The Next Big Error and the Next

The 20th anniversary of 9/11 brings forth a wealth of speakers. The sadness of the occasion is relieved by tales of heroism. Maybe it’s just me, but two of the speakers were of place. It wasn’t because of the positions they occupied. The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are fixtures at these events. It just struck me the two people presently occupying these posts didn’t belong where we honored courage. In their younger days, Sec. Llyod Austin and Chairman Mark Milley wore the uniform of our armed forces with distinction. But that was then. Their character hasn’t aged well.

With our possible involvement in World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt took the bold step of appointing a junior officer Chief of staff over many senior Generals. Roosevelt realized in peacetime; military men owe their rise to top positions more to political connections than to being warriors. With war on the horizon, we needed warriors, not soft politicians.

Marshall, in turn, cashiered 600 officers, clearing the way for the likes of the then colonels Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton, and many others to lead us to victory. When asked why he dumped “the brains” of the Army, Marshall said, “I was eliminating considerable arteriosclerosis.” I fear Austin and Milley are no longer fighters. People shouldn’t stay past their expiration date. Not when they forget who and what they represent for political considerations.

How else can you explain their actions or lack thereof in the Afghan pullout? The lowest second lieutenant knows better than agree to a plan where the military leaves before the civilians. No trained military person with a clear mind could okay Biden’s plan. Did our top military people agree to this dishonorable and stupid plan? If so, they need to leave in shame. They’ve stained the services they represent.

If they opposed this despicable plan, why didn’t we know their objections? Leaks to some news organizations cover your butt. It does nothing to stop a program that results in a significant loss.

It’s not that they weren’t aware of how to act honorably. Facing similar circumstances, Trump’s Sec. of Defense Jim Mattis loudly opposed troop pullouts in the Middle East and Afghanistan as he resigned. As I’ve pointed out, the fact that we still have troops in Syria shows that doing the right thing can change minds.

Goodness knows, Biden’s disastrous Afghan plan needed changing. The two might not agree with their President, but they failed in their duty to speak up even if it cost them. They’ve stained the services they represent. They need to leave in shame.

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