Tuesday, September 11, 2007


In 1967 it was General Westmoreland appearing before Congress with a rosy assessment of the conditions in VietNam. Forty years later, another 4-star general, General Petraeus appears before Congress with a similar, albeit not quite as rosy, appraisal of the situation in Iraq. I am not going to comment on the MoveOn.org ad in the newspaper. I do not feel even remotely qualified to comment on the General's qualifications.

But when speaking of the actions of both Westmoreland and Petraeus, if we are disappointed in their conduct, especially before Congress, maybe, just maybe, we, as a nation, need to find a new way to train our Generals. Maybe we need new standards. Maybe we need in depth training in the U.S. Constitution.

I suspect we have gotten exactly what we should have expected. The military is trained to follow orders, not to question them. Certainly, all military personnel can ask for clarification, for an explantion of the parameters, the limits to which they may be expected to go. Patton wanted to go to Berlin. Ike said "No!" Patton did not go.

So, if we expect our military to be subservient to and obedient of its' civilian masters, has what General Petraeus done really a big surprise? Perhaps it is us, those that oppose Bush's military adventurism, who had unreasonable expectations of the General.

It's kind of like expecting to get milk out of a chicken. The best you can do is to get eggs out of a chicken.

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