I really thought about doing a long post on chain of command and the intricacies of same. It is a fascinating topic, and one a LOT of pundits and other political types get very, very wrong. I actually hope their take stays wrong, as what they view as how-it-is/proper is a great way to have very bad things happen. As in illegal orders is the least of the issues involved.
Thing is, I suspect many/most of you who are regular readers have served. You know how interesting things can get. For example, I watched a jackass LTC from the 10th try to intimidate a LT who was not in his chain of command into doing something against orders issued by said LTs chain of command. Don’t think things really went as well as the jackass (who also used physical intimidation) thought it did. If you’ve served odds are you seen it and had the joy of dealing with a Vindman-type. Such people are often worth their weight in plutonium — to the enemy.
For today, I’ve decided against getting into the weeds just to deal with the issue at hand. The President is the commander-in-chief of our armed forces. Despite hollyweird and bad punditry takes, that doesn’t mean that POTUS can call up CPL. Snuffy and order an attack on the local chow hall. Though, given the state to which current military leadership has let things fall, CPL Snuffy and crew might cheerfully, even eagerly, illegally obey the order. When it comes to things nuclear, things are even tougher. That’s a topic discussed in the posts on nuclear war and operations.
Short version is that POTUS operates through (and with) the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF). The SECDEF relays orders and intentions through the Joint Chiefs and/or the civilian leaders of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. It starts the process of amplification and clarification that turns ‘Take X Out!’ into a real plan and ops orders to implement same. In nuclear terms, as noted previously, the SECDEF confirms the orders to the National Military Communications Center (which could be complex in the form of ‘target package Axis 7 plus X, Y, and Toledo because F them).
Which is why people are justifiably and understandably upset that the SECDEF was out of the loop for DAYS with no one knowing. Were the actions taken by the military during that time approved, and if so, how? Who had his f’ing biscuit and/or was duly delegated to act in his behalf in the event of a major event or nuclear alert? Wanna play a game of how many laws were broken by this apparently deliberate and willful disappearing/dereliction of duty act?
I was not a fan of Austin from the start. To be polite and diplomatic. His actions show a willful disregard for the law and the chain of command, among other things. Frankly, he should resign over this. Really, he should be impeached and tried over this, as if I or CPL Snuffy had done something like this we would rightfully be in a cell under Leavenworth. This isn’t a disgrace, it is a willful violation of law and oath.
It also raises a lot of questions about who knew what, and the operations of the DoD and military. Not to mention the operations and competence of the Biden Regency. I will settle for a resignation, but in reality a number of civilian and military heads need to roll over this.
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