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Friday, June 25, 2010

Military v. civilian authority in the United States

  Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, commenting on the McChrystal mess: “We do not have the right, nor should we ever assume the prerogative, to cast doubt upon the ability or mock the motives of our civilian leaders, elected or appointed. We are and must remain a neutral instrument of the state, accountable to and respectful of those leaders, no matter which party holds sway or which person holds a given office.”
  I find this very troubling that the top military official in the U.S. feels the need to remind his fellow officers of the proper role of the military in a democracy. This would be the kind of statement one would hear from a general in Latin America, just days before he leads the coup that topples the elected president.
  Perhaps this sounds crazy, but in a time when the U.S. is permanently at war, and many among our civilian leaders over and over show themselves to be incompetent and/or corrupt, and support for our military is very high while our civilian leaders lack such support, how possible might it be for a military coup to happen in the country? Sounds a bit like a science-fiction novel, no? 

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