Dereliction of Duty
Digby has a couple of posts up that dig deeper into the story about the retired generals coming forward to demand Rumsfeld's head and to put the kibosh on Bush's Iranian venture before it gets totally out of hand. Digby is right in believing that these generals are finally realizing that they are probably the last line of defense against this insanity. Or as Hersh noted there is mutiny in the ranks:
The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning.
For those who believe that they are betraying their commander-in-chief, I want to remind them that those in the military have also sworn an oath: an oath to protect and defend the constitution and they have a duty to speak up when that constitution is under attack. The unitary President theory that Bush and his cult espouse is a head-on attack on our Constitution especially as we now are seeing how they have already laid the seeds (indeed, funding a terrorist organization) for an illegal and immoral war against Iran. True patriots must stand against this illegal subversion of our government.
Almost two years ago, retired General Anthony Zinni explained what was required of the military leadership in this case.
LARRY KORB: General, Larry Korb. Under Goldwater-Nickles, the military are supposed to be able to talk to the president and the Congress, to tell them that. You're quite right to talk about Gen. Shinseki. Where were the other chiefs when this planning for the war with all the optimistic scenarios were going? Don't you think if they all have spoken out, it would have been harder for the administration to just push it along?
ZINNI: First of all, I'm not going to speak for the chiefs. And, I'm not going to speak against them in any way. I will tell you this. When I was a commander at U.S. Central Command, and Hugh Shelton was the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hugh Shelton sent us the book Dereliction of Duty. He required all of us 17 four-star General Commanders to read the book. And we all reported to Washington, I believe it was (the) 28th of January, 1998, for a breakfast meeting.
At that meeting was a then young Army Maj. McMaster who wrote the book. Dereliction of Duty describes the dereliction on the part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Vietnam War, who had strong feelings about all the mistakes that were being made, but didn't speak their minds, and didn't speak up, with the exception of former Commandant of the Marine Corps, David Shoup. The message to us, after we heard this, from Hugh Shelton is, that will never happen here. And the message to us from Secretary Cohen at that time, too, is that door is always open, and your obligation to the Congress, which is an obligation to the American people to tell them what you think, still stands strong. And that's the expectation that we have.
They did not ever want to hear that we had a problem, something sticking our craw, that we didn't bring up to them, and we didn't honestly express if we felt it had to be expressed. I can tell you there were times when I disagreed with the policy and I can tell you one time in particular that I was taken, personally, to a principals meeting, because the secretary and the chairman wanted to be sure that my views, which were different, were heard by the President.
Now, I think there is an obligation to speak the truth that when you're confirmed, and when you raise your right hand in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee and in front of whoever the administers that oath for your appointment. You answer to those many bosses. One is the secretary of defense and the president, another boss is the Congress, who represents the people. And you're going to have to speak the truth, like (Eric) Rich Shinseki did. It's painful at times. Believe me. I've been down that road. But it is an obligation that comes with the uniform. And I think if there are those, and I don't know this one way or another, I don't ask, if there are those wearing that uniform that have concerns and doubts about this or objections, and didn't voice it, there is going to be a second edition of Dereliction of Duty down the road.