Saturday, April 28, 2007

Discontent in the Officer Corps

Via Blue Girl, Red State we find this article in the Armed Forces Journal. Now I'm not an expert in military affairs, but I'm also not entirely ignorant. The fact that this article is being written is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed. This degree of dissatisfaction in the field grade officer corps is a definite problem. There is always some disaffection in the ranks but the degree of unhappiness being expressed these days is exceptional. Lt. Col. Paul Yingling describes a number of problems which are plaguing the military now.

Two of the things he discusses have particular salience to questions of politics outside the military. Lt. Col. Yingling states "War is not a military activity conducted by soldiers, but rather a social activity that involves entire nations." This is at the heart of the current political disconnect. Our current political leadership is taking exactly the opposite position. They have left the whole weight of fighting in Iraq on the sholders of the military. They have failed to provide the national support that the military needs. This failure dates back to the lead up to the war. For a nation to successfully prosecute a war requires a great deal more than a bare 51% support of the population. Especially if that 51% is achieved via fraud and deceit. Yet our political leadership accepted this a sufficient to take the nation to war. There needs to be broad popular support for the sacrifices our military need to make if we are to engage in a long war. This Administration has failed to provide that support.

Another issue that the article raises is a growing disconnect in the army between the Generals and the lower ranks. The Generals have chosen to ingratiate themselves with the political leadership rather than fulfill their obligations to accurately inform the political leadership as to what was needed for this war. This disconnect between those in management and those who actually need to make things happen is a broader problem in society, see here for more on this.

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