Tony Blankley

Consider two hypothetical situations. In the first, a United States Army general officer in a theater of war decides by himself that he strongly disagrees with the orders of the secretary of defense. He resigns his commission, returns to private life and speaks out vigorously against both the policy and the secretary of defense.

In example two, the top 100 generals in the Army military chain of command secretly agree amongst themselves to retire and speak out -- each one day after the other.

In example one, above, unambiguously, the general has behaved lawfully. In example two, an arguable case could be made that something in the nature of a mutinous sedition has occurred in violation of Article 94 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice procedure. When does an expanded version of the simple honesty and legality of the first example cross over into grounds for a court martial?

More specifically, can a series of lawful resignations turn into a mutiny? And if they are agreed upon in advance, have the agreeing generals formed a felonious conspiracy to make a mutiny?

This may sound far-fetched, but in Sunday's Washington Post the very smart, very well-connected former Clinton Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke published an article entitled "Behind the Military Revolt." In this article he predicts that there will be increasing numbers of retired generals speaking out against Sec. Rumsfeld. Then, shockingly, he writes the following words: "If more angry generals emerge -- and they will -- if some of them are on active duty, as seems probable . . . then this storm will continue until finally it consumes not only Donald Rumsfeld."

Mr. Holbrook is at the least very well-informed -- if he is not himself part of this military cabal intended to "consume … Donald Rumsfeld." Mr. Holbrook sets the historic tone of his article in his first sentence when he says this event is "the most serious public confrontation between the military and administration since . . . Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur."

He takes that model one step further later in his article when he compares the current campaign against Rumsfeld with the MacArthur event and with Gen. George McClellan vs. Lincoln and Gen. John Singlaub against Carter, writing: "But such challenges are rare enough to be memorable, and none of these solo rebellions metastasized into a group, a movement that can fairly be described as a revolt."

A "revolt" of several American generals against the secretary of defense (and by implication against the president)? Admittedly, if each general first retires and then speaks out, there would appear to be no violation of law.


Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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