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If They Felt That Way…

Again and again people ask “Why did these generals wait to complain if things were so bad?”

They have been complaining, but the complaints aren’t public. In the military complaints go up the chain of command, not to the media. So when complaints are made the public doesn’t know about them.

There are other ways of complaining if you know what to look for. When General Eric Ken Shinseki was pushed out for telling the truth to Congress about the troop levels needed for the Iraq mission, none of the active duty officers who were eligible to become Army Chief of Staff would take the job, and Rumsfeld was required to call up General Peter Schoomaker from retirement. There are a number of positions in the Pentagon that are filled by temporary replacements because they can’t get qualified people to accept the jobs.

Major General John Rigg complained and it cost him a star after being accused of mismanagement so minor it didn’t even make it into his personnel file.

If you would like to know what the government and military does to officers who complain while on duty, look at the case of the “father of the US Air Force”, Brigadier General William L. Mitchell. Gary Cooper starred in the movie about the general: The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell.

Mitchell was a real lunatic: in the 1920s he stated his belief that the Japanese would carry out an aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Obviously you couldn’t let maniacs like that remain in the military.

For the record, Rumsfeld said there were thousands and thousands of generals and admirals – there are under 900 active duty flag officers in the military, Reserve, and National Guard included. There might be two or three times as many retired flag officers, although generals and admirals tend to retire in their 60s, and military life is not generally conducive to old age.

2 comments

1 Joyful Alternative { 04.15.06 at 12:49 am }

Thanks for the depth information on unfilled jobs. That’s a very good indicator of the current military mind.

2 Bryan { 04.15.06 at 1:19 am }

My Dad was career military, and I gave the Air Force 8 years. I didn’t stay because of Dick Nixon.

While it is good news that they are complaining, it is troubling that they feel the need. It is a indicator that something is coming that they are worried about. There isn’t much that worries the commander of the 82nd Airborne, so it makes me nervous.