Blankley claimed "strong evidence" of a "cabal" of generals retiring in sequence and criticizing Rumsfeld

Video ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

In his Washington Times column, Tony Blankley stated that there is "strong evidence" of a secret agreement between active-duty generals to retire in succession and then speak out against Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. In fact, Blankley's only evidence is a Washington Post column by former Clinton ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke, who wrote that he expected more generals to speak out. According to Blankley: "Mr. Holbrook [sic] is at the least very well informed if he is not himself part of this military cabal intended to 'consume ... Donald Rumsfeld.' "

In his April 18 column, Washington Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley, referring to the growing number of retired generals who have called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, wrote: "[A]n arguable case could be made that something in the nature of a mutinous sedition has occurred." According to Blankley, there is "strong evidence" of a secret agreement between active-duty generals to retire in succession and then speak out against Rumsfeld.

Blankley's evidence? Former Clinton ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke's April 16 Washington Post op-ed, in which Holbrooke wrote: "If more angry generals emerge -- and they will -- if some of them are on active duty, as seems probable ... then this storm will continue until finally it consumes not only Donald Rumsfeld." According to Blankley: "Mr. Holbrook [sic] is at the least very well informed if he is not himself part of this military cabal intended to 'consume ... Donald Rumsfeld.' "

From Blankley's April 18 column:

Consider two hypothetical situations. In the first, an Army general officer in a theater of war decides by himself that he strongly disagrees with the orders of the secretary of defense. He resigns his commission, returns to private life and speaks out vigorously against both the policy and the secretary of defense.

In example two, the top 100 generals in the Army military chain of command secretly agree among themselves to retire and speak out each one day after the other.

In example one, above, unambiguously, the general has behaved lawfully. In example two, an arguable case could be made that something in the nature of a mutinous sedition has occurred in violation of Article 94 of the Uniform Code of Military procedure. When does an expanded version of the simple honesty and legality of the first example cross over into grounds for a court martial? More specifically, can a series of lawful resignations turn into a mutiny? And if they are agreed upon in advance, have the agreeing generals formed a felonious conspiracy to make a mutiny?

This may sound far fetched, but in The Washington Post on Sunday the very smart, very well connected former Clinton Ambassador to the U.N. Richard Holbrook [sic] published an article titled "Behind the Military Revolt." In this article, he predicts that there will be increasing numbers of retired generals speaking out against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Then, shockingly, he writes the following words: "If more angry generals emerge -- and they will -- if some of them are on active duty, as seems probable ... then this storm will continue until finally it consumes not only Donald Rumsfeld."

Mr. Holbrook [sic] is at the least very well informed if he is not himself part of this military cabal intended to "consume ... Donald Rumsfeld."

[...]

A "revolt" of several American generals against the secretary of defense (and by implication against the president)? Admittedly, if each general first retires and then speaks out, there would appear to be no violation of law.

But if active generals in a theater of war are planning such a series of events, they may be illegally conspiring together to do that which would be legal if done without agreement. And Mr. Holbrook's [sic] article is -- if it is not a fiction (which I doubt it is) -- strong evidence of such an agreement. Of course, a conspiracy is merely an agreement against public policy.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.