure of the President--we do not ever want a situation where a military officer sees them self above or better than the President and our leadership--that is how coups happen in Third World countries.

During WWII they had a saying that "Loose Lips Sink Ships." I guess they sink generals, too.

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