The Best Defense

The greed of the generals (II): two questions

I'm interested that in all the e-mails I've gotten, and responses posted on this blog about triple-dipping retired generals getting paid to "mentor" the active duty military while at the same time working in the defense industry, and also collecting their pensions, not a single person has contended that, yes, George Marshall would approve of this behavior. As a friend of mine says, this is a good gut-check: WWGMD?

Also, another friend points out that one of the dangers of this whole "mentoring" this is that if you are not careful, you wind up bringing in people who simply reinforce existing prejudices, instead of challenging them. For example, just how well mentored was Gen. Tommy R. Franks in his mishandling of Afghanistan in 2001-02 and then in his bungled invasion of Iraq in 2003? (And while we're on the subject of money, who remembers that Franks charged a group $100,000 to help them raise money for wounded vets -- and that it later turned out that the group only delivered 25 percent of its funds to its supposed beneficiaries?) WWGMD?

Department of Defense

The Best Defense

The Fort Hood shooter: How the Army dropped the ball

This exchange from a Senate hearing yesterday about how and why the Army dropped the ball on the Fort Hood shooter is worth reading:

Sen. Lieberman: . . . . General Keane, do you -- and obviously this is speculation but the military is most sensitive of any organization I know to any taint or allegation or impression of being discriminatory which is appropriate. Do you think that political correctness may have played some role in the fact that these dots were not connected?

Gen. Keane: Yes, absolutely and also I think a factor here is Hasan's position as an officer and also his position as a psychiatrist contributed to that because of the special category I think someone who's operating as a clinician every day treating patients is in in the military. It's an individual activity versus a group activity which provides considerably more supervision in squads, platoons, companies and the like inside our units.

So there's no doubt in my mind that that was operating here. But in fairness to many of the people who are associating with him, based on what preliminary research I have done and I think what the committee is doing, I think we're going to find very clearly that we do not have specific guidelines on dealing with Jihadist extremism in terms of the obligations of the members of the military to identify a reported and what actions to take and what constitutes Jihadist extremists itself.

So that you take some of this burden away from people by having those guidelines and when you have those guidelines in place you are clearly saying to the institution that this is important to us, we are not going to tolerate this kind of behavior and we want to identify with immediately to try to curb the behavior through counseling and rehabilitation and if necessary separate that individual from the service if it cannot be curbed.

Sen. McCain: I have talked to military officers who have stated that they at least up until now have had a significant reluctance to pursue what may be these indications because of this political correctness environment. Have you heard the same?

Gen. Keane: Well I know it exists, no doubt about it, and what I'm trying to say is is that the way to deal with that -- it shouldn't have to be an act of moral courage on behalf of a soldier to have to report behavior that we should not be tolerating inside our military organizations. It should be an obligation. The way to make that an obligation is provide very specific guidelines through the chain of command as to what their duties are in regards to this issue. That takes this issue -- begins to take this issue off the table because the institution is speaking clearly in terms of what its expectations are and what it will tolerate and what it will not tolerate.

Sen. McCain: And perhaps err on the side of caution instead of erring on the side of correctness.

I think General Keane is pointing to a good way to help soldiers, and help the Army, akin to what Stu Herrington was talking about the other day in this blog.   

RoE warning: Look, I know the three people quoted above are not Democratic Party favorites. Even so, I don't want to see a bunch of ad hominem attacks on Keane, McCain and Lieberman. If you want to do that, take it outside to another blog. This is a sensitive, difficult subject. It is easy to rant about this. But that is not what we need. I don't want name calling, I want to think about solutions here, as Keane does. ‘Nuff said?

Will Palmer/Flickr