Talking Out of School

Marine Corps Commandant General John Amos, the highest ranking officer in the marines, came out (no pun intended) as opposed to the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy this past Sunday in a Q&A session with reporters in San Diego.  Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed disapproval at a meeting in Melbourne, Australia, noting that commanders were ordered to air their disagreements in private.

I’m going to boil down my argument to a sentence, just for the sake of expedience, as many of you have read enough on the subject, and, frankly, I’m sick of writing about it.  My feeling is that if you’re willing to die for your country, we ought to be adult enough to deal with your sexuality.  No big deal in my book, but, then again, I’m biased.

So Gen. Amos, who’s been on the job for all of two whopping weeks, doesn’t like the idea of repeal.  Never mind that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Defense and the President all do.  And this is indicative of another troubling trend that we’ve seen in the recent past.  Since the inauguration, we’ve seen a tendency, be it Stanley McChrystal, David Petraeus, Mike Mullen and a handful of other military brass to speak out against decisions that have already been taken.  It usually has to do with the conduct of the war in Afghanistan, but this is the first time that a military commander has inserted him into a domestic debate on policy.

If I were the President, I’d fire the guy.  This is a clear act of insubordination.  If he has his doubts, he has a right and an obligation to bring that up, but to do so through the chain of command.  But what Amos is doing is going outside of the chain of command to box the Department of Defense into making the decision that he wants.  It’s going to be difficult for Obama to fire this guy (read: GOP will pitch an absolute fit over it), so I doubt that it’ll happen, but Obama would be nuts to let this troubling trend continue.  I say fire Amos.


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