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Some Number of Days in March and April

It's a pretty impressive measure of how incompetent the Bush Administration is when I find myself entertaining notions of a military coup in the United States of America.

Not that I think such a thing is possible, of course. At least not now. Our military is filled with professionals who take their oath to the Constitution seriously. But it's funny how times change and don't change.

In the movie "Seven Days in May", the definitive cinematic text on this subject, the Joint Chiefs were upset with the nuclear disarmament treaty the President was intending to sign, but the real issue, like now, was incompetence. The generals in the movie felt the civilian leadership was not competent to deal with the threat the nation then faced, and so they thought they'd just, you know, take over the reins.

So it's kind of scary when we hear the retired generals these days saying the same thing albeit under intriguingly different circumstances. But really, it boils down to this, in the opinion of (in this case, the retired) generals, the civilian leadership has bungled things.

What are we up to now, five retired generals calling for Rumsfeld's resignation? All retired, I emphasize. This is good. When the serving generals start in on the civilian leadership, incompetent though it may be, we're going to be in trouble. How close are we to that? Not very, in my view, but maybe not as far away as one might hope.

Even as some of their retired colleagues spoke out publicly about Rumsfeld, other senior officers, retired and active alike, had to be promised anonymity before they would discuss their own views of why the criticism of him was mounting. Some were concerned about what would happen to them if they spoke openly, others about damage to the military that might result from amplifying the debate, and some about talking outside of channels, which in military circles is often viewed as inappropriate.

"Inappropriate." Yes. Very inappropriate. For serving officers. Let's just keep that in mind, shall we?

But for retired officers, I say damn the torpedoes. Give us the benefit of your authoritative opinions on the subject of Rumsfeld. Please, please contribute your expertise to the political debate. Serving officers: fight the incompetence from the inside like the tough sons-of-bitches we rely on you to be.

Jesus. Nice one, Bush. You've made it possible for the prospect of a military coup to seem not only remotely possible, but also vaguely attractive. I can hardly wait for the devastating weight of history's judgment to come down on this man.

Worst. President. Ever.


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One wonders what Fletcher Knebelmight say about these events. Unfortunately he's dead. I imagine Charles Bailey is as well.

Did you ever read the book? I don't think I ever have but my memory of it may be lost in the mists of time, or at least mixed up with the movie. I'd kind of like to hunt it up now.

Up to seven generals now. Wonder how many more are unhappy.

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