Posted by Adam @ 4:15 pm on April 27th 2007

Yingling attacks the Generals

One assumes that Paul Yingling is not too attached to his career; in this article in the Armed Forces Journal (which I first saw linked by Sully), he lays into the leadership of the US military despite being on active service.

Like Sully, I can’t comment on the technical details; I imagine that Yingling will be portrayed as bitter and out-of-step and maybe that’s true. This Townhall article points out that ublic criticism of this sort is unusual from active duty personnel and it’s certainly a very scathing attack. I imagine that some retired personnel will come out either way, in response to this, and most of the active-duty personnel will criticise Yingling or say nothing. Something that I found interesting is this:

Finally, Congress must enhance accountability by exercising its little-used authority to confirm the retired rank of general officers. By law, Congress must confirm an officer who retires at three- or four-star rank. In the past this requirement has been pro forma in all but a few cases. A general who presides over a massive human rights scandal or a substantial deterioration in security ought to be retired at a lower rank than one who serves with distinction. A general who fails to provide Congress with an accurate and candid assessment of strategic probabilities ought to suffer the same penalty. As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war. By exercising its powers to confirm the retired ranks of general officers, Congress can restore accountability among senior military leaders.

I confess, I don’t know what consequences generals do face other than getting a bad name. Crappy postings, I guess, or forced retirement? I can’t see that Congress is going to want to get into an official name-dragging-through-mud process on senior generals, though, unless they really screwed up. It’s a lot safer to attack the political leadership (who do have overall responsibility) than be attacking military officers over matters that are likely to be relatively vague and eminently arguable. It is interesting to see Yingling not going for the political leadership but, rather, for the military leadership.

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