Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Truscott Would Know

Author Lucian K. Truscott IV writes to Mark Kleiman about the makeup of the military officer corps. Houston, we have a very, very dangerous problem:

A little known study of the political opinions of senior military leaders was done by Duke University a few years ago. The study -- of Colonels and above, up to and including 4 star Generals -- revealed that in this time of the volunteer military that some 66% described themselves as conservative Republicans, and something like 5% described themselves as Democrats. The rest described themselves as "independents."

Friends of mine at the Pentagon and in the military at the time the study was done said the real numbers are far worse. One friend, a West Pointer with a Phd. from Harvard who taught me economics at West Point in the late 60's and who recently retired from being an Asst. Secretary of the Army, told me the so called "independents" included savvy senior officers who were actually very conservative Republicans but who realized how it would look if the numbers were "bad" and so labeled themselves as "independents." My friend said the senior military is more likely 90% or more conservative Republican, with few if any independents.

As an aside, I personally know two West Point Captains who were run out of the Army by their senior commanders when it became known that they had voted for Clinton in 1996, so the political leanings of senior officers are not an abstract thing. The far-right leanings of senior military officers have real consequences. If you have any doubt of this, see also the reporting on what you might call the take over of the Air Force Academy --including its most senior leadership -- by fundamentalist Christians in recent months. See also what they did to the one (female) chaplain who dissented from the prevailing wisdom on religion at AFA. She was fired and reassigned and has resigned from the Air Force. One guess which political party the fundamentalist "leaders" of the Air Force Academy belong to.

Dangerous. These are the kind of men who would not blink at a coup, who would not blink at taking an oath to the president rather than the Constitution. Yet another reason for a draft, and for an overhaul of the military academies. This kind of danger to the republic cannot be tolerated in a free society.

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