Exum calls out an alleged double standard:
Here is Andrew Sullivan warning, today, of the menace David Petraeus poses to healthy civil-military relations. But when a bunch of retired flag officers get politically involved and start lobbying the administration on the "right" side of an issue that Andrew Sullivan cares about, they are to be applauded. And when generals complained about Don Rumsfeld, they too were to be lauded for speaking out.
I'm not trying to pick on Andrew Sullivan here, but the uneven way he approaches civil-military relations -- alternately praising or chiding flag officers for getting politically involved depending on the issue and the political preferences of the writer -- seems representative of most punditry I read on this on both the right and the left. Again, I respect folks like Andrew Bacevich or Richard Kohn for being more ecumenical (if uncompromising) in their treatment of the issue. Read Kohn's biting essay on the subject here.
Does Andrew not recognize the difference between retired generals speaking out and active ones politicking and manipulating the press to get the wars they want? Please. It's such an obvious distinction it's amazing someone as smart as Exum cannot see it. There's no double standard here whatever.
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