All Clinton Generals
Vs. the SecDef…
[Larry Stirling] 4/26/06
coverage of the recent censure of Donald Rumsfeld by six retired
general officers has been bereft of one fact and that is that each of yapping
officers is a product of the Clinton Pentagon and owes his stars to Democratic
to rest the first issue raised by these generals speaking out.
They are retired from active duty and unless they signed an
agreement to keep quiet about military secrets, they are free
to state their views and should do so.
On the other
hand, they will have to defend those positions in the rough
and tumble of the political world in which they have belatedly
is going on here? Are these few men demonstrating "profiles
in courage" trying to save the nation from a crucible
of bad management and its architect Donald Rumsfeld?
Stirling is a former California State Senator and Retired
Superior Court Judge [go to Stirling index]
likely what is happening is that these "has
beens" have been sniffing around various liberal think tanks
importuning paid sinecures to keep them in the life style they
got used to as flag officers and can no longer afford.
Each of those think tanks reminded them of what they owed the
Clinton administration and advised them that they would have
to audition for stardom in a future Democratic administration
by doing their part now to bring the Republicans down.
In doing so, they have not only come off as hypocrites but more
importantly, they have given aid and comfort to the Muslim enemies
of the United States, the very people who dived our planes into
the Twin Towers and killed and continue to kill thousands of
Americans and even more innocent Muslims.
I don't know how these generals live with themselves, sacrificing
the security of the nation and the morale and well being of American
troops in the field just for a chance to feather their own financial
nests and foster their post-military careers.
I have known many generals both while I served on active duty
and in retired life. Every general officer with whom I have had
contact has been a quality person deserving of the respect endemic
to their rank.
But these six don't deserve it.
During the time that they had influence, our national interests
were repeatedly bombed and attacked. Our service members slaughtered
unmercifully around the world. Our ships were bombed and commercial
and military aircraft where destroyed or forced down ... yet
nary a word from these brassy lightweights.
It is not only the right but also the obligation of an active-duty
military officer at any rank to provide his or her honest appraisal
of the situation to fellow officers and to the command.
There is even a line
on the military staff-study format for "statement
of nonconcurrence" that formalizes this obligation.
American history has been replete with great general officers
that stood up for our country and did what was right even at
the peril of their careers.
Billy Mitchell knew the value of air power and fought for it;
ditto Hyman Rickover, who successfully brought about our nuclear
Navy; George Patton, the tank corps; and Adm. Grace Hopper, who
brought computers into the military.
Not so any of these guys. They waited until they were in the
safety of retirement before mouthing any opinion.
They should have heeded
the old saw that says: "Better
to remain quiet and let people think you don't know what is going
on instead of talking and confirming it."
The problem with militaries is that they become, in part, conduits
of money expropriated from the American public in the name of
national defense and then funneled into useless pork-barrel projects
as nothing more than huge public subsidies to some senior congressman's
The "battleship admirals" that
objected to Billy Mitchell's airplanes were fronting for the
battleship contractors and all
their employees back at the shipyards.
The modern-day version of this is Donald Rumsfeld, himself a
combat veteran, confronting an entrenched military establishment
of which nearly four-fifths of the active team is non-combatant.
One of his first actions was to cancel the development the huge
Crusader artillery system that was no longer relevant to the
asymmetrical warfare America is facing. Of course, that ticked
off all the guys on the Crusader gravy train.
Civilians must control
the military or we will find ourselves flirting with a military "party" of
which these generals are the seed corn.
Military power is reflected power. That means civilians have
to provide the beans, guns and gas for the Army.
The broad array of subjective decisions by civilian authorities
to bring about that support is too complicated for a military
man to master at the same time he is mastering the art of war.
Presidents are not supposed to salute. Military men are.ONE
2006 Larry Stirling