Fallen in line

U.S. General Eric Shinseki and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez are anomalies due to their outspoken views against the Iraq war. Shinseki said the war needed more troops than Rumsfeld recommended. Sanchez said the administration’s handling of the war was “incompetent” and “catastrophically flawed.”


Colonel Gregory Fontenot, however, said dissension in Iraq pre-war and current strategy is counterproductive and against what Americans want. Fontenot “questioned whether Americans really wanted a four-star general to stand up publicly and say no to the president in a nation where civilians control the armed forces.” He put large dissension to an ultimatum.

“We call that a coup d’etat. You kind of have to decide what you want. Do you like the Constitution, or are you so upset about the Iraq war that you’re willing to dismiss the Constitution in just this one instance and hopefully things will be OK? I don’t think so.”

Gravely, the consequence is Americans dying for an unjust and illegal cause. I thought democracy included healthy and voiced disagreement? I understand orders are orders, but generals, especially those on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should have the bravery to stand up when principles or intelligence clash and the moment arises to voice their disagreement.

Sadly, a coup doesn’t result, only ostracized individuals.

Major Hardaway: “Evidence shows that when you [disagree] in uniform, bad things can happen. So, it’s sort of a dichotomy of, should I do the right thing, even if I get punished?”

When officers were confronted with the question, “should the war have been fought?” group think continued its invasion on their thoughts as silence permeated many.


(The quoted information was lifted from the New York Times.)


One response to “Fallen in line

  1. Something to note – members of the armed services from privates all the way up to generals swear the same oath. It calls for the DEFENSE OF THE CONSTITUTION AGAINST ALL ENEMIES, FOREIGN OR DOMESTIC. There is never a mention of the Commander-in -chief, the President. If a soldier believes that orders are in violation of the constitution or the law they have a right to voice dissent or disobey.

    That is a bit different from saying dissent from the armed forces is or will lead to a coup. It is that same dissent that helped but and end to the killing in Vietnam and southeast Asia in the 70’s. I personally like the US constitution and the separation of military and civilian affairs it sets out, but Fontenot is dead wrong when he says the people have to chose between officers disobeying orders and the constitution. It seems like they have been obeying orders thus far and yet I can think of multiple times when the constitution has been disregarded by the current administration in order to make it easier to achieve their agenda.

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