RESIST OR RESIGN OR BOTH?
The president, as commander-in-chief, directs the activities of the Defense Department. The secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs advise the president and send him recommendations. We all know that. Civilian rule over the military is a long-established and necessary doctrine. But what happens when the commander-in-chief is not capable of developing defense policy and providing the leadership to implement the policy? Are the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs still required to follow presidential guidance? The answer is a clear yes. We have a thing called the ballot box that settles who is our commander-in-chief.
But that doesn’t mean that General Dempsey and the secretary of defense are powerless to resist dangerous policies or can’t argue forcefully against presidential (commander-in-chief) orders. We have a president who, to my memory, has not been right in a single foreign or military issue. His decisions always put his politics and image ahead of what professionals think/know is best for the nation. Just review the mess in Libya with Gaddafi’s regime looking better every day since he was ousted and central control over Libya vanished, ending up with Benghazi and weapons flowing to radical Islamic groups though out the Middle East and Africa. The president’s inability to see the world as it is has led to a dangerous situation in the Ukraine as Putin takes advantage of the absence of American power and resolve. The famous disappearing redline in Syria, the failure to aid moderate Islamic forces to overthrow Asad, the vacillation over the reformation of the Iraqi government, the plans to drastically reduce the armed forces, the constantly televised presidential statements telling our enemies what we will not do and when we are leaving the theater are some critical examples. It is too late for the moderate secular Muslims have now been killed or absorbed into ISIS.
Dempsey and Hagel have had ample opportunity to judge the effectiveness and wisdom of their commander-in-chief. Some of their statements indicate they disagree with President Obama. Even if their refreshingly strong recent statements are walked back within a day or so, it might be a start. They are required to follow President Obama’s lead by our founding documents but they also took an oath to defend America and its people. If they cannot convince the president to change or modify his orders, both need to resign and take their case to Congress and the public. They have a duty to do so. But maybe they think they are indispensable or that by remaining in office they are preventing a bad situation from getting worse. Or do they just want to keep their prestigious positions and titles? I hope both of these men who have honorably served their country will choose the right path.
At the very least they need to stop the disintegration of the Armed Forces back to pre-World War II levels and to invest in developing new weapons to ensure America’s ability to defend itself and its allies. Congress will cooperate, they know peace comes through strength. War thrives on weakness. Every historian, except those with a progressive political agenda, will agree.
Written by the author of “Insights: Transforming America — Is This What We Fought For?” available now as an ebook, in paperback or hardcover on Amazon.com or BN.com. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80. If you think this message is important, please share it.