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Truthout: Binders Full of Generals

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(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

Dina Rasor - ( Truthout | Solutions) – October 25, 2012 - Longtime military watchdog and Truthout editor Dina Rasor paints a well-informed picture of what might be motivating the 359 retired senior military officers endorsing the GOP presidential candidate, and asks: if we continue to allow them and their peers to throw their rank around in the political arena, what message does that send to more junior members of the military, not to mention the public?

On October 17, Mitt Romney’s campaign announced that he had received the endorsement of 359 retired generals and admirals in the form of a “military advisory council,” thus furthering the corruption of former military members through politics and defense money. There may be many personal reasons that these retired military would want to endorse Mr. Romney – based on my past 30 years’ experience investigating the military, I can think of a few reasons.

Money, Money, Money

Mr. Romney has promised to shoot the defense budget into the stratosphere at levels that have been unseen since the height of the Korean War. As in a past column, I have inserted here a chart that I think is one of the most significant of the presidential campaign, and it should be passed around to as many people possible before the election.

102512-chart

Source: Foreign Policy

According to most sources, Romney wants to raise the defense budget to $2 trillion above what the military has asked for and what Obama plans to spend in the next decade. The Romney campaign, in a defense spending Etch a Sketch moment, has partially walked back this figure slightly, saying that it might not make it that much until a second term, which would still put it at a mind-boggling $1.75 trillion.
In the presidential debate on October 22, President Obama tried to pin down what Romney wanted to spend money on – and then ridiculed him when Romney mentioned weapons that were suited for the cold war era rather than to the newest threats to our national security.

Did these 359 generals and admirals throw in their lot with Romney because they thought that this money could be spent wisely and was absolutely necessary to defend our country? I cannot read the minds of these top officers but, based on years of revolving door practices and other types of abuses, maybe many of these officers were motivated by the fact that they had lucrative post-retirement jobs with defense contractors who promise to become even more flush with money if a budget of this size passes. The lure of money for the revolving door might have clouded their judgment.

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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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