Afghanistan Must End, Petraeus Should Just Fade Away
I’ve long felt that politically ambitious generals are a serious danger to the republic and a dire threat to liberty. For that reason all generals, the entire military, must be kept under firm civilian control. Their duty is to fight when and where and only when and where the civilian leadership, elected by the people, directs them to fight.
Dwight Eisenhower might have said the same thing and, in fact, implied it with this warning in his farewell address upon leaving the White House in 1961:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Dwight Eisenhower Farewell Address 17 January 1961
When generals begin to call press conferences and make statements about diplomatic or defense policy or to disagree publicly with the National Command Authority they need to be slapped to attention and quickly retired and replaced. Harry Truman recognized the importance of this central principle of our democracy when he cashiered Douglas MacArthur.
Because of his words and actions since the election of Barrack Obama to the presidency, I believe that David Petraeus is such a general and needs to be retired to pursue his political career. Whether that career is in politics or lobbying he needs to speak from a more appropriate position where his words and actions do not muddle the intent of official policy nor have a negative affect on military morale.
From Brave New Films:
Bob Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s War,” comes out today, and leaked excerpts show just how hard some military leaders are fighting to stop a withdrawal from Afghanistan. Late last year, as President Obama struggled to pin the military down into an airtight exit strategy, General Petraeus said:
“[The administration] is ****ing with the wrong guy.”
It’s clear Petraeus and his subordinates want to ignore the July 2011 deadline to start withdrawing troops. A colonel briefing reporters at the Pentagon this week even told them that, “No one said that we were withdrawing in July 2011.” Read more at Rethink Afghanistan.