Should Generals Really Be So Neutral?

On McChrystal and Obama's supposed feud, Benjamin Friedman ventures:

The traditional view of these matters, the idea of objective civilian control, says that this is a political decision that officers should not publicly consider, as doing so will politicize the military. But what exactly is the grave harm we fear here?  A coup? A collapse of command authority? These are impossible and far-fetched, respectively. I doubt politicized generals are going to poison debate, and they might even improve it. For example, it would have been helpful if more generals publicly knocked the light footprint Rumsfeld wanted for the invasion of Iraq.

A bigger danger from comments like McChrystal’s is that they damage the Army’s apolitical reputation. But since that reputation is somewhat fictional the top layers of the military are plenty political I don’t know if that’s a bad thing. A realist’s view of this matter is that McChrystal can express his views and the President can always fire him, if he can bear the political cost.

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

The Man Who Owns 40,000 Video Games

A short documentary about an Austrian gamer with an uncommon obsession

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Just In