Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On McChrystal

One of the most significant events in American history was when Washington surrendered his sword to the Continental Congress, establishing the firm tradition that the military is under civilian control. This is a key ingredient of a successful free society. I haven't read the Rolling Stone article, but I suspect that I would agree with many of the opinions that General McChrystal expressed. That aside, his comments can not be defended. No man is indespensible, but even if the war effort in Afghanistan would be seriously damaged, that would be less of a threat to free society than weakening the principle of civilian control of the military. The President would be justified if he fired McChrystal and probably should.


Mike Looney said...

Whether or not you (or for that matter the whole world of rational people) agrees with what GEN McChrystal said, it's not important. This is one of the cases that 'Truth is the ultimate defense against libel' does not apply. Note the last line of Art. 88 The truth or falsity of the statements is immaterial. Officers don't talk smack about the President. Oddly, NCO and Warrant officers can talk smack about him. McChrystal should have sent the Command Sergeant Major to talk to Rolling Stone. I'm sure Sergeant Major Hill would have had some interesting things to say as well. Reading his "been there, done that" section actually impresses me more than the general at Central Command, just for what it's worth.

The Scrub said...

I think I said that it doesn't matter that I probably agree. I don't quote the UCMJ, because, having never lived under it, I am fairly ignorant of it. I, however, do believe that the UCMJ should reflect that which is necessary for the military of a free society. Evidently it does.

Mike Looney said...

Yeah, it does. Once you get past the "you are in the military now, you don't have civil rights because you are not civil any more" aspect of it.

The UCMJ was passed by Congress on 5 May 1950, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, and became effective on 31 May 1951.. It's too bad the US doesn't all ex-post facto laws, because if we did and Truman had just waited a few weeks he could have really smacked MacArthur about the head and shoulders.

The UCMJ was passed by Congress on 5 May 1950, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, and became effective on 31 May 1951.

I always thought the Article 88 was put in due to the Truman/MacArthur toss up, but that doesn't look like the case.