The SecDef Should Tender his Resignation

A lengthy article from Andrew Milburn over at Task & Purpose, but suffice to say……Austin is not the Secretary of Defense that we need right now, with China staring us down over Taiwan. Clean house and clean it quick.

As for what the country wants, it must surely include general officers who haven’t surrendered their moral autonomy to the political administration of the day: Generals who understand that it is their responsibility to set the right balance between the mission and the men because they also have an obligation to subordinates – the sons and daughters of the American public that General Milley so readily brings to his defense. Generals that have thought deeply about what their obligation to the nation really entails.

This is an obligation that defies neat categorization. It can’t be captured on a PowerPoint slide or be easily explained in a chummy press conference. Understanding it demands intellectual and moral rigor. I would guess that these are the qualities that America expects of its generals. 

Resignation won’t atone for lives lost, or the debacle that American involvement in Afghanistan became, but it would at least demonstrate that these men understand the ethics of their profession. It would help calibrate the moral compass of thousands of officers beneath them. It might even help all three find absolution if such a thing still matters to them.

Sadly, the men and women at the pinnacle of our institution are a product of a culture that doesn’t nurture initiative, disciplined disobedience, or a profound understanding of our professional ethics. “I’ve taken an oath to the Constitution” is only the beginning of that intellectual and ethical journey, not the destination. 

The hearings were a blow to those of us searching for redemption among our senior uniformed leaders. Instead, they illustrate the pernicious effect that having men such as these in positions of the highest responsibility can have upon America’s standing in the world. 

Resignation may solve little, but is simply the right thing to do. And, at the very least, it will clear the way for those better qualified to begin the task of restoring this nation’s credibility on the global stage.

Any defense wonks have a pick who would fill that role nicely?

14 thoughts on “The SecDef Should Tender his Resignation

  1. Just because someone gets appointed to God level, it doesn’t mean they know what they are doing. Which is why units keep promoting them and making them someone else problem. Surely you’ve seen that happen.

    Right until they reach the top and ‘k-up big time.

    Only have you thought why nobody with intelligence WANTS the top job?
    Because politics always appoint fall guys they can fire to make them look good!

    Cynical little me? you bet.


    • Yep. I’m probably close to as cynical. Every so often, a solid guy reaches the stratosphere; McMaster comes to mind.

      But they don’t last in that toxic environment.

      We take great umbrage when military leaders fail us [at that level]….but give politicians a pass…at least when they’re on “our” team. That’s probably directly related to the low percentage of Americans with military experience….it’s always easier to judge those where you haven’t had any skin in the game,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Should we make anything about the fact that the original withdrawal date was going to be before the election? Had Trump stuck to that date and had it gone well it would have been a campaign talking point that I think would have won the election. But he changed the date to a few months after the election and I haven’t found a good reason. The only thing I can think of is his advisors convinced him it was going to be ugly no matter what, and it would be better to have it happen after the election, as far from the next election as possible. I’m not saying I know anything. I’m asking

    Liked by 1 person

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