Who could have ever guessed that if the administration let the troops believe they were helping to craft policy by polling them, and continuing to defer to troops, instead of setting a firm command climate, like Eisenhower and Truman, on an issue like “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” that one of them would decide to go renegade on the civilian leadership and publicly criticize them?
After Mr. Obama’s was sworn into office, McChrystal felt the new president looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” while meeting with a dozen senior military officials in a Pentagon room known as the Tank, according to a source familiar with the meeting.
Following McChrystal’s first one-on-one meeting with the president, an aide said the general left disappointed.
“It was a 10-minute photo op,” the adviser said. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his [expletive] war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”
There have been plenty of us who pointed out how the civilian leadership needs to assert their power over the military. The McChrystal embarrassment could have been avoided if Obama had demanded respect regarding his policies, ordered them to be implemented and expected them to salute smartly and “make it so” like the military is supposed to operate in our Democracy. Polling G.I. Johny’s Mommy and Daddy as to whether or not DADT should be overturned doesn’t exactly engender respect, now does it?
I think all the smartest guys in the room need to read what John wrote back in May, “Admiral Mullen now subtly undercutting the Commander-in-Chief as well” and make a change in how Obama handles his job as Commander-in-Chief if they want to nip further insubordination in the bud.
Gates and Mullen have been permitted to give their input on this policy, their Commander-in-Chief has made his decision, and our elected representatives in Congress have spoken. Unless Gates and Mullen think we’re living in some banana republic, where it’s okay for the military to undercut their elected leaders, both men should STFU. And the same goes for this absurdly patronizing argument that we simply must consult the troops before making any changes. No we mustn’t. We don’t consult the troops on anything, just as we don’t consult every employee at DOT when making new aviation policy. It’s frankly, none of their business, and undercuts our democracy by even suggesting that they should somehow trump our elected officials, be they in the White House or Congress. They should sit back and wait for their orders, and when they get them, salute and say “yes, sir” – that’s it.
I was in the military and that is exactly how it is supposed to be done. If the Obama Administration wants more of the same embarrassing eruptions of insubordination then they need to keep allowing the military brass to call the shots on issues like “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”