Seven Days in April

Another retired general says Donald Rumsfeld should resign. Another general ought to shut up.

My position on Rumsfeld is clear. He should be clapped in irons and put on trial for war crimes for his role as one of history’s greatest genocidal maniacs, a man who pushed for the mass murder of more than 150,000 innocent Iraqis and Afghans and who recklessly squandered the lives and limbs of tens of thousands of American and Allied soldiers. He is a monster, pure and simple. He is stupid, arrogant and vicious.

Military men, however, should continue to respect the traditional separation the armed forces have from civilian politics. As we saw most recently with the intimidating letter sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the Washington Post about (ironically, a pro-military) cartoon by Tom Toles, generals no longer seem content to stay out of politics.

This is a dangerous trend.

More and more, our civilian society is being militarized, with troops being dispatched to keep order in disaster zones where humanitarian workers used to go to provide help. Former generals who voice their opinion about whether their top civilian leader, the Defense Secretary, ought to keep his job, continue this terrifying trend–one that is accelerating in view of the growing vacuum of leadership in Congress and the judiciary.

We still have civilian rule in this country–thank God. Rumsfeld (and Bush) should go. But the military should have no say about either.

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