Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I agree with what he said, but I can't defend his right to say it

General Dannatt wants British troops out of Iraq immediately:

The point that I'm trying to make is the mere fact that we are still in some places exacerbates violence from those who want to destabilise Iraqi democracy.

I've always been amazed at two types of people: those who said it was inapproriate for retired generals to speak out against the war, and those who complained that no serving generals spoke out against it. No serving generals spoke out because such speech is insubordination and a breech of discipline. If you're in the service and you want to criticize any higherups in the chain of command, you have to get out of the service. It's called military discipline.

It feels strange to say this, but I agree with what the general said, but I have to oppose his right to say it. Billy Mitchell was right about Air Power, too, and today everybody knows it. We have an Air Force, an Air Force Academy, a Department of Defense and everything else he asked for. We even know that he was right about the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor. But he shouldn't have said it without resigning from the military first, and the court martial was right to convict and punish him.

If you've ever seen an insubordinate, undisciplined military you would understand what I am talking about. It's dangerous.

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