25 April 2006

StrategyPage contradicts themselves

Information Warfare
The recent flap over six retired American generals publicly calling for the Secretary of Defense to resign, also brought out opinions, via the Internet, from lower ranking troops (active duty, reservists and retired.) The mass media ran with the six generals, but got shot down by the troops and their blogs, message board postings and emails. It wasn't just a matter of the 'troop media' being more powerful. No, what the troops had going for them was a more convincing reality. Unlike the six generals, many of the Internet troops were in Iraq, or had recently been there. Their opinions were not as eloquent as those of the generals, but they were also more convincing. Added to that was the complaint from many of the troops that, according to the American constitution, it's the civilians (in the person of the Secretary of Defense) that can dismiss soldiers from service, not the other way around. While the six generals were only expressing their opinions (which only active duty troops are restricted from doing, because of the different military legal system they operate under), it rubbed a lot of people (military and civilian) the wrong way because of the constitutional angle.

Lemme get this straight: The troops were more convincing - and presumably pro-Rummy - because they're closer to the action. But the generals were only able to speak out after retirement because "active duty troops are restricted from doing [so]". Could it be that the pro-Rummy opinions coming out of the troops with "a more convincing reality" were in fact the only ones allowed because active duty troops are restricted from speaking out about the civilian leadership?
And of those 6 generals, one was a division commander in the Gulf. One has been an ambassadorial envoy to the Middle East appointed by multiple presidents for his expertise in the region. Another was in charge of the national-level planning that included rotating troops in and out of the gulf. These guys clearly know what they're talking about, even if you don't agree with them.

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