Michael Reynolds: On the “soft” military coup happening in the US

A military coup in the US obviously is not going to happen. There is no stomach for such a thing, and the US military has a strong, proud tradition of knowing very precisely where it stands in the Order of things.

That said, it is also written into the US Constitution and political landscape that the military has a clear voice so that, when things are amiss in the Civilian administration, there are avenues the Military can take to effect change and make it’s feelings known without upsetting the civilian democracy.

Michael Reynolds in his Center Line column, spells out very clearly how the Military is using every tool it’s chest to try to shake up the Pentagon and dump what has been one of the worst Defense Secretaries in the history of the United States.

I don’t think anyone can be happy with a situation where uniforms are publicly attacking suits in the Pentagon. The generals who have called for Mr. Rumsfeld’s resignation — eight at last count — are all retired. But there is little doubt that they speak for a large portion of the officer corps.

Faced with a Secretary of Defense who simply does not know his job and shows no inclination to learn it, and a President who will, from arrogance, stubborness and a degree of sheer meglomania, disregard common sense and competent advice — who will even disregard the law and the constitution rather than consider an admission of error — and faced with losing a war, what exactly are the unforms to do?

I think they do just what they are doing. They send forth retired officers to warn the ultimate civilian authority — the American people — that something is rotten in the Pentagon. They talk to sympathetic Senators and Congressmen, as they clearly have done with Congressman Jack Murtha. They talk on background to the news media.

The first ones to go in military training are the ones you can’t rely on. The ones who are weak minded, incompetent, unpredictable, or self-centered. The Military is the ultimate team sport, if one player puts his well being above all the rest, then he becomes fatally dangerous to the rest of the team. It sounds like the “team” is about to expel one of it’s players.

One reply on “Michael Reynolds: On the “soft” military coup happening in the US”

  1. I am not sure which is worse: having retired generals attacking a serving secretary of defense, or having a secretary of defense whose competence so alarms recently serving officers that they feel they must go public with their concerns.

    There was once a time when American officers would not vote so as to avoid even the appearance of being political. No one knew Eisenhower’s party preference in 1952 when both parties offered him their nomination for President. The officer corps is still close to the people they serve and doesn’t speak with one voice. I don’t think the current tension with civilian leaders is a portent of breakdown in civil-military relations, but it is a very worrisome development all the same. A new presidency may go a long way to relieve the problem.

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