Tuesday, April 26, 2016

civilian control of the military slipping right along with establishment control of the proles?


WaPo |  McRaven retired from the Navy in 2014 and now serves as chancellor of the University of Texas system. He and others in the Navy saw Losey’s case very differently than the Senate and seethed at the intervention by lawmakers. In his op-ed, McRaven dismissed the whistleblowers as lazy employees who abused the inspector-general system to seek revenge on Losey. He also ripped the inspector general as an agency run amok, calling it “apparently accountable to no one, dismissing the recommendations of the services and ruining officer’s careers.”

Had he stopped there, McRaven’s comments probably would not have attracted much public attention. Instead, he went on to slam lawmakers and question whether a fundamental underpinning of the American system of government — civilian control of the military — was frayed or at risk.
“The greater concern for America is the continued attack on leadership in the military,” he wrote. 

“During my past several years in uniform, I watched in disbelief how lawmakers treated the chairman, the service chiefs, the combatant commanders and other senior officers during Congressional testimony. These officers were men of incredible integrity, and yet some lawmakers showed no respect for their decades of service.”

While it is not uncommon for retired military brass to exercise their First Amendment rights, what was remarkable about McRaven’s comments was how he apparently had the backing and encouragement of active-duty Navy leaders to sound off in public.

McRaven showed his column to senior Navy brass before publication. It prompted an effusive public statement from Adm. John M. Richardson, the chief of naval operations and the highest ranking officer in the Navy.

“Brian Losey is an outstanding officer who has sacrificed much for our Navy and nation,” Richardson said. “I read Admiral McRaven’s piece with great interest; he raises a number of important issues that deserve additional consideration, and I welcome that conversation.”

McRaven’s attack on federal whistleblower-protection laws and the Pentagon’s inspector general didn’t mention how rare it actually is for officers such as Losey to get into trouble for violating them.

In comparison with other federal employees, whistleblowers working in the military or national security agencies must meet a higher burden of proof to win their cases. Of the more than 1,000 whistleblower complaints that are filed each year with the Pentagon’s inspector general, about 97 percent are dismissed, or categorized as “unsubstantiated,” records show. For three separate complaints to be upheld against a single officer is almost unheard of.