Thursday, August 26, 2004

Chain of Command

It’s a basic rule of business that the boss is ultimately responsible for the performance of his employees, and the boss must accept both the credit and the blame for their performance. I assume it’s that way in the military; having never served, I have no first-hand knowledge, but I find it hard to believe that with such a powerful system of rank and position, any commander would not be expected to accept responsibility for the people under his command, and that goes all the way up to the top. JFK knew it and took the rap for the Bay of Pigs, even though it was a plot conceived under the Eisenhower Administration, as did Jimmy Carter for the ill-fated hostage rescue attempt in Iran in 1980.

That is why I agree with those who say that the culture of abuse that took place in in Iraq and in Afghanistan was not limited to just a “few bad apples” having a frat party and that the punishment should go up the chain of command and follow whatever branches it leads to, be it in the Pentagon or in the intelligence community.

Of course, given the history of American military justice, I doubt anything will happen. After all, the My Lai massacre in Vietnam was pinned on one lieutenant. But we don’t want to open old wounds again, do we?