Annoyed at having the thorn of Grant pricking his side, [President] Johnson came up with the idea of sending him off on a diplomatic mission to Mexico and bringing Sherman in to take his place. He thought he had devised a clever way to get rid of Grant. Grant refused to go.
When Johnson presented him with the order in front of the Cabinet, Grant declined. This, of course, infuriated Johnson. He turned to the attorney general. “Mr. Attorney General,” he said, “is there any reason why General Grant should not obey my orders?”
Before the AG could reply, Grant jumped to his feet. “I can answer the question, Mr. President, without referring it to the attorney general. I am an American citizen, and eligible to any office to which any American is eligible. I am an officer of the army and bound to obey your military orders. But this is a civil office, a pure diplomatic duty, and I cannot be compelled to undertake it. Any legal military order you give me I will obey, but this is civil, and not military, and I decline the duty. No power on earth can compel me to it.” – Page 175 (To Rescue the Republic: Ulysses S. Grant, the Fragile Union, and the Crisis of 1876)
I find Grant’s proper focus on duty and the associated tie to obeying “military orders” quite refreshing…and so very lost on the conspicuous political pawns of today and their total lack of focus on the true duties of their position. Sometimes a picture really is worth a million words:
(Yes, I know he is in a civilian position now but that, and his pedigree as a General Officer, really makes where I am going with this all that much worse. Stick with me…)
But, beyond such photo-op silliness, surely he is focused on his true duties with respect to serious defense of our nation and the readiness of the forces required to do it when called upon. Well, it seems that there are quire a number of accomplished, serious people within the field that don’t think so…160 of them, to be exact, willing to stand up and assert the proper focus on duty and the associated tie to obeying “military orders. Astute Instapundit readers will have seen the headline “FLAG OFFICERS FOR AMERICA COME OUT SWINGING: On May 16th, 160 retired Admirals and Generals wrote a letter urging Congress to defund the military’s insane Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program” with the following excerpt:
We respectfully request that Congress, pursuant to its constitutional powers “… to raise and support Armies …” and “… to provide and maintain a Navy …,” take legislative action to remove all diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs from the Department of Defense (DoD). Additionally, we ask that you ensure that no DEI related policies, programs, and funding are included in the 2024 NDAA.
As our Nation faces looming threats from “foreign” adversaries/enemies, our military is under assault from a culture war stemming from “domestic” ideologically inspired political policies and practices. If not stopped now, they will forever change the military’s warrior ethos essential to performing the mission of deterring aggression and failing that, to fight and win our Nation’s wars. Our military must be laser focused on one mission–readiness, undiminished by the culture war engulfing our country.
For generations, our military was a meritocracy, which, simply defined, means selection and advancement based solely on merit and ability. Service Members (SMs) were judged not by the color of their skin but by their character, duty performance, and potential. Meritocracy, coupled with equal opportunity, created conditions for all to advance and excel, which stimulates healthy competition, thereby raising standards. Historically, our military has been one of, if not the most, diverse and inclusive institution in America.
The domestic cultural threat has an innocuous name: “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI). But, in reality DEI is dividing, not uniting, our military and society. … Under the guide of DEI, some people are selected for career enhancing opportunities and advancement based on preferences given to identity groups based on race, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, etc.
I find it interesting that this letter is an appeal to Congress to act. These 160 serious, accomplished Flag Officers seem to openly acknowledge that the Commander in Chief and those currently unquestionably obeying his political orders are not serious people in the service of a serious defense of our nation.
I also find it interesting that a letter signed by 51 intellectually un-serious political hacks is instantaneously and urgently broadcast to all corners of the Union to help sway a presidential election but this letter is relegated to the silence of the anti-narrative. (To be honest, it may have gotten some play beyond the limited scope of my trusted information gathering outlets but it certainly did not get the coverage of the fake analysis letter scripted and planted by the Biden campaign and dutifully “reported” by the reliably incurious state media-types. Instapundit is the only place I’ve seen it referenced so far.) But this, of course, is nothing new and to be expected. I am reminded of a related story from eons ago…or was it just a quarter century ago? I recently recounted an old post I did elsewhere on the matter here (or, for those readers at Ricochet, see also here) that told this story:
Well, in fairness, we know the military can’t itch and moan about their civilian leaders. However, they can, and have done something. According to what I consider reliable sources, in 1997 24 — count ’em, twenty-four — generals retired early. I am still in the process of confirming names, dates and replacements (if any). On July 7, 1997, in what is being called a mass protest over the conditions in the military (primarily because of administration policy) 24 generals quit. They reportedly had fought a losing battle to correct, modify, or mitigate the politically correct, operational tempo, and repeated “hey you” deployments. They tried to address the problems with readiness (or lack of) and pay. They tried, and they failed to compel the administration to fix what is wrong. Then, in a final act of courage and commitment (two concepts alien to this administration), they ALL went to see Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen, and RESIGNED. Twenty-four general officers representing 600 years of combined military experience tendered their resignations. THAT is a big deal. … So why haven’t we heard about it?
The White House and Cohen reportedly told them, what they (the generals) were trying to do, would not be allowed. Those twenty-four generals were not going to be allowed the publicity that the mass resignations were intended to achieve. According to multiple sources, the generals, who had committed their lives to serving their country, were threatened with court martial. However, that wasn’t apparently a big enough stick for the illegitimate spawn of maximum spin control. The non-disclosure statements (of the generals) were changed in order to include a NEW requirement. The amended (ex post facto) non-disclosure statements compel the generals not to discuss their resignations. Failure to comply would result in punishment and loss of retirement benefits. If that sounds like blackmail … it is.
So how could the office of propaganda cover up the mass resignations of 24 generals? Allegedly, Cohen informed them they would not be replaced. Their positions would be streamlined and their previous duties would be spread out among remaining generals. The “spin” was a tongue in cheek: “Thanks for helping us consolidate general officer slots in the wake of reductions in force.”
So how DO you hide the resignations of 24 generals? Well, you don’t announce the resignations en masse; you spread them out over several months. Which is just what happened. Less than a half dozen of the vacated positions were refilled.
So “twenty-four general officers representing 600 years of combined military experience” reportedly resigned en masse to send a warning about the (incompetent or negligent?) politically correct handling of our military by an intellectually un-serous administration. The message was snuffed from within and then lost to history behind 9/11 and a protracted War on Terror. Today we are getting a similar message…and again: IT IS A BIG DEAL.
“So why haven’t we heard about it?”
It really isn’t a mystery anymore. Deeper into the abyss we go…2024 looms large.
One thought on “Top Brass – The Honorable and Deserving…and the Not So Much”
Apparently we are no longer a nation with an external national defense. Instead we are a weapons manufacturing nation with a cadre of individuals tasked with learning to operate and test these weapons and weapons systems in “training” exercises and being able to train the end-use customers in other countries or our police forces for their use.
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