My blog contains a large number of posts. A few are included in various other publications, or as attached stories and chronicles in my emails; many more are found on loose leaves, while some are written carelessly in margins and blank spaces of my notebooks. Of the last sort most are nonsense, now often unintelligible even when legible, or half-remembered fragments. Enjoy responsibly.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Military Creditability For Sale

Something happened this last week that was both sad and unfortunate. David Petraeus, the four star general and commander of the War in Iraq, testified before the Senate in the hope that he could persuade the public at large that the latest war strategies would soon yield acceptable results. Now the unfortunate part of this event is not that the that current plan still incorrectly assumes that the Iraqi people want the Democracy and will put apart their divide to allow it to flourish, it’s that when the plan ultimately fails the military will take yet another blow to its creditability.

Remember back to April of 2002, when then Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN Security Council about the specific locations and quantities of the Weapons of Mass Destruction? The vast majority of his creditability came not from his position, but from the fact that he was a solider. Though we did not know the specifics of his 30 year military career that spanned from a Second Lieutenant all the way to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we knew that it was heroic, noble, and done at great personal sacrifice for the country. In time we learned that the things that he were not true. Our belief in him, and in creditability of the military, slipped.

Fast forward to the present, as we are still digesting General Petraeus’ testimony and we see that General was put in the same fateful position as the previous Secretary of State: trade himself for the mission. Once a solider always a solider. And just as a solider will throw himself on a grenade to save his unit, the officer will throw himself on a report to save his superiors. This belief in always giving yourself to the call of your country should never be abused by anyone in a higher position. Our soldiers, whether it is a grunt in the field or a four star general, deserve to be treated with the honor and dignity that they deserve.

The United States turns a sad page in our history the day that we cannot look to our enlisted men and women and immediately see them with the assumed creditability that they deserve to have. So in time, when the Iraq War has finally ended and we have a chance to look back on those soldiers who represented the military to the public, we will mourn their loss of their creditability, trust, and honor.

No comments: