Democrats & Liberals Archives

It's Not Our Fault!

I’ve noticed a lot of retired generals speaking out against Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and the direction this country is going. There’s Gen. Wes Clark, of course, but then there’s Gen. Schwarzkopf, Gen. Zinni, Gen. Eaton, and now Gen. Newbold. These guys all want Rumsfeld’s head on a platter, and Gen. Newbold wants active-duty military personnel to speak up rather than take the blame for the civilian administration’s failure in Iraq like the they did in Vietnam.

In 1971, the rock group The Who released the antiwar anthem Won't Get Fooled Again. To most in my generation, the song conveyed a sense of betrayal by the nation's leaders, who had led our country into a costly and unnecessary war in Vietnam. To those of us who were truly counterculture--who became career members of the military during those rough times--the song conveyed a very different message.

To us, its lyrics evoked a feeling that we must never again stand by quietly while those ignorant of and casual about war lead us into another one and then mismanage the conduct of it. Never again, we thought, would our military's senior leaders remain silent as American troops were marched off to an ill-considered engagement. It's 35 years later, and the judgment is in: the Who had it wrong. We have been fooled again.

Last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said we had made thousands of tactical errors in Iraq. Gen. Newbold says that's bullshit. "It reflects an effort to obscure gross errors in strategy by shifting the blame for failure to those who have been resolute in fighting. The truth is, our forces are successful in spite of the strategic guidance they receive, not because of it."

What we are living with now is the consequences of successive policy failures. Some of the missteps include: the distortion of intelligence in the buildup to the war, McNamara-like micromanagement that kept our forces from having enough resources to do the job, the failure to retain and reconstitute the Iraqi military in time to help quell civil disorder, the initial denial that an insurgency was the heart of the opposition to occupation, alienation of allies who could have helped in a more robust way to rebuild Iraq, and the continuing failure of the other agencies of our government to commit assets to the same degree as the Defense Department.

My sincere view is that the commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions--or bury the results.

Predictably, the administration is blaming the troops, "A senior Pentagon official on Rumsfeld's staff said Sunday that the Pentagon leadership provides ample opportunity for senior officers to voice concerns and that if Newbold now regrets not arguing more forcefully, he was part of the problem."

I can't imagine a more disrespectful response. When Gen. Shinseki courageously spoke the truth about the Bush administration's unrealistic plan for Iraq, they made an example of him. The message was loud and clear: No criticism of Bush's Iraq plan by military professionals will be tolerated. To now claim that officers who didn't speak up are part of the problem is... Well, I've used the term "despicable" to describe this administration far too many times lately, but I don't know of a better word.

With the encouragement of some still in positions of military leadership, I offer a challenge to those still in uniform: a leader's responsibility is to give voice to those who can't--or don't have the opportunity to--speak. Enlisted members of the armed forces swear their oath to those appointed over them; an officer swears an oath not to a person but to the Constitution. The distinction is important.
Posted by American Pundit at April 11, 2006 7:35 AM
Comments
Comment #139819

Having spent the last 25 years in the Dept. of Defense, I’ve come to the conclusion that our senior leaders (officers and civilians) have become nothing more than politicians. That is, in order to further their careers, they must tow the line - no matter who’s the Commander in Chief. To speak their mind means the end of the road.

I’m also alarmed, being a conservative, that the current administration is more concerned with the good of the party, at the expense of the country. “Total power totally corrupts”, and it may take a “regime change” to get the Reublican party back on the right track.

Posted by: mac6115cd at April 11, 2006 8:35 AM
Comment #139820

Well said. The republican machine can’t stand the truth and will use any and every means to silence those who speak it.

Posted by: USAF 69-73 at April 11, 2006 8:35 AM
Comment #139821

How can an Administration, who is so focused on getting into a war - who would “leak” faulty information to support it’s desire, ever be consider to support the military. They demand absolute obedience to their ideology - and they crush anyone who speaks out… They honor their own desires above the lives, health, and success of the troops.

If you still think Bush supports the troops… take a long hard look at a military base when you get the chance. I spent a week video taping busted up, borken down elementary schools on military bases. I would not allow my child to spend a single day in one of the crap houses. One school had a short, double wide trailer as their gym - which also had to house all of the equipment. They had busted up walls that were suspected of containing asbestos… and in the crawl spaced below, you see places where the actual structure had basically washed away with the leaking pipes…

I think we should be realistic - no one really supports the troops - they are low paid, low educated grunts who are easily expendable. We love to put yellow ribbons on our doors and mailboxes, attach ribbons to our cars… as do our political leaders. But it’s all for show - it’s all to make ourselves look good. We want to feel patriotic, to feel like a vital part of this country, as we zip home, ignoring the bad zones… the neighborhoods where these enlisted men and women and their families live.

When was the last time you past a vet in a wheel chair bumming for spare change… I’ve seen way too many people annoyed by this, but very few repulsed at the system that put him there.

Posted by: tony at April 11, 2006 8:37 AM
Comment #139850

You get the leaders you deserve. For years, a small majority of Military personnel proclaimed their Republicanism to the point where most of the public equaled the GOP as pro-military. Now they are upset that they are treated the way Republicans treat the lower classes. Maybe now the fantasy will change.

Posted by: Aldous at April 11, 2006 11:57 AM
Comment #139853

Here is a web site and an email address….it’s a site that has been of interest to me for several months. It was originally named “Operation Truth” and has been subsequently changed to “Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America”. www.iava.org ,
IAVA@mail.democracyinaction.org
There is a lot of information published that comes from what seems to be the ground troops…perhaps not closely monitored or filtered.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 11, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #139854

Tony,

I’d add one more thing about veterans. Two words that should never be seen in combination are “homeless” and “veteran”. But statistics from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans show that between 529,000 and 840,000 veterans are homeless at some time during the year.

Some additional statistics:

Veteran Specific Highlights:
23% of homeless population are veterans
33% of male homeless population are veterans
47% Vietnam Era
17% post Vietnam
15% pre Vietnam
67% served three or more years
33% stationed in war zone
25% have used VA Homeless Services
85% completed high school/GED compared to 56% of non-veterans
89% received Honorable Discharge
79% reside in central cities
16% reside in suburban areas
5% reside in rural areas
76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems
46% white males compared to 34% non-veterans
46% age 45 or older compared to 20% non-veterans


I can’t think of a better word to describe this than SHAMELESS!

KansasDem


Posted by: KansasDem at April 11, 2006 12:02 PM
Comment #139859

It’s one of the most pathetic lies of this century - how can anyone equate “pro USA, pro military” with “American soldiers in poverty.”

1/3 of all homeless males are US Vets. Damn.

SUPPORT FOR OUR TROOPS STARTS AT HOME!

Posted by: tony at April 11, 2006 12:13 PM
Comment #139864

Doesn’t the term veterans include anyone who was in the military. Many of them may have just hung out at a base for a couple years. Should that alone qualify them for a free pass above others from the challenges of life? We talk as if they are all scarred combat veterans.

Posted by: Schwamp at April 11, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #139871

Schwamp…. kinda sounds like you’re not terribly familiar with the way the military works. They can’t all be “boots on the ground”….but certainly provide the ‘behind the scenes’ support that make it all click. Guess you think they only sacrifice, or are worthy of recognition if they’re being shot at????

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 11, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #139877

Sandra,
Right, I think many of the jobs are just that. Jobs - which is what you say above as well.

The tone on the thread has nothing to do with recognition. It has to do with a lifetime exemption toward having to make it on your own. I dont buy the argument that whoever joins is necessarily more noble than anyone else.

Posted by: Schwamp at April 11, 2006 12:56 PM
Comment #139881

They’re all in the military Schwamp….none less deserving of recognition, support and thanks than another. This particular issue has been tweaked six ways from Sunday in an earlier posting. Nothing has changed since then….and I personally think that sacrifice is relative…

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 11, 2006 1:07 PM
Comment #139883

Better start dragging the old bikes and canned peaches out of those old bomb shelters ….this is going to set Dumbya into a real tizzy…… :(

Yahoo! Alerts Yahoo! News - My Alerts - Edit Alert
Tuesday, April 11, 2006, 9:54 AM PDT
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Iran’s nuclear chief says Tehran has produced 110 tons of uranium gas, the feedstock for enrichment, nearly twice the amount previously known.


Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 11, 2006 1:09 PM
Comment #139884

All

I do not doubt that what you say you have seen exists and thanks to KansasDem for his research to back up your comments. But it has not been my experience, possibly because I do not live in a large metropolitan area.

I retired from the Army after 20 years service. As part of my retirement “package,” I received a pension equal to 1/2 my active duty pay ($912 per month) which has since risen to a little over $1,200 per month (cost of living raises).

I and my wife receive major medical benefits through the Department of Defense for which we pay nothing. The DoD also provides me with a prescription plan for which we pay $9 for a three-month supply of brand name medicines and $3 for a three-month supply of generic. When I reach age 65 and become eligible for Medicare, my DoD health plan will function a Medicare supplement, picking up whatever Medicare doesn’t pay. (My wife is disabled and already on Medicare and the DoD plan is working as promised.) No, I was not an officer or high-ranking non-commissioned officered. I retired as a Staff Sergeant.

When we were in Germany (a total of 11 years), my children attended Department of Defense-run schools. The buildings were usually old, but well-maintained.

When we returned to the United States and put our kids into civilian schools, we found that our kids were more than a semester ahead of other kids in the same grade in terms of curriculum.

My wife and I can travel just about anywhere in the world on military chartered aircraft (on a space-available basis) at $10 a seat each.

Of course, my retirement check does not permit me to lay around the house. I have a full-time job to help pay the bills. But wihtout my military benefits, those bills would be more numerous and more costly.

I receive all these benefits because I gave 20 years of my life in service to this country. Had I chosen to get out earlier, I would have received my discharge and maybe a handshake.

I shouldn’t even have to say this, but I believe the country should take care of ALL it’s veterans, regardless of amount of time served. Basic health care, greater employment opportunities, greater access to affordable housing, etc.

The fact is that such programs already exist, although Bush has threatened to cut some of these programs, which I vehemently disagree with.

I live right across the street from the largest veterans home in my state. They care for more than 600 veterans of all ages. Many fomerly homeless Vietnam veterans live there. The cost is based on their ability to pay. Some live there for free.

(Our Democratic governor reduced funding to this home and two others in the state, but reversed his decision under pressure from veteran organizations and our federal representatives.)

The biggest problem I see from my view here is that we need to expand existing programs to serve more vets, not cut funding.

I will support any administration, be it Republican or Democrat, that has this as a priority. Those are the candidates I will be closely watching in upcoming elections.

I am a politically conservative Republican, but Bush has left a bad taste in my mouth.

Posted by: ulysses at April 11, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #139886

“but Bush has left a bad taste in my mouth.”

… I guess it’s better than Clinton leaving a bad taste in your mouth. (OK, that’s really a bad joke, just couldn’t resist.)

Posted by: tony at April 11, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #139889

So - if all things are equal, then why are the percentages so much higher for “retired” military? There are quite a few issues that they face that might speak to this: A higher rate of lifetime disability and serious mental issues. I have no idea how many of these homeless military vets are actual VFWs, but I’m willing to bet that those who retired without military action have a lower rate of the issues posted above.

One question remains - how well do we support our troops. If these people are willing to sign up for risk and sacrafice far above anything our citizens face, should we be willing to go above and beyond to reward their patriotism?

Or is this more of a “Kerry” thing - where it matters more what your politics say than your military history. If you speak out or go against the grain, you immediately loose your place of honor…???

Posted by: tony at April 11, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #139902

tony

FYI, I served two combat tours in Vietnam and have spent more than 38 years trying to get over it. Yes, it is harder for the combat veteran and we do suffer a higher percentge of mental and physical ailments than the non-combat veteran.

I spent more than 10 years under physchiatric care and twice that many in some type of therapy or counseling program. My last day in combat in Vietnam was Aug. 8, 1968, and I still have nightmares and suffer from depression, which, thank God, is under control.

I don’t feel sorry for myself; my life is what it is and I try to live it the best I can. But I was lucky. I had a family and friends and a local Vietnam vets group that loved me and supported me even during my darkest days. A lot of combat veterans don’t have that support and those are the guys and gals that really need our help.

Whether we like it or not, there’s always only going to be so much money to go around. And, like triage on the battlefield, we’re going to have to make some tough decisions about who we spend it on.

Posted by: ulysses at April 11, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #139906

That was an outstanding post, pundit. I would like to add my own observations. When I was younger (and much more sure of myself), I protested and protested out country’s military policies. I was fortunate enough to work against those policies at a level that allowed me to interact with people in the administration — both civilian and in uniform.

One thing struck me way back then that knocked me out of my seat and has stuck with me over and over again: the folks in uniform were generally honest, sincere, and thoughtful. It’s the folks in the suits who were full of it.

While I didn’t often agree with the folks in uniform, I understood their arguments and could see where they were coming from. They always started their position by describing the mission they were assigned, and that was largely absent of politics.

Whether that mission was secure South Vietnam, defend Western Europe from the Soviet Union, or keep Soviet nuclear missiles from raining down on the United States, they almost always kept politics out of their arguments.

The civilians, I learned, were the ones whose input in military policy got us in trouble. Whether it be we could “wind their hearts and minds” or “nuclear war is winnable,” they came up with the policies that got us in trouble. (That’s not to say that there were never any people in uniform like: think Curtis LeMay.)

I remember one time many years ago sitting around with some of my left-leaning friends trying to explain all of this to them, trying to explain how much I respected the military leadership (and trying to get them to understand that they were different from the civilians in the Pentagon) despite the disagreements I had with them. They didn’t get it and thought I was crazy. Today, with all the retired generals speaking up, I hope people will get it.

Posted by: Steve K at April 11, 2006 2:33 PM
Comment #139913

Steve K….hindsight is so much sharper than foresight, and looking back to those times during VietNam, I didn’t understand 95% of what it was all about. In time I did come to believe firmly that if the politicians and the “suits” would have kept out of the way and let the military do what it knows how to do, that war would have been over FAR sooner, and without the outrageous cost to our troops. Looks like history does repeat itself…….and if certain factions didn’t make so much money off of war….hmmmm, Haliburton comes to mind…. and to ulysses….THANK YOU !

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 11, 2006 2:56 PM
Comment #139914

Excellent article, AP.
General Odom and Col. Murtha have also had plenty to say (and none of it good) about the Bush administrations “style” of waging war.

tony, Kansas Dem, sandra, ulysses, I agree. American’s pay a hell of a lot of lip service to our active duty troops and to our veterans, but in many important ways, don’t really support them. No one who is giving or has ever given their service in defense of this country should EVER be allowed to fall through the cracks. And I don’t think it should matter what their rank is or was, whether they are smart or not so smart, in one piece or wounded, or liberal or conservative — they simply don’t deserve to be ignored or shortchanged in any way by our society.

PS to sandra, I hope everyone takes a few minutes to a look at that url you gave earlier, so toward that end, I’m going to make it a direct link:
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

Posted by: Adrienne at April 11, 2006 2:58 PM
Comment #139916

“Whether we like it or not, there’s always only going to be so much money to go around. And, like triage on the battlefield, we’re going to have to make some tough decisions about who we spend it on.”

Yes - I agree, and there will sacrafices to be made. I think that the people with money in this country have so much going for them, and much of that made possible by our military, that the idea of tax cuts they mostly benefit them when our soldiers have such major issues to face - I think it is criminal.

This is what you get when the top 3 in command of our military have avoided military service and gain no benefit from making the needed sacrafices.

Posted by: tony at April 11, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #139967

Repubs look upon veterans as a drain on the tax base much like they look upon all the other ‘entitlement’ programs. To them, any cost for equipment during a crises, any cost for medical recovery after a crises, or any benefit that assists a veteran to rejoin society is ‘entitlement’ and is subject to the same derision and ridicule as Social Security, Medicare, or welfare.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 11, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #139994

“Repubs look upon veterans as a drain on the tax base much like they look upon all the other ‘entitlement’ programs. To them, any cost for equipment during a crises, any cost for medical recovery after a crises, or any benefit that assists a veteran to rejoin society is ‘entitlement’ and is subject to the same derision and ridicule as Social Security, Medicare, or welfare.”

… unless of course you on contract labor (i.e. Halibuton) then cost don’t matter at all. Even scams, overpricing, kickbacks and fraud don’t really matter.

It’s about who you know.

Posted by: tony at April 11, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #139996

I think the problem in this particular war is that support for the troops has been conflated with political support for Bush, as part of a sort of cult of personality- take care of Bush, and he’ll take care of the soldiers.

From the start, I’ve been saying this: the real support for our troops is the pressure on the politicians to take care of them, and to use their services for the best reasons in the best way. Anything else is not support for the troops, but support for a political agenda in which the troops are just there for the emotional appeal.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 11, 2006 6:27 PM
Comment #139998

The problem is getting them to understand, if that’s even possible, that veterans EARNED the right to those benefits.

Spending Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries in some hell hole on the other side of the world with some lunatic trying to kill them.

What sacrifices does the average citizen have to make to draw a social security check? Show up for work often enough to accrue their 40 points? How many times does Joe or Jane Citizen have to risk their lives to get food stmps or a Medicaid to help pay their hospital bills?

Every COMBAT veteran in this nation should be granted free medical care for life and be moved to the top of the list for every other federal and state assitance program.

Not because they deserve it, but because they’ve earned it!

Posted by: ulysses at April 11, 2006 6:34 PM
Comment #140000

Wrote this 15 months ago….

http://www.imran.com/media/blog/2005/01/forget-generals-rumsfeld-knows-best.html

Imran
http://imran.TV

Posted by: Imran Anwar at April 11, 2006 6:47 PM
Comment #140014

I enlisted in 87. Yes at the time it was because I saw job opportunities drying up at home. I have seen this administration pay nothing but lip service to the troops. schwamp, NO vet I know wants a free pass on anything. What most could use is fewer roadblocks to what they were promised and less patting on the back whith the right hand while cutting with the left.
I got out in 95.

Posted by: Ted at April 11, 2006 8:09 PM
Comment #140031

As the wife of a Navy vet, I want to thank each and every person who has served for this country. Just because someone hasn’t been in actual combat or only served the minimum time, doesn’t mean that they should be treated any different. I know from hearing my husband talk about his time on the ship which could be anywhere from 6 months to 9 months or more at sea. Without any contact from loved ones except for mail call. If someone screwed up when it came time for the next port, they might not get to leave the ship. Just because he only served his 4 active and 6 inactive, he doesn’t qualify for health benifits because he “makes to much” at his job. He lost his education benifit because it wasn’t used in time. Basicly if you have done your time, and were discharged honorably, those benifits should be there for life. I also have a nephew that is currently serving in Iraq for the second time. He is a totally different person than when he went in, and even when he was home for a 2 week leave he was still wound as tight as a drum. My husband was in the gulf conflict and still sometimes has nightmares about being on the ship. So the ones that should be respected are those that actually did their time and did it honorably not the idiots in charge of this country that did everything they and their parents could to keep them out of harms way. But at the end of their terms they will get their benifits till the day they die as well as their spouses. All bought and paid for by us the citizens of this country and those that protect it.

Posted by: Sherri at April 11, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #140042

“Just because he only served his 4 active and 6 inactive, he doesn’t qualify for health benifits because he “makes to much” at his job. He lost his education benifit because it wasn’t used in time. “

So I guess the benefits are as expendable as the common soldiers. Our leaders have no honor - no real commitment to anything other than their immediate interest. The Congress and the White House have been turned into a frat house. It’s all for the here and now - being paid for on credit cards.

Posted by: tony at April 11, 2006 9:34 PM
Comment #140044

Ted

I agree that most vets are not looking for a free handout nor do they need it. They just want to be treated fairly and the government to stand by their promises to them.

While it took me many years to recover from my combat experiences in Vietnam, I was never homeless or went hungry or was without access to good medical care, physical and mental.

But some combat vets, and I know some of them, have been damaged so badly by that experience that they are incapable of helping themselves or holding a permanent job. And it’s not their fault.

Those are the people I want moved to the head of the list. They unselfishly sacrificed body and mind in the service of their country and that’s the least we can do for them.

In these cases, I don’t see it as a hand out, but a helping hand up.

I do believe that every combat veteran should receive free medical care for life. Many return from that experience injured in both body and mind. Some problems don’t show up for years and then they have to fight the government to prove the problem is combat-related.

Free medical care would resolve that inequity.

Posted by: ulysses at April 11, 2006 9:35 PM
Comment #140052

“But some combat vets, and I know some of them, have been damaged so badly by that experience that they are incapable of helping themselves or holding a permanent job. And it’s not their fault.”

This is exactly why the statement “they choose to be homeless” sounds so vile.

“In these cases, I don’t see it as a hand out, but a helping hand up.”

I see it as debt of gratitude we must honor. In light of the sacrifices made… it should be an easy burden.

Posted by: tony at April 11, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #140058

Ulysses, I agree.
I misphrased my response, anger can do that.
I don’t see treatment of a combat vet as a handout, just respectful aknowledgement of sacrafice. The problem I want addressed is the back handed cuts that all administrations engage in.

Posted by: Ted at April 11, 2006 10:18 PM
Comment #140065

Sherri

Thank you for reminding me that it’s not only the veteran who suffers.

We must not forget the wives and children, the mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters and all those who love their man or woman in uniform.

A very wise man once said that “They also serve who only sit and wait.”

War is hell. But so is sitting helplessly and waiting for the news that you pray every minute of every day never comes.


Posted by: ulysses at April 11, 2006 10:28 PM
Comment #140076

Here I go posting these sites again…..but please, if you haven’t seen this, and are a veteran of VietNam, or a loved one of a vet….check it out.
http://www.silverrose.info/index.htm

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at April 11, 2006 10:47 PM
Comment #140099

I think people on both sides of the aisle should note this and beware: The American people, across the political spectrum, support America’s troops. If Americans get the sense that the GOP or any party only respects the troops with lip service, then they stand to have some real political problems.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 12, 2006 12:03 AM
Comment #140141

The abuse of the U.S. Military - both in the sense of Individuals and in the sense of an Organisation - by this administration is a *CRIME*.

And ironically, the Volunteer services typically tending to be Conservative, it has been committed against those people who largely supported BushCo., Inc.

I recall an anecdote from VietNam: certain defence contractors convinced the Pentagon that they could help pinpoint VC operators along the Ho Chi Minh Trail by releasing Radioactive Bedbugs into the area from the air. U.S. LRRPs could then take them out by tracking their radioactivity. Unfortunately, bedbugs do not distinguish between American and Vietnamese bodies, and the bugs tended to be blown far and wide on their way to the jungle canopy - so the end result was U.S. troops showing up for treatment of radioactive bedbug-bites!

Thanks Again, Troops! Mi$$ion Accomplished: you made another million for some Defence Contractor! Bugger that breathing Diesel, Agent Orange, and Depleted Uranium Dust might tend to take a few years off your lives, at least you survived Combat!

Despicable.

Posted by: Betty Burke at April 12, 2006 7:04 AM
Comment #140144

This is for Tony and all of us who agree:

Unfortunately I cannot exclude previous administrations, but this one is by far the worst of all as far as treatment of our soldiers and vetrans go.

Donny Rumsey is getting more Federal budget money allocated to his department every year. The Defense Department gets the largest chunk of the budget, larger than all other departments put together. I have no problem with this. Security is important.

But spending $20,000 on a toilet, $50 on a roll of paper towels, and $8 for a pencil while our troops get mediocre health care and their families have to suffer with less than adequate living conditions on base?

Maybe if we had a true soldier in office… like Washington himself. Someone who’s seen the ins and outs of war and battle. Not everything would get fixed, but things would surely change.

Posted by: Billy at April 12, 2006 7:24 AM
Comment #140146

… it’s makes the excepted/ignored criminal fraud from Haliburton that much more insulting. If military families had access to just the $2 billion in questionable billings from Haliburton, what could they accomplish?

Posted by: tony at April 12, 2006 7:42 AM
Comment #140229

This administration believes that the military has many uses. People who will salute the occupant of the White House (ego from a former AWOL reservists), a body count in a war started under questionable reasons(sneeking in bodys in the dead of night),the ability to dress up as a real airman and fly in on a real aircraft carrier(mission accomplished), a group to cut benefits from (V.A. budgets and to try to cut benefits of serving soldiers and sailors families) and of course, someone to blaim when they screw up (they do this very well).Oh yes, they are great for photo opts and make speeches in front of.


I am a disabled Viet Nam era veteran who is fed up with this misuse of the military that is the hallmark of this administration. I never thought I would say that I do not believe anything that this administration says with their truth optional ways. Lie small and lie big, there will always be people who protect you (Congress). These people make the Nixon administration look good.

Posted by: C.T.Rich at April 12, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #140257

I agree strongly with nearly everthing Pundit said. Having served as an enlisted man for 8 years before becoming a warrant officer, and finally a commissioned officer, however, I have one criticism:

Enlisted members also swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States [NOT NECESSARILY the President, the Secy of Defense, or any generals or other officers]. They also swear to obey the LAWFUL orders of those placed in authority over them.
Having stripes instead of a bar on your collar does not make you a dumb brute, nor does it absolve you from being held responsible for committing crimes while in uniform just because you were ordered to do so.

Posted by: Jonathan Green at April 12, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #140282

Jonathan

You’re absolutely right. Article 92 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice says a soldier must obey all LAWFUL orders.

It describes an unlawful order as any order that is “contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States, or lawful superior orders or for some other reason is beyond the authority of the official issuing it.”

Some orders, like an order to torture a prisoner of war, is clearly unlawful. Others are in a gray area where there is room for interpretation by an unscrupulous officer.

The general guidelines, as they were explained to me when I was on active duty, is that if you believe an order is unlawful, you should first explain to the officer or NCO issuing the order, that you believe it to be unlawful and why. You should then ask that the order be put in writing.

A halfway intelligent officer or NCO is not going to put an unlawful order in writing. If they refuse, or if they comply, but you still feel the order is unlawful, you should take your concern up the chain of command.

If your complaint is ignored or you are still ordered to comply with the order, you may file an Article 138 complaint. Article 138 reads that “any member of the Armed Forces who believes himself wronged by his commanding officer, and who, upon due application to that commanding officer, is refused redress, may complain to any superior commissioned officer, who shall forward the complaint to the officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction over the officer against whom it is made.

“The officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction shall examine into the complaint and take proper measures for redressing the wrong complained of; and shall, as soon as possible, send to the (service) Secretary concerned a true statement of that complaint, with the proceedings thereon.”

I filed an Article 138 proceeding against an Army doctor in Nuremburg and I got results. I received a personal written apology from the under-Secretary of the Army for the wrong done me and my wife.

The system does work, you just have to have the courage to take the appropriate steps.

I apologize for the length of this post, but so much has been said about unlawful orders, I thought it important to offer an explanation.

Posted by: ulysses at April 12, 2006 7:38 PM
Comment #140283

Jonathan

You’re absolutely right. Article 92 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice says a soldier must obey all LAWFUL orders.

It describes an unlawful order as any order that is “contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States, or lawful superior orders or for some other reason is beyond the authority of the official issuing it.”

Some orders, like an order to torture a prisoner of war, is clearly unlawful. Others are in a gray area where there is room for interpretation by an unscrupulous officer.

The general guidelines, as they were explained to me when I was on active duty, is that if you believe an order is unlawful, you should first explain to the officer or NCO issuing the order, that you believe it to be unlawful and why. You should then ask that the order be put in writing.

A halfway intelligent officer or NCO is not going to put an unlawful order in writing. If they refuse, or if they comply, but you still feel the order is unlawful, you should take your concern up the chain of command.

If your complaint is ignored or you are still ordered to comply with the order, you may file an Article 138 complaint. Article 138 reads that “any member of the Armed Forces who believes himself wronged by his commanding officer, and who, upon due application to that commanding officer, is refused redress, may complain to any superior commissioned officer, who shall forward the complaint to the officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction over the officer against whom it is made.

“The officer exercising general court-martial jurisdiction shall examine into the complaint and take proper measures for redressing the wrong complained of; and shall, as soon as possible, send to the (service) Secretary concerned a true statement of that complaint, with the proceedings thereon.”

I filed an Article 138 proceeding against an Army doctor in Nuremburg and I got results. I received a personal written apology from the under-Secretary of the Army for the wrong done me and my wife.

The system does work, you just have to have the courage to take the appropriate steps.

I apologize for the length of this post, but so much has been said about unlawful orders, I thought it important to offer an explanation.

Posted by: ulysses at April 12, 2006 7:41 PM
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