As ex CIA analyst Ray McGovern pointed out yesterday the only big fish to be hooked in the decade of intrusive monitoring of our private communications turns out to be the head of the CIA. Irony abounds, drips, and oozes.
In addition, General John Allen, a 35 year veteran of the Marines is under investigation in part to determine what’s behind the 20-30,000 emails and other “inappropriate communications” between himself and a woman variously described as a voluntary social liason and socialite from MacDill AFB in Tampa.
That’s twenty or thirty thousand separate communications in two years. Take the low number and divide by a couple of years worth of days and we have a General officer communicating with a socialite party planner nearly thirty times a day. That’s a lot of partying.
Bear in mind that the taxpayers are shelling out over $15,000 dollars a month to to keep this four star naval academy grad at his desk running a major US military command that is currently involved in at least one war and a clutch of other hot conflicts around the world.
His former boss, now retired General and former head of the CIA David Petraeus, is at the apex of whatever comic opera is involved here, along with his biographer, a former military intelligence officer and, it seems now historically noteworthy camp follower named Paula Broadwell.
Petraeus, the darling of the neocons who gave us the war in Iraq, and Broadwell have admitted to having a ten month affair while he was the nation’s top spy. As an enlisted Marine I always thought that generals led boring lives. Who knew?
Like everyone else looking at this national insecurity drama I have no idea what’s going on but I’m pretty sure it goes far beyond Private Beetle Baily planning a weekend kegger at the beach.
Both of these general officers have had long and supposedly stellar careers as senior staff and both are past commanders of CENTCOM. A few more days of the kind of revelations now popping up hourly and they both may be transferred to SITCOM.
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. (more…)