Monday, October 23, 2006


WASHINGTON--65 active-duty US soldiers have petitioned Congress to end the war as part of a privilege that allows them to do-so confidentially. All have sent Appeals of Redress to their respective-representatives. There have been some comparisons about the revolt in our military, to the revolt of the officers in Algeria in 1961--they are false. The French officers in Algeria revolted against the civilian-leadership in Paris because they thought the war could be won. We know now they were wrong, just as the Joint Chiefs warned against inadequate troop-levels in the run-up to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq. What did most of them do? They revolted by resigning so they could criticize the Bush administration as civilians, ex-soldiers. We all know Iraq has been a disaster from day-one, but it helps when a gauntlet of retired-Generals do too. But this has not been the tradition, this is new to criticize a standing-President for these men. They aren't comfortable with it.

It's kind of like the Roman-tradition of the 'citizen-soldier' who worked his famland, but was called-to-duty when his country was in-danger. You weren't supposed to covet any political-ambitions after an emergency had passed. You went-back to tilling your land. If leadership fears anything in the modern world, it's returning-troops. That's why military intelligence exists, to watch them when they've been decommissioned. They start demanding-things, which is reasonable. Troops during WWII were told they would be given free medical-care for the rest-of-their-lives. It didn't happen, the GOP derailed this during their Red scares. they quashed it. This doesn't mean the Democrats wanted to deliver it!

An interesting-example: Herbert Hoover (GOP) had the Bonus Expedition marchers tear-gassed in 1932, and there was a real fear that many WWI veterans were ripe for an uprising over benefits. In fact, some had been approached by Wall Street to do this very-thing, but it was reported to the Senate by USMC General Smedley Butler. Seasoned-veterans have faced death, they aren't so afraid of the bosses when they return stateside. Their bullshit-tolerance has basically evaporated, and they have an enormous potential for being radical agents of change, a powerful social-force. Do a search on Shay's rebellion, it's another interesting-example of dissatisfied-veterans who had had enough. It's a hopeful-sign that an unprecedented-number of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are entering-politics as anti-war candidates. It means they understand the traditions that are good in our unique history--or at least that's my hope.

But, to criticize the commander-in-chief while an officer on active-duty is considered poor-decorum by the High Command, a move by a Command General into the realms of the political. This is a serious-development. In some specific-contexts, it can be defined as an act of treason. However, retired-Generals have been breaking their long-held tradition of not criticizing policy-moves at the White House in public-statements. These guys have been holding press-conferences to expound on the obvious wrong-headedness of Bush administration foreign-policy, including the problems they've created with Iran, North Korean and Pakistan. Shortly after 9/11, the Bush administration threatened to hit North Korea with a nuclear-strike during six-party negotiations.

Pakistan has hardly been cooperative in rooting-out Al-Qaeda and other extremist-elements fostered by their intelligence-community, and Bush has offered nothing to coax-them with. Like Clinton, he's had to provide North Korea with food and fuel everytime the regime throws-a-fit (China provides food and fuel too). Frankly, I see no legacy, no accomplishments save-one: he has worsened the situation in the Middle East, possibly dragging the world to the brink of a global-conflagaration. He has also undermined the Bill of Rights in a six-year assault, and recently ended Habeus Corpus (the right to know why you are being imprisoned).