Sunday, June 13, 2004

The Armed Wing of the Republican Party 

Billmon has a thought-provoking post on the culture of the armed forces in this country. This post explains why he often called the military the "armed wing of the Republican Party." And it goes way beyond Gen. Boykin (in fact, it seems to not really affect the generals much at all). It's a pretty long post, but worth reading. It's inspiration is an article in the Lacrosse (Wisconsin) Tribune concerning a Colonel who went to a GOP rally in full uniform and took some of his troops with him--a big no-no in the military, but these days, who knows if this guy will be disciplined. A retired JAG officer says that this Colonel needs to be removed from his command immediately.

Anyway, what Billmon doesn't talk about, but what I think is worth exploring, is why this behavior is (seemingly) rampant in the career mid-level officer corps, but doesn't seem to exist in ranks of the Generals (I think there's a term for all the generals, writ large, but I don't know it--anyone who does, please let me know). Plus, this type of behavior also doesn't seem to be very prevalent in retired generals, either. See, e.g., Clark, Zinni, even Colin Powell to a point.

Billmon seems a bit hysterical, almost, but I'm not so sure he shouldn't be. It also should be noted, as Billmon mentions, that the JAG corps seem to be fighting a particularly fierce rearguard action against this politicization of the military, which is a good sign.
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