"Suck it up and salute"

James Taranto is having some trouble with the White House's policy regarding the ideal level of military cooperation with civilian authority.  As you've all no doubt read already, the Bergdahl negotiations (as well as rescue initiatives) had stalled for a couple of years in the face of doubts and concerns over the circumstances of Bergdahl's leaving his unit five years ago, but the White House views last week's trade a triumph of the principle that the military should "suck it up and salute."  The controversy exposes huge rifts in middle America's views of the military.  Taranto quotes a progressive young writer at Salon:
The left's blinkered view of military culture is perhaps best summarized by Elias Isquith, a young writer for Salon.com, who yesterday explained the backlash against the Bergdahl deal as follows:  "When a member of the military fails to adhere to the far right's rigid formula of what a soldier should be (nationalistic, religious, obedient; conservative) right-wingers . . . come down on them [sic] like a ton of bricks." He cited one example in addition to Bergdahl:  John Kerry.
What a revealing comment.  This Salon writer appears to think that only a nationalistic, religious, obedient, and conservative serviceman would understand why it's wrong to desert in the face of the enemy, perhaps even to give aid and comfort to the enemy in wartime.

As Taranto notes, Bergdahl failed notably in his duty to suck it up and salute.  He also alludes to the failure of our current Secretary of State to do the same while he was in uniform.  The progressives have an idea of what makes for an ideal soldier, and it's not much like that of an ordinary American.

Taranto also contrasts the White House's limp ineffectuality in the face of bureaucratic intransigence and incompetence at the HHS or the VA with his ability to cut through red tape and achieve his goals in the Bergdahl trade.  It's all about whether he really cares.


Ymar Sakar said...

The tsunami is coming.

Grim said...

The military will, of course, salute and carry out bad orders. They've proven that often enough, and not just ours, but other militaries in the British tradition. Think of the 17th at Crimea, or the Aussies and Kiwis at Gallipoli.

That they will obey bad orders doesn't mean you shouldn't listen to their advice, especially if none of you have served, or focused much of your education on the military science. (Which is an Aristotelian science, by the way, not a modern one.)

In any event, I think it's good that we got Bergdahl back, and I think the military should be left free now to pursue its 15-6 to whatever its proper conclusion might be. The more these politicians talk, the more danger there is of an 'unlawful command influence' moment whereby they'd have to let him go no matter what they thought they could prove.

So we brought him home, as we should have done, and now we'll give him the law. That's the right thing to do.

We'll catch up with the five we let go in due time. Or maybe they'll think it through, and retire. They're free to choose.

Texan99 said...

I can live with the idea that it's better to try him here than to leave him a captive, if that's what he was. I just can't stomach the lying hypocrisy. These people should be ashamed even to mention the concept of shutting up and saluting, so often carried out by their betters for their benefit.

DL Sly said...

"We'll catch up with the five we let go in due time."

I've never seen you so callous towards the loss of life as this, Grim. What of the families of those who already gave their lives to bring these five in in the first place? And those whose loss cannot be measured in body parts or brain waves, what is to be said of their sacrifices?
"Well, we'll get 'em again."?
What additional cost will we pay to "get them again"?

I'm sorry, but this whole deal is wrong, wrong, wrong. The idea that now that we've obtained the deserter, we can bring him to the law is not how deserters are traditionally dealt with on the battlefield. Last time I checked, his unit still had "shoot to kill" orders wrt Bergdahl right up until the transfer took place. Which means he was classified a "Deserter". Not just no, but hell no should be the answer to any question as to whether or not this was a good thing.

Ymar Sakar said...

Not deserter. The shoot to kill orders would be because Berg was training the Taliban on how to fight Americans. That's why the Taliban left him functional for 5 years straight.

Defector, not just a deserter.

Several American outposts were said by rumour to have been attacked after Berg's defection and subsequent leaking of information.

Grim said...

I've never seen you so callous towards the loss of life as this, Grim.

You had me going for a second there, Sly. I thought you were going to chide me for being unconcerned that these five would meet their deaths at the hands of a Hellfire missile, when they could be tried and kept in a comfortable prison with modern conveniences.

I don't know that I'm callous to the loss of enemy life, but I'm certainly willing to kill the enemy. I'm less sanguine about keeping them at GitMo forever, at taxpayer expense, with constant barking about how they are being so horridly treated.

It'd be different if we could run them past a military tribunal and shoot them as violators of the Geneva Convention, as brigands, or as spies. But it looks like that option, never hotly pursued, is now gone beyond recall. We don't have any real authority to try them under US laws -- they were foreign nationals in a foreign country, some of whom were members of a foreign government.

So I'm not opposed to the idea of release, with the understanding that we will kill them later if they don't choose to settle down and stop causing problems.

Does that make me callous to the possible loss of American life that they might cause if they take back up the war? I suppose it means I'm willing to run the risk, rather than paying to house them in Club GitMo forever. I'd rather have a free and honest fight. Most of the Americans who are potentially at risk are men who have elected -- volunteered, as in the conversation above -- to spend their lives in pursuit of honor. They want to hunt the enemy as much as anyone does. I'd like them to be satisfied.

Texan99 said...

That's the trouble, isn't it? They're in limbo; we can't reach a national consensus on how to face up to the problem they pose. Or at least we can't reach a national consensus on electing people who can.

The NPH always proposes to release them into Harry Reid's backyard, or the White House lawn. But I fear they'd only be hired as staffers.

Ymar Sakar said...

Take no prisoners. Problem solved.

That would break COIN though, which is perhaps the Regime and Islamic Jihad's goal and benefit. The Leftist alliances have a lot of allies going on in this world. That look like enemies, but aren't.

Ymar Sakar said...

Sly, I might have implanted WP bombs inside the bodies of the released Taliban, along with a GPS signal.

Then when the roaches return to nest, time to light a fire and JDAM the coordinates.

But that requires some planning.

It's better not to leave these things to chance or luck.