Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Insubordinate, Seditious, Revolting

It is getting harder to defend Don Rumsfeld's term in office, so supporters must come up with arguments that don't touch on his fitness for the job. Tony Blankley, in two colums (1, 2) argues in favor of a witch hunt of generals who may be planning to retire and then criticize the war effort:
Because, if The Washington Post thinks -- as I do -- that we are seeing before our eyes a coordinated act of multiple insubordination by a group of generals, then such action should not go unsanctioned. The dangerous precedent must not be permitted to stand -- whether or not one agrees with their substantive criticism of their civilian superiors.

. . .

Politically unpleasant as it may be, they should promptly order a court of inquiry pursuant to Article 135 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice to determine if, as is widely suspected, or if not, the current military clamor for Secretary Rumsfeld to be fired involves any acts of insubordination.

This is ridiculous. Blankley clearly doesn't understand the concepts of "insubordination" and "sedition." The former being the refusal to submit to authority and the latter being an incite a rebellion against the government. He also misunderstands that people are speaking metaphorically when the speak of a "revolt" among generals.

High-ranking officers have three choices when they disapprove of the policy set by their political bosses.

1 They can refuse to obey orders and suffer the consequences.
2 They can ignore their feelings and follow orders.
3 They can resign their positions so they no longer have to obey. If they feel strongly enough, they can speak out about it.

The third is becoming more popular; with John Batiste who turned down a third star rather than contiue to take orders from Rummy.

There is no question that the Secdef has a right to have subordinates obey lawful orders. However, he must earn their respect.


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