Bob Higgins

Afghanistan Must End, Petraeus Should Just Fade Away

Posted in News, Politics, Veterans News by Bob Higgins on September 27, 2010
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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.

Bob Higgins

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One Response

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  1. David Arnold said, on October 6, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    The warnings laid out by Dwight Eisenhower in that farewell speech should be regarded nearly as important as the Constitution. An intelligent and thoughtful point of view that reflects the experience of a former general and elected public servant. Its too bad, the wisdom within that speech is glanced over by most people as just another farewell speech.


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