From www.davidbrin.blogspot.com :
THE HISTORIC IMPORTANCE OF THE U.S. OFFICER CORPS
Few civilians can appreciate how difficult this step has been for military men who spent their professional lives steeped in a tradition of stoical, apolitical silence and submission to civilian authority. Reluctance to interfere in the nation’s political affairs. That tradition, virtually unprecedented in the history of armies and nations, should be revered and respected.
It OUGHT to be hard for officers to do what these generals have done. That alone explains why their agonized decision took so long in coming.It also explains why their focus has been so specific, targeted singly and narrowly at Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. By aiming their bullets only at him, the generals are saying “we choose the monster who is closest to us in the chain of command.”
True, they are perfectly aware that any damage to Rumsfeld will carry through, politically, to Bush and Cheney and the GOP. But this approach maintains, to the maximum degree possible, an appearance of veneration to civilian authority. It also expresses a moderate and restrained will toward using “minimum effective force.”
Again, this should be understood and respected. (Indeed, military men are painfully aware of something never mentioned in the press, that Donald Rumsfeld occupied the exact same office thirty years ago, the LAST time we were humiliated in an ill-conceived ground war-of-attrition in Asia. A startling historical coincidence whose relevance is limited. Yet, it is chilling, just the same.)
If we were to pay attention to these senior military men, we might even learn a thing or two.
For example, would it surprise most liberals to realize that the U.S. Officer Corps is, in fact, the 3rd best-educated clade in America today, just after college professors and medical doctors? These senior leaders know an awful lot about history, about the world and its dangers. Would it hurt to listen?
For example, their complaints don’t ONLY have to do with the tactical conduct of the Iraq War, as blithering and imbecilic as that ill-conceived adventure has been, featuring micromanagement by petty armchair Napoleans that would “make Robert MacNamara look like a hands-off kind of guy.” There are other issues afoot, some that cut even deeper, such as the demolition of America’s alliances, the misuse of our reserves, and an incredible, almost unprecedented decline in our actual readiness to respond to any kind of large scale surprise.
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