Truth, Civilian Control, and Rebellious Generals
I'm torn. On the one hand, I'm a huge proponent of free speech and people speaking their minds, especially people like these generals who have valuable insight into how the War in Iraq is being run. And, I must confess, I'd dearly like to see Rumsfeld go down. His handling of the war (and his helping get us into the war in the first place) is nothing short of a disaster.
But I'm a tad uncomfortable about these military officers voicing the critiques, especially since they say they are speaking for people still in the military. I do believe there's some danger to civilian control of the military when current military officers openly attack the civilian leadership. We're a far cry from a coup, but I'd prefer not to even go down that path. (In much the same way, I want to protect speech I find little of little value and possibly outside the purpose of the First Amendment - say, pornography, which I think contributes nothing good to society - because I don't want to go down the path which may lead to squelching of political dissent.) (And, in those last 2 sentences, you see a fundamental clash in my political values.)
I'm influenced in these ambivalent views by Richard Kohn, one of the experts cited in the article. Mr Kohn spoke to my National Security law class. His views are pretty well laid out in the Times article, but if you want to understand better where he's coming from (and where I'm coming from) read this somewhat lengthy article, which I had to read for class. Or, you might want to read this, much shorter article, also by Kohn.