The men with the stars on their shoulders — and I say this with enormous respect for their patriotism and service — need to shut up and salute.
Robinson adds that he applies the same standard to military officers whose opinions he agrees with. Clearly, Robinson shares the suspicion of many, including myself, that opinions about civil-military relations constantly flip as a result of partisan realignments. When George Bush went against his generals’ advice and ordered the surge, weren’t Republicans celebrating civilian supremacy while Democrats insisted we must listen to the generals?
Before that, it was Bush who insisted on the importance of listening to the generals. And before that, it was Democrats who celebrated generals like Eric Shinseki, who earned his place in Obama’s cabinet by saying things that displeased the Bush administration.
What I don’t know is whether specific individuals, whether in government or media, have reversed their positions on civil-military relations in order to advance a partisan interest. Those Republicans who favor listening to the generals may simply be silent now, while those Democrats who favor civilian supremacy were equally silent when Bush ordered the surge. Strange as it may seem, a party can contradict itself without having any of its members compromise their personal reputations (although some of them presumably have.)