Streetwise Professor

July 22, 2015

Glimpses of Military Discontent

Filed under: Military,Politics — The Professor @ 7:58 pm

I have long been certain that there is seething discontent within the Pentagon, directed squarely at Obama. The past several days have made this abundantly clear.

The most brutal takedown was by retiring Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno. This certified warrior squarely blames Obama’s Iraq bugout for the rise of Isis. Further, he pointed out Iran’s malign role in the Middle East. He agreed that Iran, and the truly evil Qasem Soleimani in particular (who was un-sanctioned as a result of the Iran deal), were responsible for the bulk of American deaths in Iraq in 2007-2009.

Further, two¬†generals¬†(including the nominee to be Odierno’s replacement) and the Secretary of the Air Force gave testimony before the Senate which squarely undercuts Obama policy. Each identified Russia as the US’s primary threat: one referred to it as an “existential” threat. As if to emphasize that this was off-message, spokesnimrod Josh Earnest said that no one on Obama’s national security staff believes this. This is no doubt true. So much the worse for them.

One of the generals (Milley, I believe) supported arming Ukraine. The testimony also indicated that deploying tactical air controllers to Iraq was advisable. Also not on the Obama agenda.

And note: these are the people that Obama has selected for the top positions in the military. Just think of what those who couldn’t make it through the political filter are saying and thinking.

I am not saying that there is a crisis in civil-military relations under Obama, but it is pretty clear that these relations are in the worst shape in modern memory. What Odierno and the others are saying is likely just a pale shadow of the extreme discontent in the military at their commander in chief.

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  1. My quick lookup is that an existential threat is a threat to one’s existence.

    One of the generals called Russia is a threat to the survival of the United States?

    That starts to make me question some of the other assertions this general may have made.

    While I don’t disagree with some of your conclusions, most real generals tend to be at the extreme side of international affairs and political decisions; it is appropriate that they are where they are and not in the White House making policy. Patton for starters. Sherman eschewed politics.MacArthur wanting to nuke China?

    Grant wasn’t as bad as thought, but he wasn’t a real great at President, either.

    Washington was great.

    Over my lifetime, Ike has really, really risen the ladder though. But the exception doesn’t prove the rule.

    Interesting point, many would say they were both outstanding at the “political policy” aspects of their military roles.

    Comment by JavelinaTex — July 23, 2015 @ 10:08 am

  2. See that is was appointee who call the rooskies and existential threat. Not one of the retiring generals. I can’t say that I blame the chief flack for backing that statement down.

    Comment by JavelinaTex — July 23, 2015 @ 12:17 pm

  3. If Odierno and other top military personnel are so distressed by Bozo’s policies, why don’t they resign rather than retire. Resign, don’t whine!

    Comment by eric — July 23, 2015 @ 2:49 pm

  4. @ eric

    They need the money, I guess, and they have a career to consider. Pharaoh has a two-term horizon so doesn’t have to think about this in the same way.

    If this were 1938ish then Russia right now is like Italy or Japan – quite nutty enough to start something mad, such as a war with the USA, but they’d have to wait until the target was fully engaged elsewhere and even this would only delay the USA’s ending that something mad.

    China now is Stalin’s Russia then – slowly rebuilding after decades of chaos and latently powerful but with no evident appetite for expansion by military conquest.

    These must be anxious times for people in the US military.

    Comment by Green as Grass — July 24, 2015 @ 7:40 am

  5. I see his statement as true but devoid of useful information. Any country that has a couple thousand operational nuclear weapons is by definition an existential threat. The story is that at least one oligarch keeps a nuclear weapon of some kind at his home. I personally do not believe this and think the Russian security organization tasked with nuclear weapon control would not allow it under any circumstances. This is similar to the joke that Jack Welch received a warhead from GE as part of his retirement package. There are some things that are off limits no matter what.

    I saw Obama made a statement in Kenya about being painfully aware when a group of people are treated differently. Does this suggest he will now support policy initiatives opposed to affirmative action?

    Comment by pahoben — July 27, 2015 @ 5:34 am

  6. The story is that at least one oligarch keeps a nuclear weapon of some kind at his home. I personally do not believe this and think the Russian security organization tasked with nuclear weapon control would not allow it under any circumstances.

    I agree, that is total bullshit. And nuclear weapons of the type designed and deployed by the Russians are not handheld devices, they are large bits of military kit which include transport, launching, and control systems which require proper storage and maintenance. Yer average oligarch would rather have the space for a billiard table.

    Comment by Tim Newman — July 27, 2015 @ 11:15 pm

  7. Not exactly the topic here, but this article is making some waves:

    I wonder if Professor may find this interesting enough to comment. The Russian Carnegie authors at the moment are very pissed and feel offended.

    Comment by LL — July 28, 2015 @ 5:14 am

  8. @LL-No, I hadn’t seen that. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I have always disliked and distrusted Trenin. A slippery, devious character. Other than Petrov et al, I didn’t think much of Carnegie. My impression of them is filed under useful idiots.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — July 29, 2015 @ 10:28 pm

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