GO/FOs are General Officers/Flag Officers. Pretty much the same thing, just service specific.
Retired GO/FOs seem to be worming their way into the public eye, of late, with their political views. The below observations are from an article by VDH, and I think nicely sum up our now perky GO/FOs deciding to ‘splain to us way the current administration is “bad.” My immediate takes on the comments below are in bold and italic.
Retired four-star general Barry McCaffrey for the past three years has leveled a number of ad hominem charges against the elected president. He essentially called the president a threat to American national security on grounds that his loyalties were more to Vladimir Putin than to his own country. McCaffrey later called the president “stupid” and “cruel” for recalibrating the presence of trip-wire troops in-between Kurdish and Turkish forces. He recently equated Trump’s cancellation of the White House subscriptions of the New York Times and the Washington Post to the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.
If you make ad hominem attacks, it means you have no real argument (a lesson gleaned from assimilating lessons learned from a former Commander of mine. A cat named Barry McCaffrey). Now that Turkey acquiesced to humanely conducting its affairs in Kurdish areas of Syria, POTUS’ course of action looks neither stupid nor cruel. And calling the cancellation of NYT and WaPo subscriptions the equivalent of Mussolini? Okay, Nancy, why don’t you grab some camomile tea and sit down on the (fainting) couch for a bit, until you regain your composure.
Retired General Stanley McChrystal—removed from command by the Obama Administration for inter alia allegedly referring to the vice president as “Bite Me”—called the president “immoral and dishonest.”
Okay. But how much can we credit the political acumen of a GO who got himself relieved because he gave full access to a Rolling Stone reporter, and didn’t know it was a hit job from the get-go? Too, reading that article (and adding to that everything military professionals whom I trust have told me on the subject), it looks like McChrystal was busier legend-building than solving the Gordian knot of Afghanistan.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden—a four-star Air Force general formerly smeared by the Left for defending supposed “torture” at Guantanamo—compared Trump’s policies to Nazism, when he tweeted a picture of Birkenau to illustrate the administration’s use of detention facilities at the border—a plan inaugurated by the Obama Administration—to deal with tens of thousands of illegal entrants.
Right. Trying to rehabilitate your reputation with the left, or the establishment, or the Ruling Class? Sir, your comparison is even more ridiculous than McCaffrey’s. Let me see if I’ve got this right: a policy conceived and implemented during a previous administration sets off no internal alarums. But when a new administration comes in and maintains that same policy, you start tweeting pictures of Birkenau. Well, that’s certainly some for-real moral consistency, there.
Oh, and since we’re all hot and bothered about POTUS lathering up, putting clothes pins on his nipples, and goosestepping around the Oval Office, may I ask, sir, what your remuneration is from Caliburn International, which is a defense contractor that runs the only remaining for-profit child detention center for migrants? Wow. If our current policy is Nazism, are you the guy that makes the trains run on time?
Retired Admiral William McRaven has all but declared Trump a subversive traitor. Apparently, in reference to fellow military also working in resistance to the president, McRaven remarked, “The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within.”
Yeah, because BHO was such an incredible champion for the military. Man, that President Trump just slashed the defense budget compared to the heyday of the Obama years. And he shows no deference to the sacrifice and efforts of the military. For the love of God, he doesn’t even like military working dogs! Oh. Wait…
Says McRaven, “[I]t is time for a new person in the Oval Office—Republican, Democrat or independent—the sooner, the better. The fate of our Republic depends upon it.”
Of all the remarks of retired GO/FOs I’ve seen–whether in the linked article or anywhere else, this is the most disgusting, and the saddest, and the one that is most pernicious. You may like President Trump; you may hate him. Fine. But after the proctological exam of the Mueller Report, there is no doubt that the current Commander in Chief was duly, legitimately elected.
If the average, every day American is angry at that, refuses to accept that, or protests that, fine. But for a retired 4-star admiral to even give a hint of a whisper of an intimation that the duly elected President of the United States should be replaced by any means possible–“the sooner, the better” (and all that portends) is absolutely despicable.
So, to the GO/FOs that would now be our moral exemplars, and hand down from on high what we should think and why, I have two questions.
- When’s the last time we won a war? A war that, after we won, we could redeploy home and put the rehabilitation of our vanquished enemy into the hands of the Department of State and not have to worry about it again?
- If the failure was in “civilian support” or “not being allowed to do what we need to do,” when is the last time a GO/FO resigned? Resigned because he was shackled by the politicians, or wasn’t given the authorities required to do what needed to be done to accomplish the mission and actually win.
From my foxhole, we haven’t won a war lately. And, all the GO/FOs whining and moaning about the current Commander in Chief, never resigned from anything.
So, you must’ve felt like you had all the tools you needed. We didn’t win any wars.
Ergo, you are inproficient at your profession.
Let’s talk about what it takes to become a GO/FO. From here on out, I’m going to use Army ranks and terminology; if I try to describe all the ranks and terms used by all the services, it’ll get gooey.
- You do not have to decide that you want to be a GO the day you get commissioned. In fact, you could (possibly) go through your whole time as a 2LT and a 1LT and not be sure that that’s the path you want to follow. But, the day you wake up pursuant to your promotion to Captain, you better know you want to be a GO, and align all follow-on assignments, and all accrual of mentors, to that goal.
- Did you know that GO/FOs that have served as a GO/FO for four years (number of stars is immaterial) retire at 100% of base pay? Whenever there is a pay-hike for the troops, the retired GO/FOs get the increase, too. Only fair, right. So, every four-star listed above is pulling down an annual income of $186,998. Speaking “truth to power” has a whole different meaning when you and yourn will not be put at financial risk. Every other rank retires at 50% base pay.
- Merit is only a wee slice of achieving GO/FO status. No one gets to be a GO based solely on merit and accomplishment. When you hear a GO walk into a room and exclaim, in a humble country boy accent, “well, I know I’m not the smartest person in this room.” It means that he’s absolutely sure that he is the smartest person in the room. Know why? ‘Cause he figured out how to get to GO. So he’s the smartest person in the room.
- GOs are surrounded by people that tell them how right they are. Those people aren’t necessarily lickspittles, it’s just the way the system works. There’s a green hard-cover notebook that most Army officers carry. I must have 27 or so totally full, squirreled away somewhere. But I made it a habit, early on, to start on the back page and then work my way forward with tick marks, making a tick every time I heard someone say, “Yes, sir, you’re absolutely right,” to a GO/FO. I have pages and pages of those tick marks. After a year or two of hearing “yes, sir, you’re absolutely right,” how susceptible are you going to be to thinking, “Hey, I’m absolutely right most of the time! I must truly be awesome!”
- Rush Limbaugh is, famously, almost always right 99.8% of the time. One of the things that holds his stats back is that he splits GOs into “Political Generals” and “Warrior Generals.” He’s wrong. All GO/FOs have to have their promotion approved by the Senate. So they are, by definition, political creatures. Now, some are better at warfighting, without thinking about the implications of whether/when they’ll get their next promotion or command, and some are constitutionally incapable of going to war without that being foremost in their minds.
- I hope I don’t sound too anti-GO/FO. I think anyone given that much power should be viewed with a gimlet eye. The personnel referenced above anger me because I believe they have an agenda other than what is best for the support and defense of the Constitution.
- There are some GO/FOs out there that could hand me a bucket of warm spit and say, “Hey, Mongo, use this to assault the gates of hell.” And I’d do it without batting an eye.