Mackubin Owens: The War on Terror and the Revolt of the Generals – WSJ.com
By MACKUBIN OWENS
There are few things more important to a democratic republic than a healthy relationship between its government and its military establishment. During the 1990s, many defense experts claimed that all was not well with civil-military relations in America.
Nothing better illustrated the turbulent state of civil-military relations during this period than the hostility on the part of the uniformed military toward President Bill Clinton, whose antimilitary stance as a young man during the Vietnam War years did not endear him to soldiers.The tensions did not disappear with the election and re-election of George W. Bush.
If anything, civil-military relations became more strained as a result of clashes between the uniformed services and President Bush’s first secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, over efforts to transform the military from a Cold War force to one better able to respond to likely future contingencies, and over the planning and conduct of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
This tension was highlighted by the so-called revolt of the generals in the spring of 2006, which saw a number of retired Army and Marine Corps generals publicly and harshly criticize Secretary Rumsfeld.
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