Military madness 3/19/06

The disastrous consequences of George Bush's War on Iraq span virtually every aspect of modern life. A trillion dollar price tag. The destruction of America's moral standing in the world. And a professional military that is divided, demoralized and disgusted. While it is difficult to get good data about the opinions of active duty men and women - they are forbidden by law and discouraged in practice to criticize US policy - it is easy to see that there is growing disaffection among the ranks.

The level of criticism of Bush's War by senior military retirees is unprecedented. From General Zinni to Admiral Crowe to Wes Clark, some of America's brightest military minds have nothing good to say about our current commander-in-chief. And what little reliable information we do have about the troops is damning.

The results of the Zogby poll of military men and women have been widely widely published, and the news is not good.  The Zogby poll of American troops finds that 72 percent believe the United States should withdraw in a year or less and only 23 percent favor George W. Bush's plan to stay the course.

In my own personal relationship with military professionals, the actions of AWOL George have been devastating. After more than 30 years of cordial friendships with my classmates from the US Naval Academy, the fall-out of the War on Iraq has left permanent scars. Going into the war, these men actually believed there were weapons of mass destruction. One involved in Naval Intelligence said he "knew" there were WMDs, but couldn't tell us more about it because his information was secret. Another, a commander in surface warfare, linked the War on Iraq to his own evangelical Christian beliefs, confident that God would be on our side.

Today, they still hold those views. They have drowned their integrity and their intellect in the Bush Kool-Aid.  Perhaps not coincidentally, the Kool-Aid drinkers also happen to be those whose academic performance left much to be desired. In terms of Grade Point Average (GPA), the four top performance in my USNA company also happen to be progressive Democrats today.  

Which brings me to my main point.  I worry that we are on the brink of peril. With a volunteer military that is increasingly anti-intellectual and incapable of critical thinking, what will happen when our warfighters realize they have been taken for patsies by the chickenhawks in the Bush regime?  They are trained to respond to challenges with armed force. What will they do when the challenge they must respond to is the complete humiliation and degradation of their integrity? What will they do when they discover they are engaged in criminal conduct? What will they do when Bush drags them into Iran in order to boost his poll numbers?

We have never had a significant mutiny in the history of the US armed forces, which itself is a testament to the strength of our republic. But we have never taken those forces to war on completely fabricated pretenses before, either.

The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice defines mutiny this way:

Article 94: Mutiny or Sedition. A member who, with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuses in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his or her duty or creates any violence or disturbance, is guilty of mutiny. A person who, with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of lawful civil authority, creates, in concert with any other person, revolt, violence, or other disturbance against that authority, is guilty of sedition. Furthermore, a member who fails to do his or her utmost to prevent and suppress a mutiny or sedition being committed in his or her presence, or fails to take all reasonable means to inform his or her superior commissioned officer or commanding officer of a mutiny or sedition which he or she knows or has reason to believe is taking place, is guilty of a failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition. Violations of this article can be punished by death.

But then there's this (from Wikipedia):

U.S. military law requires obedience only to lawful orders. Disobedience to unlawful orders is the obligation of every member of the U.S. armed forces, a principle established by the Nuremberg trials and reaffirmed during the My Lai massacre and its aftermath.

It is no wonder Dear Leader and his enablers are working so hard to prevent anyone from getting to the bottom of their manipulation of intelligence. For if there were to be a finding of fact that George Bush contrived the case for war, our nation and the world would have to confront the reality that our aggression is illegal. Which would create unimaginable chaos in the ranks of our active duty military.

I hope we never find ourselves staring in the face of armed insurrection by our military. But if anyone is capable of triggering that kind of disaster, it is George Bush.

Crossposted at dKos


The New American Militarism

by Andrew J. Bacevich, subtitled "How Americans Are Seduced by War." Read it? He made a point that dovetails with your concerns: namely, that today's soldiers generally regard themselves as morally superior to our culture generally. Scary thought. I don't mean to suggest that soldiers are morally inferior, just that generalizations like that are dangerous.


I haven't read it, but I have lived. This sounds right on the money.