Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Politics and the Chain of Command

Top of the evening all...

'Anonymous' has been commenting on my blog over the last few entries.  I would like to thank 'Anonymous' for three reasons.  The first is for reading and commenting.  The second is for making me go back and check what I have written over the last few years.  The third is for offering me a topic this evening.

I must assume that I know 'Anonymous' personally.  'Anonymous' has accused me of making political statements.  The accusation stands, and is probably accurate.  However, there is nothing overly political in this blog.  Therefore, 'Anonymous' must have heard me face to face.

I am a Naval officer.  As a group, the public demeanour of military personnel tends to be apolitical.  The reason is rather simple.  It is not that we do not hold strong opinions.  To the contrary, we realize that what happens in Washington DC very much affects our lives and the lives of those in our charge.  We hold very strong opinions.

Still, to hold a public opinion that is not completely in line with the chain of command, straight up to the President, threatens to erode confidence in that chain of command.  When lives are at stake, when the security of a nation is at stake, such erosion of confidence can be lethal.  Two years ago, the President had to fire one of the most competent generals ever to wear the uniform for precisely this reason.  Despite General McChrystal's unquestioned competence, relieving him of command was the right decision.  The President handled it magnificently.

As well, we officers tend not to voice public disagreement for the simple reason of self-preservation.  I thought long and hard before publishing my last blog entry.  I serve at the leisure of the President.  I do not wish to be fired.

I once worked with another chaplain with whom I did not see eye to eye on a great many things.  One of the things he said was that President Clinton "was not his President."  I have no time for such officers.  He may not like whoever the present Commander in Chief is.  He may not respect that person.  Nonetheless, the President most certainly is his President.  To think anything other than that denies the Constitution that we have all affirmed to support and defend.

Good night to all.


Note to 'Anonymous': feel free to disagree with me.  Please do not write that I am not being fully honest.  The readers of this blog have received only full honesty at every turn.

1 comment:

  1. I too am military, also a reservist actually.

    I think most military people I have met care more about this country than many "civilians". However, it is our job to remain apolitical because we protect and serve the whole country and not just a part of it. That is why we draw our military units from all the country now days rather than building them from local regions like in the past.

    From what I have read here, you do remain objective. You are allowed to have opinions that go against a sitting president I think. So long as you don't cross a boundary where you try to use your position to influence people to vote a certain way. I haven't seen any of that, just honest opinion on the state of some scary things coming out of the people that are supposed to be leading us.