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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The general doubt

It's an old joke from the era of the draft, but it has particular relevance in this time of generals in the president's cabinet.

The recently drafted slick-sleeve walks by his  post commander, a general,  and does not salute.  The general calls him to a halt and stands him at attention for a dressing down.       
"Do you know who I am, soldier?" the general bellows.        
"Nope," the draftee replies.      
 "Do you see all these buildings, these weapons, and all the troops on this   post?           
"Well, none of them do anything unless I say that they do it. And they do  everything I tell them to.  I control everything on this post. That's my job."        
"You've got a good deal, man," said the recruit.  "Don't fuck it up."
Some generals have shown major talents for fucking up.  Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn who was trusted to be made director of the Defense Intelligence Agency  under President Obama and then Security Adviser to Trump turned out to be an intelligence double-dealer.  It is widely anticipated that the Special Counsel will prosecute him for his betrayals.

But then comes along John Kelly, a Lt. General of the Marines, who Trump appointed to director of Homeland Security and after six months to his Chief of Staff.  A Gold Star father, whose son was killed when he stepped on a land mine, Kelly was expected to bring some order and discipline to the White House.  However, when Trump got into a tiff with a U.S. Representive over how he handled a phone call to the wife of a special operations soldier killed on a mission, Kelly said some derogatory things about the representative.  He said she made a speech in Miami during the dedication of a new FBI facility in which she claimed credit for the building.  A Florida TV station had a video tape of her speech which shows that she said none of the things of which Kelly accused her.  

After the news media played the video on news shows,  Kelly refused to admit his error.  He said he would not apologize and would stand by his words.  That changed him from a chief of staff and ex=general who might have been mistaken into a liar.  And the lie was maintained against proof and with malice,  which makes Kelly a libeler.  Libel is the major tool in the GOP bag of trips.  But when generals who make the decisions about the lives of the troops and the welfare of the nation are proven to be betrayers, liars, and libelers,  we have serious reason to question if they capable of protecting the nation,  as they have become the kind of people we wish to protect the nation against.  

The one thing Flynn and Kelly have taught is that there is no honor in being a general.  

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States