Today’s senior U.S. generals endanger the republic’s survival

Readers of this space will recall my criticisms of senior U.S. general officers who:

  • Are silent when getting their Marines and soldiers killed in wars they know the president has no intention of winning.
  • Are endlessly repeating the absolutely false statement “there is no military solution” to this, that, and every conflict, so as to disguise the president’s refusal to win.
  • Are rewarded for their spaniel-like obedience to the president, and relentless failure in war, with promotion to high office, such as General Petraeus’s appointment as CIA Director after losing the Iraq and Afghan wars.
  • Are allowed to lie and are never challenged by the media when they guarantee Americans that the U.S. military’s training of foreign armies will make them into crack fighting forces able to defend their own countries.
  • Are so afraid of losing their perks, fancy uniforms — adorned now with medals/ribbons in the North Korea’s Army’s comic-opera style — and lucrative post-career corporate directorships, that not one of them, in my memory, has resigned and told the electorate what he or she knows to be true; namely, that U.S. war-making since at least the end of the Cold War has been an expensive, bloody, and endless fraud, consistent only in always yielding defeat, wasting the lives of America’s soldier-children, never eliminating America’s enemies, and further compromising U.S. security.

Many people are angered by those who voice the clear reality that most senior U.S. general officers are merely uniformed, bureaucratic yes-men; I would have been in that group twenty years ago. Nonetheless, the evidence supporting that reality seems irrefutable.

The past few months. in fact, have seen two more remarkable examples of the willingness of senior U.S. generals to lie to the American people about the main reason their generals fail to win wars against Islamists. That reason is that the generals are either too politically correct or — worse — they actually believe the nonsense that holds Westerners are far better people than Islamists and so — even when Islamists are kicking the West’s collective behind — cannot stoop to their level and kill enough of the enemy, its civilian supporters and abettors, and destroy enough of their infrastructure to secure victory. This line of logic, played out to a conclusion, amounts to:

“We Americans and Westerners are such good people that we must allow the Islamists to kill whoever they want, invade whatever they want, bankrupt our nations, and destroy constitutional government and civil liberties in the West. And for U.S. generals, ensuring the republic’s suicide in the name of humaneness is an obligatory duty.”

The first of the two above mentioned examples comes — God help us — from a man who belongs to one of the few remaining national institution’s that knows it exists to annihilate America’s enemies and, until recent decades, reliably did so; that is, the U.S. Marine Corps. Now, though, we have a decidedly anti-victory Marine named General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC, who is serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

In recent congressional testimony, General Dunford acknowledged that much of the Islamic State’s (IS) economic strength, and so its military and political endurance, is derived from selling oil on the black market, and that in most cases the oil is trucked to the purchaser. This statement was not breaking news, but the words that followed it were. While Americans assumed their generals were busy destroying IS’s major income maker, General Dunford said they were not. Why?

“We assessed a majority of the truck drivers were just people trying to make a living in the region. It’s a little bit different than enemy combatant from our perspective. I don’t think in this fight we should apologize for bringing our values to the fight. I don’t think we should be killing innocent people, which would merely feed the narrative of [the Islamic State.]” (1)

Now, that must be the most idiotic statement a general — or any Marine or soldier — could make. What could be the commonsense basis for such a statement? Dunford’s words about “feeding the [IS] narrative” is simply double-talk for “we do not want to kill too many of the enemy and his supporters because we will be criticized by the media, human rights groups, Arab tyrants, the UN, and Europeans and then have to apologize.” Clearly, though, Dunford is not ashamed to bring the contemporary American elite’s valueless values to the fight, values which include joyously wallowing in defeat and failure, insisting that abstract ideals endlessly repeated can prevail over religious fervor, bravery, and bullets, and that, well, killing the enemy until he is eradicated or gives up is just too old fashioned and unsophisticated for effeminate, modern, and goody-goody Westerners.

So, General Dunford, those poor little fellows who drive IS oil tankers are just doing so to make a buck for their families, are they? Well guess what, Sir, so were Hitler’s railroad engineers, machinists, steel workers, coal miners, chemists, welders, carpenters, assembly-line mechanics, civilian doctors, tool-and-die makers, and many other civilians who worked in innumerable additional professions. Without them there would have been no Wehrmacht, no Nazi regime, no food distribution, no concentration camps, no ammunition, aircraft, submarines or tanks, and no six years of war. Ditto for those of the Japanese emperor’s boys who worked in the same professions and were indispensable to building Hirohito’s “Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere,” a project that brought in its wake the Bataan Death March, the Rape of Nanking, and a four-year Pacific War which — you may recall, General Dunford — cost the lives of 19,733 Marines and wounded or maimed 67,207 more. (2)

Now, there was no shortage of moronic, Obama-like abstract idealism and foreign-policy goals bleated out between 1939 and 1945 by Roosevelt, Churchill, and many others — the Four Freedoms, the UN Charter, everything Eleanor Roosevelt said, etc. But the war was won by speedily applying massive amounts of indiscriminate military violence with the clear intention of producing however many enemy dead were necessary to end the war. It was too bad for those guys who drove Hitler’s trains, produced his electricity, built his airfields, and dug his coal just to “make a living,” but Allied military forces killed them in droves because their deaths sapped German power, material endurance, and so shortened the war. The Japanese civilians just trying to “make a living” by laboring to support their Emperor’s barbarity were treated no differently; they died in huge numbers.

By not doing what your predecessors did, General Dunford — and by being arrogantly proud of not doing it — you and your senior general-officer colleagues have turned what should have been a two-or-three year war into a 20-year conflict which has strengthened the enemy and has no end in sight, In doing so, Sir, you have wasted the lives and limbs of thousands of the Marines and soldiers under your command. Well done, Sir.

The other of the two examples noted above came from U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Sean MacFarland, the commander of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. This genius told reporters that the United States was “bound by the laws of armed conflict,” when asked why carpet bombing would not be effective against IS. MacFarland then added the required, politically correct mantra: “We’re the United States of America. We have a set of guiding principles. Indiscriminate bombing, where we don’t care if we’re killing innocents or combatants, is just inconsistent with our values. Right now we have the moral high ground, and I think that’s where we need to stay.” (4) No reporter, of course, had the wit to ask MacFarland if his words meant that Russia and China could be confident the United States would not respond in kind to a nuclear attack by either on America. If I recall correctly, nuclear arms surely will cause a quite considerable level of indiscriminate killing.

Again, MacFarland, like Dunford, is saying that we Americans and Westerners are so much better people than you Islamists — and implicitly far better people than Roosevelt, Churchill, George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Chester Nimitz, and the above-noted dead and wounded Marines — that we cannot fight you as we fought our other enemies until 1945.

We would rather commit national suicide, the two generals are saying, by slavishly and foolishly obeying the “laws of armed conflict” and our “guiding principles” and so fight an endless, unnecessary, and irrelevant-to-America religious war that eventually will cost Americans all they have built over the centuries in North America rather annihilate those who would kill us. (NB: The “guiding principles” the generals refer to are: (a) relentless, war-causing interventionism (see, the Islamic world); (b) unnecessary, always lost wars (see Iraq, Libya, and now Syria); (c) arrogant crusading for imposing democracy/feminism on foreigners (see Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, etc.); and (d) reinstalling and/or protecting tyranny in the Muslim world (see Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran. Algeria, etc. )

As far as MacFarland’s lunatic remark about holding the “moral high ground,” a very good friend of mine, and a former Special Forces’ medic, once said the only high ground worth holding was the high ground that afforded you the best field of fire for killing the enemy. He was and is right.

What all this adds up to is that America today is plagued by a thoroughly incompetent and republic-killing assortment of politicians and generals who love to beat the war drum and then lose the usually unnecessary war they drum up. Because it seems we are unlikely, in the near term, to find a new, more common-sense batch of either, I would urge Americans to find a man who promises to follow the guidance of the greatest of their countrymen — George Washington — by recreating and then adhering to an America-First foreign policy of neutrality and non-intervention, while simultaneously rebuilding the U.S. military and appointing general officers who will utterly and speedily destroy any enemy that dares attack us or threatens our vital national interests. As General Washington knew and said, neutrality, non-intervention, dominant military strength, and the cultivation of an international belief that the latter would be used mercilessly if needed for national survival are the best possible guards against having to wage any war but one for national survival.

As I was drafting this piece, the news came out that Senator Rand Paul had withdrawn from the field of Republican presidential candidates. Unsurprisingly, the always-wrong Washington Post entitled its story about Senator Paul’s withdrawal, “The rise of the Islamic State doomed Rand Paul’s presidential chances”.(4)

Let me say that I greatly respect and am a partisan of Senator Paul, but I believe that what doomed his candidacy was not the rise of the Islamic State. Rather, Senator Paul’s chances were crippled when he decided to downplay an irrefutable lesson he learned at his sainted Dad’s knee, as well as from his own strong commonsense; namely, he did not publicly hammer home, with brutal clarity, the fact that the bipartisan, war-causing, democracy/feminism-mongering, and tyranny-supporting interventionism of both U.S. political parties has been and is the central motivating force behind the rise and durability of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, as well as the Muslim world’s growing antipathy toward the United States.

Senator Paul’s reluctance to deliver this admittedly hard-to-hear message seemed — to me at least — to limit his campaign’s dynamism and appeal, which is, I think, both a tragedy for America and an almost sure guarantee that more U.S. Marines and soldiers soon will plowed under and maimed by more unnecessary military interventionism abroad.


Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.