Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Military Revolt?

This is very interesting if it’s true. The London Times is reporting, based on unnamed sources in British intelligence, that several generals and admirals in the US military are prepared to resign if President Bush decides to attack Iran.

SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.


Here’s the direct quotes from their source:

“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible.”

A British defence source confirmed that there were deep misgivings inside the Pentagon about a military strike. “All the generals are perfectly clear that they don’t have the military capacity to take Iran on in any meaningful fashion. Nobody wants to do it and it would be a matter of conscience for them.

There are enough people who feel this would be an error of judgment too far for there to be resignations.”

This would be virtually unprecedented. The article also notes that defense secretary Robert Gates has warned several times against attacking Iran and his view is believed to be the dominant view among the senior military leadership. If this were to happen, it would be an interesting dilemma for conservatives, I think. Their rhetoric almost always indicates that we should let the generals run the wars, the politicians should stay out of it; frankly, I tend to agree with them.

How would they react in that case? I suspect they would react the same way most of them reacted to the long list of generals who came out publicly against the invasion of Iraq and especially against the non-existent plan for the post-war occupation; they’ll call those generals liberals who need not be listened to. Never mind that generals like Anthony Zinni, Eric Shinseki and Wesley Clark were right in everything they said about the ill-planned invasion, while Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were wrong in virtually every prediction. Reality must bow to politics.

Comments

  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    February 27, 2007

    Well goody. Once they resign, Bush/Cheney/Rove can replace them with obedient, Bible-believing officers who are not afraid to bring on Armegeddon.

  2. #2 Lettuce
    February 27, 2007

    While an actual mass resignation would be unique for Bush, I’m willing to bet the effect would be the same as it has been…

    He’d replace anyone who disagrees with him (as hehas effected one woy or another) and then “take the advice” of those he chooses to replace them, whose main qualities would be their splendid advice giving abilities.

    Bush/Cheney dead-enders will swallow anything.

    Indeed, for voicing their concerns (and doing the proper thing, resigning) they will likely brand these generals traitors.

  3. #3 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    I agree with the commenters. These generals shouldn’t resign — they should stay on, refuse to carry out any order to attack Iran if they (in their judgement as professionals) feel it would be bad for the country, and let Bush make the decision to sack them. Resigning in advance only gives Bush the opportunity to replace them with obedient dittoheads; and then pretend he’s following their advice, after those wussy libruls CHOSE to walk away and not serve their country.

    Sun Tsu wrote: “There are battles that must not be fought, provinces that must not be taken, orders of the sovereign that must not be obeyed.”

  4. #4 DuWayne
    February 27, 2007

    Raging Bee -

    They would go to prison if they refuse to carry out orders. They either have to resign, or they have to follow orders. To do otherwise would have serious consequences, above and beyond their own punishments. It would be a serious breach of military discipline. Bad enough when low level leutenant does it. If you have generals and admirals, refuing to obey orders, it sets a precedent that this is acceptable, as long as the stakes are high enough. Precisley the reason that you don’t see it happening – that you’ve never heard of it happening. It would be the death knell of any real discipline in the military.

    The other reason that it would be pointless is that the ethical breach would be overwhelmingly obvious. This is not something that would do a damn thing to help keep us out of Iran. It would make the wo/men who chose to refuse their orders, criminals, with no credibility. By resigning, they can appear on news shows, talking about why they left – why it would be so dangerous to invade Iran. They can be used far more effectively, outside of prison.

  5. #5 Chuck
    February 27, 2007

    For a uniformed member of the military on active duty to disobey an order from the president is hardly the answer. We don’t need the military trumping the tradition (and constitutional principle) of civilian control. Let Bush trample the Constitution – he’ll be out of office soon, and perhaps someday may be held to account for his crimes. We don’t need some gallant Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon . . .

  6. #6 RickD
    February 27, 2007

    “For a uniformed member of the military on active duty to disobey an order from the president is hardly the answer.”

    What if the order is considered to be unlawful and unconstitutional? In the current political atmosphere, the only way Bush attacks Iraq would be without a declaration of war or, indeed, any Congressional authorization whatsoever. Military officers take an oath to serve the Constitution and the people of the United States, not to serve at the whim of the Commander in Chief. The UCMJ does not require officers to obey illegal orders and, indeed, can hold military personnel individually responsible if they obey an illegal order. “I was ordered to do it” is not a legal defense if the order was “Shoot into that crowd!”

  7. #7 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    Generals are professionals, just like doctors and lawyers: they are expected, not merely to obey orders without question, but to use their judgement, knowledge, training and experience to make the best policy decisions within their respective fields of expertise. Like doctors, they have a general duty — in this case, win wars without incurring too much damage to either their own units or the country — that may sometimes supercede this or that specific order. And like doctors, they have a moral obligation not to follow orders contrary to their general duty or ethics. And like doctors, the paying client can simply replace them — but that doesn’t diminish their obligation to keep their own hands clean of any gross violation of their ethics.

    If a general decides, based on the expertise and experience he’s paid to bring to his job (that’s why we HAVE generals, right?), that attacking a certain country would be really detrimental to his forces and his country, then he has the same duty as a doctor who is asked to perform a procedure he considers useless or dangerous: refuse the order and accept the consequences. Yes, the general can go to jail, but that’s better than knowingly partipating in an atrocious mistake and then bleating “I was only following orders!”

    Besides, there’s different degrees of insubordination: we’re talking about refusing to attack another country, not flouting the Constitution or staging a coup at home.

  8. #8 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    Also, I suspect that a LOT of refusal went on behind closed doors in previous wars, and that’s not always a bad thing. Here’s how things probably went from time to time during WWII or the Korean War:

    President: “I want you to attack [X]! We gotta kick some ass!”

    General: “Forget it, sir — we’d only get cut to shreds, and that objective is not worth the cost even if we win.”

    P: “Oh, okay — how about if you attack [Y] instead?”…

    Sun Tsu explicitly warned that the sovereign may give orders that he does not have the expertise to know are impossible in the circumstances. It’s the generals’ job to think and judge, not just obey like robots.

  9. #9 Ted H.
    February 27, 2007

    Having military leaders disagree with civilian leaders is nothing new. What is unusual is the apparent scale of the disagreement.

    Refusing a legal order is never the way to go. Resigning may not accomplish much, but at least it is not mutiny. But consider that Bush would still get his war if he wanted it. It would be run by people who may not be qualified to do the jobs they find themself in.

    Back in the 1930′s, Stalin executed most of his generals. The result was a poorly led Red Army that performed very badly until qualified people filled the posts.

    As an enlisted sailor in the US Navy, I don’t get to choose which orders to follow, and which ones I don’t. I also don’t have the luxury of choosing which war I want to fight. Officers have the right, even the duty, to question orders. They still have to obey them, however. The only way to protest legally is resignation.

    There have been conservative comments comparing George Bush to Lincoln for for his firing of generals. In this sense, it would be better for him not to get the chance. Another historical parallel I’m reminded of is when Nixon wanted to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. There were mass resignations by people who refused to do it until someone (Robert Bork) finally did. Bork said he planned to fire Cox and then quit in protest, but I don’t think he did. Nixon still got his way, but the uproar was greater that what would have happened if Nixon just fired Attorney Generals for insubbordination. Yes, not quite the same, but I am drawn by the similarities.

  10. #10 Mark
    February 27, 2007

    A general does not have “the same duty as a doctor who is asked to perform a procedure he considers useless or dangerous: refuse the order and accept the consequences.” A general, indeed, any member of the armed services, has the absolute duty to follow lawful orders, despite misgivings. The only honorable thing for an officer to do when given an order with which he disagrees but which is lawful (as it would be if Congress authorized it) is to resign.

  11. #11 DuWayne
    February 27, 2007

    Raging Bee –

    They have been absolutely clear that they will not follow orders to invade Iran. There is no question, they won’t do it. The fact that they are choosing to refuse, in a legal and reasonable fashion, just lends that refusal more legitamacy.

    Sure, it might make something of a statement, were they to stay in, refuse and go to prison. But that statement would be hollow to most anyone who has any respect for the military. What you are suggesting, goes against everything these people have devoted their lives to.

    Your second comment makes little sense. In the scenario you describe, the general is not refusing an order, he is advising someone who doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. That is, in fact, a generals job. Also, I doubt that happened very often at all. While a president might suggest that they need some good press – lets have a grand offensive, they leave it to the generals to make it happen.

    I just don’t understand how you are equating their decision (based on thinking and making a judgement) to resign, with the notion that they would be following orders. They have chosen to refuse those orders, honorably, by resigning. If you think this is too light, that they should also choose to go to prison, your a fool.

    These people have given the best of their lives to serve their country. They are now choosing to sacrifice their careers, to refuse these orders. They are probably giving up part of their pensions, benifits – things they have worked, their whole lives to earn. Who the hell do you think you are, to demand that they give up any hope of getting any of their retiremment, instead saying they should choose prison, dishonor and impoverishment? Give me a damn break.

  12. #12 RickD
    February 27, 2007

    Shorter Ted H.: obey illegal orders because somebody else will if you don’t.

    Um, no, that’s really not an ethical approach to the question.

    The fact that Nixon had to fire two AGs before he could find one who would fire Cox for him was very important at the time. The two people who stood up to Nixon were heroes as far as I’m concerned, whereas Bork has always been simply a self-interested asshole. “If Bork would do it, then you should” is definitely not advice I would give to anybody!

  13. #13 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    Sure, it might make something of a statement, were they to stay in, refuse and go to prison. But that statement would be hollow to most anyone who has any respect for the military.

    Hollow my ass — it would tell the whole nation that some generals cared enough to risk jail, rather than send others to die in an unwinnable war. There’s nothing hollow about that.

    Of course, Bush could fire them and replace them with obedient minions. But forcing Bush to do it hisself would drive home the point that a) this was Bush’s idea and his alone; and b) the generals think the idea is so bad that they would go to that length to keep their hands clean and their asses covered.

    Resignation is a good response to this; I just think that forcing Bush to fire them would be better.

    As for actually going to prison, that would only happen if the CinC made it so. And such a move would probably fracture, and maybe even sink, the Republican party. And most Republicans know that.

    Who the hell do you think you are, to demand that they give up any hope of getting any of their retiremment, instead saying they should choose prison, dishonor and impoverishment?

    I’m a tax-paying citizen of the country that’s contemplating this war, that’s who. Is that good enough for you? And speaking of sacrifice, what would their soldiers be giving up if we actually did attack Iran?

  14. #14 Ted H.
    February 27, 2007

    Actually, I did say legal orders, but I want to be clear. What is a legal order and what isn’t can get really sticky.

    An order from the Commander in Chief to his Generals to invade a country may or may not be a legal order. The fact that only Congress can declare war is routinely ignored. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq I, Iraq II, and Afghanistan were all given congressional approval without an actual declaration of war. Are they legal? I don’t pretend to have the qualifications to get into that.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the AGs resigned themselves, not fired. Not like Haldeman/Erlichman, where being fired was stated as a resignation, but they just refused to fire Cox and quit instead. Either way, I too have a lot of respect for those AGs, and none for Bork.

  15. #15 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    There have been conservative comments comparing George Bush to Lincoln for for his firing of generals.

    There have also been “conservative” comments comparing George Bush to Jesus for…I’m not sure what. Your point…?

  16. #16 Ted H.
    February 27, 2007

    In addition, I think that Bush starting a war against Iran is close to zero. Just threats of mass resignations like this should keep the chances low.

    For the record, however, these generals almost certainly have been in long enough that they can resign and keep thier benefits.

  17. #17 Ted H.
    February 27, 2007

    No point really. It would just probably be best not to be able to give them another round of firings to show what a great leader he is. Sure, they will chastise generals for quitting, and hail Bush for surviving ‘rebellious’ generals, or some such garbage.

    As far as political punditry goes, I think you get less milage from people resigning as a matter of principle than you do from having to fire insubordinates.

  18. #18 DuWayne
    February 27, 2007

    Raging Bee -

    Of course, Bush could fire them and replace them with obedient minions. But forcing Bush to do it hisself would drive home the point that a) this was Bush’s idea and his alone; and b) the generals think the idea is so bad that they would go to that length to keep their hands clean and their asses covered.

    They are going to a very extreme length to drive home that point already. You seem to think this is just some week gesture, it’s not. They are refusing to follow orders. They just are doing it legaly, giving them the absolute high ground.

    Resignation is a good response to this; I just think that forcing Bush to fire them would be better.

    All that staying in and refusing to follow orders will do, is get them sent to prison and lose them the respect of nearly everyone in the military and much of the civilian population. With that they would lose any influence they might still have with anybody who does have some control of the situation. And they would likely end up in prison. This does absolutely nothing positive and turns their refusal to follow orders, into a source of shame.

    As for actually going to prison, that would only happen if the CinC made it so. And such a move would probably fracture, and maybe even sink, the Republican party. And most Republicans know that.

    The military could not afford not to send them to prison. Orders are to be followed, all orders, not just the ones a person likes. Unless it is unambiguously illegal, they have to follow orders. What you are asking them to do is to set a frightening precedent. You are saying that top military commanders, should set the example that it is all right to desert, if you don’t like what your commanding oficer tells you to do.

    I’m a tax-paying citizen of the country that’s contemplating this war, that’s who. Is that good enough for you?

    It sure as hell isn’t. When you are ready to sacrifice your freedom, your honor, your career and your future, for an ineffective gesture, we’ll talk.

    And speaking of sacrifice, what would their soldiers be giving up if we actually did attack Iran?

    Their soldiers will go anyways, if that is the decision of the powers that be. The choice is whether they go in with a cloud over them. If their general decides to buck the system, that casts a pall over every officer under them. This would lead to, at the least, something of a shake-up in the chain of command. Officers would get moved around, the organization shuffled. All of this would inevitably weaken the entire structure, when they are about to go into combat.

    For a lot of reasons, on many levels, I am dead against invading Iran. I am extremely grateful that these men are standing up the way that they are. They are not making a meaningless gesture, nor a hollow one. Doing what you suggest, would make it completely meaningless and detrimental to an already strained military.

    I should also note that I am not convinced that what you suggest would not have a more profound effect on the American people, it very well might. But it would be at too high a cost, in terms of damage to our military, damage we can obviously not afford right now. That would make the sacrifice of our soldiers, that much higher. And quite honestly, if it mattered a whit, what the American people think about all this, we would not be contemplating going to war with Iran, we would be working on getting out of Iraq.

  19. #19 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    All that staying in and refusing to follow orders will do, is get them sent to prison and lose them the respect of nearly everyone in the military and much of the civilian population.

    First, if their loyalty and competence are already well-established in the minds of the people (and I have no doubt they are), then they won’t lose any respect, especially since most of the American people have exactly the same misgivings about attacking Iran as the generals do. These are experienced career officers, who have already tasted war, not a gaggle of hysterical pacifists.

    Second, their willingness to endure punishment for taking a stand that is both principled and pragmatic may not gain them respect, but I’m not convinced it will lose them any, either.

    Third, their refusal to obey Bush’s orders will be “illegal,” and get them sent to prison, only if the CinC chooses to go beyond merely firing them.

    The military could not afford not to send them to prison. Orders are to be followed, all orders, not just the ones a person likes. Unless it is unambiguously illegal, they have to follow orders.

    You’re speaking of the military like it’s a machine, predetermined to follow only one possible course. It isn’t — it’s a huge and complex and wonky organization of people, and the decisions are made by people. Which people, exactly, would make the decision to court-martial a general who refuses to follow orders? (And BTW, that’s “insubordination,” not “desertion;” get your terminololgy straight.) Since the orders would come from the CinC, it would probably have to be the CinC who would file the complaint and have the final say on whether or not to charge the generals. And if he did that, the court-martial could easily become a platform for the defendants to explain their actions. Bush may be too stupid to understand the implications of such a media circus, but many of the rest of the GOP aren’t, and I don’t think they’d want their Iran policy publicly exposed and attacked in such a setting.

    Bottom line: if the generals were sent to jail, the public backlash — which would unite peaceniks and Bush-haters with pro-military conservatives — would be the Republicans’ worst nightmare. Beating up on ivy-league lefties is one thing; punishing the very generals who have led and managed two wars already, and are still dealing with them today, is a whole ‘nother story.

    What you are asking them to do is to set a frightening precedent.

    Nonsense — there’s a huge difference between refusing to do what one is ordered to do (especially when it’s something we really don’t have to do, and something the generals say we CAN’T do) and actively going out and doing something one is NOT ordered to do.

    When you are ready to sacrifice your freedom, your honor, your career and your future, for an ineffective gesture, we’ll talk.

    And what superior sacrifices have YOU made, that make my opinions unworthy of response? You sound like a pro-Bush redneck talking down to an opponent of the Iraq war.

  20. #20 Bill Poser
    February 27, 2007

    Bush’s ability to replace dissenting generals with his yes-men is limited by the fact that promotion to general (any kind from Brigadier General on up) requires Senate confirmation, as do appointments to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is the principle advisory body to the Command-in-Chief.

  21. #21 DuWayne
    February 27, 2007

    Raging Bee -

    First, if their loyalty and competence are already well-established in the minds of the people (and I have no doubt they are), then they won’t lose any respect, especially since most of the American people have exactly the same misgivings about attacking Iran as the generals do. These are experienced career officers, who have already tasted war, not a gaggle of hysterical pacifists.

    Which makes all of no difference. Again, if the bush administration gave a shit what the American people want, we wouldn’t be saber rattling with Iran, we would be working on getting out of Iraq.

    Second, their willingness to endure punishment for taking a stand that is both principled and pragmatic may not gain them respect, but I’m not convinced it will lose them any, either.

    It would lose them respect in the military command structure.

    Third, their refusal to obey Bush’s orders will be “illegal,” and get them sent to prison, only if the CinC chooses to go beyond merely firing them.

    You have yet to provide a compelling argument that they would not. While it may well kill the republican party, the republican party does not have a real hand in that decision. I would be truly frightened if the military bowed to political pressure, to determine discipline. The fact that these folks have a legal out, to avoid following those orders, works against them if they choose to operate outside the legal framework.

    Nonsense — there’s a huge difference between refusing to do what one is ordered to do (especially when it’s something we really don’t have to do, and something the generals say we CAN’T do) and actively going out and doing something one is NOT ordered to do.

    No there isn’t. Not that a soldier doing something he was not ordered to, has any relevance. Any soldier, or officer, who is given orders, is compelled to follow them – unless it is clear that the orders are to commit illegal actions.

    And what superior sacrifices have YOU made, that make my opinions unworthy of response?

    I’m simply the guy not suggesting that others do, what I would not. You are the one asking these men to make a huge sacrifice, from the comfort of your home or office – not me.

    You sound like a pro-Bush redneck talking down to an opponent of the Iraq war.

    Forgive my language all.

    Fuck you. I am very anti war. The only war we have fought, in my lifetime, that I can truly support, is Afghanastan, and I have mixed feelings about that. At the same time, I am very pro-military. I have the utmost respect and appreciation for those who are willing to risk their lives to keep me safe – to make it possible for me to lay here in bed typing this. I want to see our military in reasonable, functional condition. What you are suggesting would be directly counter to that.

    If all you are going to accuse me of being a pro-war bushie, I have lost all respect for you. Which is unfortunate. While we often dissagree on a lot of things, we agree where I think it’s important to. I had a fair amount of respect for you, even where we disagree. But that was just too obnoxious.

  22. #22 Fuzzy Zoeller
    February 27, 2007

    *golfclap*

  23. #23 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    You are the one asking these men to make a huge sacrifice, from the comfort of your home or office – not me.

    The same can be said of any civilian voicing any opinion on his/her country’s military policy. Or any civilian who has an opinion on how the local cops should behave. And that includes you, who just confessed to typing your opinions from the comfort of your bed.

  24. #24 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    If all you are going to accuse me of being a pro-war bushie…

    Read my post again. I said you SOUND LIKE a pro-Bush redneck, not that you ARE one. Get the difference?

  25. #25 twincats
    February 27, 2007

    As a veteran of 8 years in the USAF, I have to side with DuWayne on this.

    No one in the military has the option of a display of civil disobedience, least of all generals. Why? because it’s NOT civil disobedience, it’s military disobedience. U.S. Military personnel are a special case; subject not only to civilian law, but also the UCMJ. For the generals in question to break the Code would be not just hugely controversial, but unbelievably detrimental to the morale and discipline of every military member.

  26. #26 Chuck
    February 27, 2007

    The problem is that Raging Bee and others is not simply contemplating an act of conscience by a citizen participating in democracy – they are talking about people in the government dismantling the apparatus of government in order to prevent a policy the said apparatus opposes. There is a world of difference between the precedent of a member of the military top brass ignoring an order from a civilian commander-in-chief, and resigning his post as a citizen in protest of an order. I agree that if the order is actually unlawful, it is permissible and necessary for a general to do so – but, I’m sorry, in the post-World War II age, unless Congress wants to reclaim its warmaking powers, an order by a President to attack another country is not unlawful. Clinton’s bombing of Kosovo would be unlawful by such a standard, as would any potentially legitimate intervention in foreign soil.

    Let’s not forget that someday, if such a precedent is set, there may be some Curtis LeMay in the military who ignores policy set by a more rational and reasonable civilian and democratically-elected president than George W. Bush. We don’t want officers in the military making these kinds of decision as military officers. If they choose to ignore a lawful order, they must resign – or the situation in this country will be far scarier than it is and the possibility of a future military overthrow of the government is established.

    Despite political passions, let’s maintain some semblance of “loyal opposition” here, people. Once we set out on revolution, our opponents will seek to do so too.

  27. #27 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    …they are talking about people in the government dismantling the apparatus of government in order to prevent a policy the said apparatus opposes.

    Excuse me — what, exactly, would be “dismantled” by the insubordination I’m contemplating?

  28. #28 Raging Bee
    February 27, 2007

    If they choose to ignore a lawful order, they must resign – or the situation in this country will be far scarier than it is and the possibility of a future military overthrow of the government is established.

    And no one denies this. If Bush fires a general, he’s fired and that’s it. Who here has disputed that basic point?

  29. #29 raj
    February 27, 2007

    This mass-resignation-of-generals issue has got me wondering. After they have resigned, couldn’t the military just recall them to active duty? The military seems to have a long leash on many people–including those who retired years ago, but are considered still part of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). Are or high-ranking officers such as generals a special case, not subject to recall?

    I’m not sure why the military would want to recall retired high-ranking officers who disagree with a policy–they may not execute a policy that they disagree with very well–but that’s a separate issue.

  30. #30 decrepitoldfool
    February 27, 2007

    I hate the thought of soldiers, generals and admirals, who have spent a lifetime serving their country, having to face the choice of resigning or going to jail because of the little tinpot decider-in-chief pushing further down a dark road. They deserve a reward, a pension, honor, for their service and not to have to be forced at the end, into this kind of decision.

    Yes, it would have more impact if they stayed on, refused the order, and faced trial, but in aggregate it would not necessarily be a good impact. Resigning is probably as good a balance as could be achieved from the terrible position in which they find themselves.

  31. #31 Randi Schimnosky
    February 27, 2007

    Raging Bee, I’m with DuWayne on this one. When you put yourself in a position to sacrifice your freedom, your honour, your career and your future you can suggest others do the same, and not before.

  32. #32 James
    February 27, 2007

    Can I just point something out here?

    Where is it written that Bush is seriously considering attacking Iran?

    Honestly I doubt he’d even have the support of most Republicans for that, let alone the Democrats. Show me some evidence that Bush would really try to send troops to Iran (and what troops anyway, militarily the US is basically tapped out at the moment). I mean attacking Iran would be seriously bad, but sabre-rattling can be a negotiating tactic too.

  33. #33 DuWayne
    February 28, 2007

    Raging bee -

    The same can be said of any civilian voicing any opinion on his/her country’s military policy.

    No, it can’t. I was damned specific in my statement. If you are not willing to fill the role, you have no place suggesting others do so. I am not suggesting anyone do anything that I would not do. I haven’t done that, because I wouldn’t.

    Or any civilian who has an opinion on how the local cops should behave.

    Bullshit on that one. They directly affect our lives – either protecting them or putting them at risk. Things that directly affect us, are absolutely open game. I happen to live somewhere, where cops like to shoot people – and they get away with it every time. I am voracious in my criticism of the police here. I go to city council meetings, I go to neighborhood meetings, to speak to the cops about my concerns. I have every damn right to, even as I have no intention of ever wearing a badge.

    And that includes you, who just confessed to typing your opinions from the comfort of your bed.

    As I said, from the comfort of my bed, I have not asked anyone to do anything that I would not.

    Read my post again. I said you SOUND LIKE a pro-Bush redneck, not that you ARE one. Get the difference

    Ahh, thanks for the fine distinction and fuck you again. Kind of like saying one sounds like a raging lunatic. Personal attacks: one, all respect I had for you: zero.

  34. #34 Nebogipfel
    February 28, 2007

    British Intelligence was also the source of the reports that Saddam was buying uranium ore from Niger, based on what turned out to be faked documents. (And I say this as a Brit!). So I wouldn’t get *too* excited about this…

  35. #35 raj
    February 28, 2007

    Nebogipfel | February 28, 2007 06:55 AM

    Are the Brits claiming to be the source of the faked documents now? From what I have read–and I’ve read more than a bit on it–the documents were sourced through Italy, and there was no indication that the Brits were involved whatsoever.

  36. #36 Raging Bee
    February 28, 2007

    If you are not willing to fill the role, you have no place suggesting others do so.

    Are you saying that my right to advocate or criticize a policy is dependent on my ability and willingness to do what I think the specialists should do?

    I advocate police action against terrorism — but I’m not willing to perform such actions myself, because I’m not trained to be a cop or investigator; nor did I ever want to be one. Does this mean I have “no place” advocating police action of any sort in any situation?

    It’s easy to be an emotional hypocrite from the comfort of your bed, isn’t it?

  37. #37 Nebogipfel
    February 28, 2007

    @raj:

    Sorry, I phrased that badly; I wasn’t saying that MI6 actually forged the documents themselves, just that when the Saddam-Niger link was published in the infamous “Dodgy Dossier”, it was attributed to British Intelligence analysis of what turned out to be forged documents (forged by whom, no-one seems to know). From what I’ve read, the actual intelligence people were also dubious about the authenticity of the documents, but it seems that these doubts weren’t sufficient to stop the claims being made public in the Dossier.

    So, learning from their mistakes, I would like a report that senior US generals and admirals are thinking of resigning en masse to be more than “single sourced” from an article in the Times… ;-)

  38. #38 Raging Bee
    February 28, 2007

    Another point, DuWayne:

    Things that directly affect us, are absolutely open game.

    And Iran directly affects us, one way or another. Their president is a Holocaust-denier who makes no secret of wanting to acquire nukes AND destroy Israel; they’re mucking about in Iraq; they hang teenagers for allegedly being gay; they support Hezbollah and possibly al Qaeda as well; and many Iranians have made careers of blaming the US for everything that’s wrong with their country. And our decision on whether or not to attack Iran will also directly affect us, possibly for generations to come. So stop pretending your right to speak out about Iran is in any way superior to mine.

  39. #39 Chuck
    February 28, 2007

    I disagree with Raging Bee (something which, from the comments of his I’ve read, rarely happens) but for an entirely different reason than DuWayne. Personally, it is not an issue “impact” and “sacrifice as a professional” as it is this: we can’t have the people at top levels of the military brass going against orders from the civilian leadership of this country. Period. The consequences go far beyond an officer in the military spending some time in prison and losing his pension: they go all the way to a breakdown of the military chain of command, on the one hand, and the dangerous precedent of top officers in the military forces, who are among the most powerful men in the world – who have billions of dollars worth of military equipment and weapons and infrastructure, hundreds of thousands of men, and the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction ever crafted – in their hands. We don’t need rogues among them.

  40. #40 Raging Bee
    February 28, 2007

    Chuck: As I’ve said before, I am not saying that the military should keep itself outside civilian control; I am merely saying that those generals and admirals who, based on their understanding of the Iran situation, have decided to refuse to attack Iran, should force Bush to fire them, or at least not resign until Bush explicitly demands it. Bush, of course, has the undisputed authority to fire them, for any or no reason, and when they’re fired, they’re out, and there will be no “breakdown of the military chain of command.” I certainly never said, nor do I believe, that the generals should continue to give orders after being lawfully fired by the CinC.

    These generals are not “rogues,” they’re loyal officers, with clean records AFAIK, trying to use their best judgement to fulfil their obligations to their country; and if Bush really wants to attack Iran, and fire any general who disagrees, then they will not be “rogues among” the military — which no one wants; they’ll be “former generals fired by an idiot boss who didn’t listen to their expertise.”

  41. #41 Amused
    February 28, 2007

    Keep digging your hole, Bee

  42. #42 gwangung
    February 28, 2007

    I just think that the problem is that what Bee thinks will happen wrt to his course of action is not what’s likely to happen; law of unintended consequences, you know…

  43. #43 DuWayne
    February 28, 2007

    Raging one -

    So not only do I sound like an pro-war, redneck bushie, I am now a hypocrite? Wow, this makes your argument sound so much better. Thank you for clarifying just what sort of person you are. Bye now.

  44. #44 Raging Bee
    February 28, 2007

    gwangung: what do YOU think will happen?

  45. #45 Rustoleum
    February 28, 2007

    I’m sorry to point this out, but there are about 850 active generals and admirals in the US military. 4 or 5 are going to resign? That’s less than 1%. Anyone who described this as a “mass revolt” or “mass” anything should rethink.

  46. #46 chris
    February 28, 2007

    So, were the commandants of the Nazi concentration camps expected to disobey the direct orders from Berlin? Or were they supposed to just follow them obediently? Isn’t that what a lot of them were put on trial for-willfully carrying out orders they knew were immoral.

    In my opinion, an invasion of Iran would be not only immoral, but the single worst policy decision in all of Western history. And if anyone is arrogant and ignorant enough to pull it off, it’s George Bush. I think the response would be to resign, and if it’s only 1%, well, that’s more than resigned the last time and I think the result would be enough to make their point about Bush.

  47. #47 DuWayne
    February 28, 2007

    Chris -

    I think that everyone here is very pleased to see that they would resign, rather than obey orders to invade Iran. The argument raging here, is whether they should just resign, or if they should stay in and refuse to obey orders. No one is arguing that they should stay in and invade Iran.

  48. #48 Chuck
    March 1, 2007

    Also, Chris, no one is denying that members of the SS were following illegal orders. I suppose a pacifist could make the argument that all war is illegal, but if a military man is ordered to attack targets in a certain by the commander in chief, that doesn’t seem illegal unless Congress withholds its assent. Even without Congressional assent there are certain situations in which intervention or limited attacks on a foreign power are legal and sometimes necessary – as in cases of supreme humanitarian emergencies or imminent threat of attack – or even to stop a maniacal theocratic regime (I think we can all oppose the government of Iran on that one) from holding the world hostage with the threat of nuclear attack.

  49. #49 Roman Werpachowski
    March 1, 2007

    Chuck: “Let’s not forget that someday, if such a precedent is set, there may be some Curtis LeMay in the military who ignores policy set by a more rational and reasonable civilian and democratically-elected president than George W. Bush.”

    What do you mean about Curtis LeMay?

    chris: “Isn’t that what a lot of them were put on trial for-willfully carrying out orders they knew were immoral.”

    They [the Nazi camp commandants] were tried for doing things which were not only immoral, but also illegal. And they knew that those things were illegal.

  50. #50 chris
    March 2, 2007

    They [the Nazi camp commandants] were tried for doing things which were not only immoral, but also illegal. And they knew that those things were illegal.

    So if the current US commanders in Iraq, let alone any future action in Iran, “know” that their orders are illegal (and many have said that the entire war in Iraq is illegal, according to international law) are they expected to disobey? I guess my point is, isn’t there a double-standard? Other country’s leaders are expected to disobey orders that we, post facto, determined to be illegal. But our leaders are expected to resign, if they are unwilling to carry out any such orders.

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