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Truthout: Binders Full of Generals

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But Obama prevailed despite the leaks, most likely helped by his firing of McChrystal and overruling his generals on the Bin Laden raid by insisting that there were backup helicopters.

How to Fix This

In a past column, I made a bold suggestion about what generals should be required to do to stop the insidious corruption of our top officers from going through the revolving door to lucrative defense company jobs and disillusioning our junior officers:

So, my reform solution for the general officer corps requires them to make a choice. If they want to go work for or invest money in a defense contractor, they must give up their title of general and lose their military retirement pay and perks. If they think it is unfair because they earned the retirement and the military rank, they can keep to a higher calling and work in some other civilian industry, as many generals did after World War II. (See my January article on the corruption of the general officer corps.) If the generals still want to work on military issues and strategy, they can go work for one of the myriad of nonprofit organizations that look at military issues or oversight, as long as they strictly stay away from any lobbying efforts with the DoD or the Congress. They also cannot go work for a nonprofit organization that accepts contributions from defense contractors unless they give up their rank and pensions. They should also not be allowed to fill a civilian political office in the DoD because of the necessary authority of civilian rule and they are still considered military. These rules would not be subject to any type of executive or Congressional waivers.

Now we have 359 retired generals and admirals corrupting our political process by using their rank instead of just their name to endorse a political candidate. Romney uses a fig leaf to pretend that people will understand that these are retired military by saying at the bottom of the list of his “military advisory council”:

“Use of Military Branch and/or Rank does not imply endorsement by the service branch or the Dept. of Defense”

If that phrase was really true, why put their rank down at all? I am not the only one concerned with what this mixing of rank and politics might do. According to the Army Times:

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, has repeatedly urged retired officers to stay out of the political fray.

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4 Comments

  1. Comment by Duck:

    Give up their military retirement to participate in the political process by endorsing a candidate or go to work for private industry? Aren’t you just a liberal key board Gestapo commando tart, coat tailing on the military industrial complex democrat paranoia!

    You apparently forget, or have no idea, that military personnel are people, and even better, Americans (well, most of them are). Are you an American? Do you by chance also rail against the Patriot Act?

    You suggest we silence and restrict civilians who, by the way, were gagged and restricted by requirement for 20-30 years of their military lives to begin with.

    I don’t recall any statement nearly 30 years ago when I signed my military entrance documents, saying that if I chose to stay in 20 ~ 30 years and earn a retirement, that the constitutional, personal freedoms I gave up (knowingly) by joining the military, would be on my back for the rest of my life. I do know I can still be held to account under military justice by the mere fact I draw a pension, but that is so obscure and reserved for heinous crimes against America itself, not some whimsical act. How about you though, any such restrictions in your life?

    Would you further suggest any military flag officer or just any well known former military person, be restricted from running for political office? Seems that’s not a far leap. Any former presidents spring to mind? Google it, I know you know how to do that.

  2. Comment by Hamlin Tallent:

    So, It is interesting to me that you can print my name and opine that it is the money that causes me to support Romney. You have never met me or talked with me. You don’t know me. It is even more interesting that you believe retired military should take no public stance on the future of the country. Does that also mean Admiral Nathman and General Powell should not support Obama, or is supporting Democrats okay with you? You are something of an idiot aren’t you?

    • Comment by Forseti:

      It is not that we believe retired military personnel should not take a stance on the future of our country. A citizen of the US is free to take any stance they so chose. Retired and active duty military are subject to UCMJ, regarding politics:

      Article 2 of the UCMJ, retired members of the military drawing pay, as well as active-duty service members, are subject to UCMJ provisions.

      COURT-MARTIAL JURISDICTION OVER RETIREES UNDER ARTICLES 2(4) AND 2(6): TIME TO LIGHTEN UP
      AND TIGHTEN UP?

      This site supports everyone and anyone who has served our country honorably. However, anyone- especially retired senior officers who put career advancement and cold hard cash before the safety of our troops on the ground should be held accountable. As a taxpayer I am fed up with the fraud waste and abuse of funds that goes unabated at the Pentagon. I am also disgusted at the thought that I am supporting six digit retirement salaries for retired flag officers who have been in charge at defense contractors, while soldiers have died.

      Maybe you should use your soapbox and MAN UP to supporting the men and women currently serving in the military and keep them out of harms way from preventable dangers, while they are serving our country.

      And finally, this article was written by Dana Rasor and published by TruthOut. Ms Rasor founded the Project on Military Procurement (now called the Project on Government Oversight, or POGO) and I doubt she would appreciate being referred to as an idiot.

      • Comment by Hamlin Tallent:

        i do not see how you link the fact i supported Governor Romney to career advancement and cold hard cash. BTW i did MAN UP for 32 years and while doing so every thing i ate, drank, flew, sailed in, wore, shot, dropped, etc. was made by a defense contractor. The uniformed military actually “makes” nothing. It consumes. So your demonization of defense contractors without the benefit of citing any specific crime is a bit astonishing.

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