I don’t disagree with most of what Glenn Beck says in this piece. Courts-martial for Navy SEALS who allegedly gave a terrorist a fat lip while in custody? Does the Navy court-martial sailors who give each other fat lips? Would a SEAL stop at a fat lip if he actually got out of control? (I know a couple of SEALs, and I highly, highly doubt it.) Few would disagree with the thought that we should put the men and women who dedicate their lives to this country as our first priority, either, and that we should give them the resources to win fights when we put them in the middle of a war. But going on national television and advising them not to re-enlist? Beck does that here, and that’s one step too far (via The Right Scoop):
I’d have a problem with this advice if it was given privately, let alone to millions watching on television. Men and women enlist in the volunteer service to defend America, not to pick and choose which Commander in Chief they follow. They’re professionals who serve with honor regardless of the politics of the day. If they feel as though they’re not getting the support they need, they will know it better than those of us sitting stateside arguing over politics and policy. They will not need us to suggest that they bail out of the military if those are truly the conditions under which they serve.
Had someone like Keith Olbermann or Chris Matthews gone on the air in 2005-8 and told millions (well, thousands in that case) that men and women should refuse re-enlistment because George Bush had underresourced the fight in Iraq — which seems indisputable now, especially after the success of the surge — conservatives would have screamed from the rooftops, and been right to do so. Furthermore, the problem in Iraq of underresourcing and strategic drift and decline lasted more than twice as long then as Obama’s been in office now.
We’re a nation at war, with the best and most professional army in history. We should trust that they can calculate the benefits and drawbacks of reenlistment with much greater insight than civilians, and refrain from using that process for political purposes — and especially refrain from encouraging our best and brightest to leave when we need them the most.
Update: Yes, he really did tell his nephew not to re-enlist: