Military Expertise: Maybe Not So Much

An American Thinker piece titled, “On  Giving Pro-Obama Military Veterans A Pass”, written by Dan Nagasaki and Glenn Doi (here), offers some important historical examples of why veteran status does not in any way indicate whether a person is qualified to be Secretary of Defense.  In today’s military it is a rarity to find even four-star generals with the historical vision, strategic aptitude and  most importantly,  the sterling character required to be exemplars worthy of leading  the United States Armed Forces.   In the present case of Chuck Hagel’s competence, clearly his combat experience , in and of itself, does nothing to recommend him to be Secretary of Defense.  Yet too many in the media and in our society, at large, pay blind homage to military service, in an almost reflexive way to atone for the disgraceful treatment of our military during the Vietnam era.

Perhaps we would be better able to make decisions if we started out with a list of job requirements,  just like we’d begin with any other job.  If we did a checklist of job requirements and checked them off as we assessed Chuck Hagel, it would become clear as day, just by his pathetic confirmation hearing, that he isn’t fit for a job that requires making decisions for a vastly complex organization like our Defense Department.  He didn’t even seem clear on strategic issues or where we stand on many of these issues and yet, President Obama thinks this man is the best choice for this difficult, challenging and vastly important position?   Aside from Hagel’s disturbing personal history of making remarks about Israel and Iran, he seemed so unprepared for his confirmation hearing, that one might wonder how he would handle all the highly detailed decision-making this job will require.  Yes, of course he will have plenty of flunkies and Obama policy wonks peeking over his shoulder to make sure he sticks to the administration track, but he will still need to represent the US in important talks and dealing with our military allies and adversaries.  He will get confirmed though and then at every turn, President Obama will remind us that Chuck Hagel is a Republican, to deflect us from the dismantling of the greatest military in the world.

Now to take this topic to a broader context, the media and the public give veterans and military service constant praise, but regarding military matters, they prefer to remain completely ignorant and blindly accepting of military experience, military  “expertise” and most dangerously, they accept everything someone with military ranks says as some sort of fount of military knowledge and wisdom.   It’s way past time to start questioning these military “experts” that the media foists on us and also to begin questioning the theories, strategies and policies these people spout.   To blindly follow based on some flashy medals on a chest, makes us dupes, no better than those following a tinpot dictator.  This common thread advice of mine definitely fits this situation: Think For Yourself!   A citizenry of blind followers and media “fans” could prove our undoing if we keep traveling this path, where the public, at large, won’t bother to read The Constitution and start taking an interest in learning some military history.  Sure, most people don’t want to become military historians or strategists, but truly most strategies should be easily understood by people of average intelligence.  If a strategy sounds highly complicated and convoluted, just apply common sense and realize that it just might be a bunch of malarkey.  Start trusting in your own good common sense and less in fancy titles, military ranks and highfalutin terminology.  Break any strategy down to its parts and you’ll be able to assess it without a doctorate degree.  We should demand that our leaders and all these “experts”, who foist so much loopy,  top-lofty-sounding tripe on us, be able to put their ideas in plain English and then we would quickly see that most of  it’s more hot air than strategic expertise.  Ask questions until you get answers that make sense and stop buying into other people’s bullshit (sorry I couldn’t think of a more genteel way to say that)!

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