Year End Thanks to our Distinguished Military Generals!
Whether the NYTimes or the Washington Post denigrates our Twitter Presidency heralded by the rambunctious Donald Trump, is a matter for those antiquated content purveyors to decry. Today, these once-impressive newspapers are now relegated to films like “The Post” [starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep]. Eventually, another hastily made film from Netflix’s competitor, Amazon Studios, will relegate the past NY Times accomplishments to a few hours of enlightening video entertainment.
Americans: understand that the end of journalism as a profession has manifested itself within the spite and dyspepsia of a dying animal. The same goes for our formerly esteemed institutions like the Post and the Times. I believe that POTUS Donald Trump has demonstrated once and for all that our republic does not require the antiquated concept of a Presidency. Donald’s seemingly arbitrary decisions accompanied by a symphony of tweets is evidence that the office of presidency is a symbolic figurehead to the transparent functioning of the republic. I have written this premise over and over again in a number of my paperback novels for the past thirty years.
Allow me to hark back to the Farewell Speech of our esteemed Founding Father, General/President George Washington:
“Watch for consolidation of power in any department of government including the White House.
Be vigilant, people will seek to use the government for selfish ends.
Be suspicious of administrators; they may serve themselves rather than the people.
In trade, give no nation a favored nation status.” [Wikipedia].
Here is what I have to say with respect to this particular ominous warning :
“Avoid overgrown military establishments; they are hostile to liberty.”
I am against a bloated military bureaucracy as well as the incessant addiction that America has for unnecessary wars. At present, we have a handful of top military generals who are keeping the republic together amidst the helter-skelter of a novitiate POTUS and his untutored, brazen civilian appointments.
Every general in this administration has had extensive combat experience. They personally know the travails and angst of fighting unnecessary wars starting with Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Africa. Now, it’s strictly up to them to decide when to cease and desist those protracted incursions.
These generals has been tutored in civilian control and the requirements of the constitution to remain within the purview of civilian control. However, many concerned citizens have expressed that the presence of several distinguished generals surrounding POTUS signify a de facto military coup. One could argue that this might be the case!
Yet, I would prefer to quote from the recent statements made about the retired four-star Marine General, John Kelly, Chief of Staff:
“Rather than seek to control Mr. Trump, Mr. Kelly has tried to control the information that gets to him and make sure it’s vetted. The structure Kelly has established resembles that of previous presidents. That does not mean Mr. Trump adheres to it.” [ Peter Baker, NY Times, 12/31/17].
Retired four-star-Marine General, James Mattis, Sec.Def. DOD, reiterated this crucial point of civilian control in his January confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee:
“I recognize my potential civilian role differs in essence and in substance from my former role in uniform.”
Then he added, “Civilian control of the military is a fundamental tenet of the American military tradition.” [Politico, Bryan Bender, 1/12/2017].
When I think of these distinguished generals, I remind myself of two other outstanding military generals who won two World Wars [Europe/Japan] in the spate of only four years. I am thinking of Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and former Sec. State, General George Marshall and his protege, President and Five Star General, Dwight David Eisenhower.
I want to quote General Marshall who in this particular statement typifies why I prefer tutored high-ranking military officers to ersatz civilian politicians:
“When a thing is done, it’s done. Don’t look back! Look forward to your next objective. Don’t fight the problem, decide it.” [Wikipedia].
Both as a physician and senior military officer, I learned that above all else ‘do no harm’. If we failed, we would have to resign or be punished accordingly. No civilian POTUS or politician has ever worked under that credo of pragmatic, efficient strategic decision-making and tactical-implementation. Words and ideas will no longer send me/others to places that I, or my American compatriots, might want to go. Only the deeds of professionals who will be held accountable for their actions through the fog of war will remain within the text of historical accomplishments—no matter how ‘twitter-like’ they may appear, or sound.
From the words of one of our most famous Army Generals, George Patton:
“A piece of spaghetti or a military unit can only be led from the front end [and top].”
From the speech of a longtime friend, Liberal Democratic Leader, Congressman Henry Waxman [D-Cal]:
“The sanctity of our battlefields, monuments [of all types] and veterans institutions is of utmost importance to preserve the military history and pay respect to those who fought.”