No! (to Casey)

These are the senators who voted against the confirmation of George Casey to be Chief of Staff of the United States Army.

The Chief of Staff of the Army is the institutional head of the Army.  Soldiers everywhere know that the Chief of staff should represent the ideal of an American soldier in terms of character, devotion to duty, soldierly virtue and devotion to the public good rather than his own interests.  The Chief of Staff by example sets the standard by which American soldiers judge themselves.

The Chief of Staff is also a member of the committee of the Joint Chiefs of Staff which advises the president as a body with regard to their collective and individual military judgment on issues of state.  Nevertheless, it as "Grand Master of the Order" that the Chief of Staff plays his greatest role.

George Casey is probably a fine man, a man of honor, a man deserving of many things, but in his consistent failure to accurately inform the Congress of the United States and the citizens of the United States of the real situation in Iraq he fails the "Marshall Test" for me.

George Marshall sets the standard. He built the US Army and Air Forces that won World War Two.  He was unafraid, modest, humble and without interest in currying favor with politicians.  He told Franklin Roosevelt, who appointed him Chief of Staff, that he should not call him George, even in private, because it might be necessary in the course of the war for Roosevelt to fire him and he did not want their personal relationship to be a problem if that were necessary.  When he was Secretary of State he rebuked Dean Rusk, his assistant, for not correcting him in public when he misspoke.  Rusk said that he had not wanted to "hurt Marshall’s feelings."  Marshall replied that he "had no feelings other than those reserved for Mrs. Marshall."  He was absurdly libeled by the egregious Joe McCarthy, and never said or wrote a word in reply.  Never…  I could go on.

These twelve senators did the right thing.  I hope that those who voted the other way, supporting  the nomination of a man who "knew which way the wind blew" will not regret it.  pl

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19 Responses to No! (to Casey)

  1. walrus says:

    One more step towards disaster has been taken today.

  2. knut royce says:

    Not sure, Col. Lang, that any of these folks qualify for induction into Profiles in Courage. Imagine, Sens. Bunning and Harkin actually agreeing on something. Methinks keeping a job (or getting a promotion, for Mrs. Clinton) after 2008 has more to do with this show of resolve than any understanding of Gen. Casey’s performance or qualifications.

  3. Chris Marlowe says:

    George Casey was rewarded with his promotion for taking the fall and not speaking out about the general arrogance, ignorance and stupidity of his civilian commanders, Bush and Cheney, which have cost so many American and Iraqi lives.
    In my opinion, men and women in the military should have resigned their commissions when they realized that the invasion and occupation of Iraq was a fraud sold to the world on false trumped-up reasons. But this would have meant sacrificing their own benefits and pensions, and putting their own families in jeopardy.
    This is how political corruption always starts; it makes people compromise on a small scale first, then gets bigger and bigger later on. Because it is done in stages, people sell their morals and character very easily, and end up not questioning the morality of their decisions. It is a rot with stages.
    The reason Marshall was able to function was because he worked with politicians who at least had some notion of character and integrity, even though they may not have been perfect examples themselves. I don’t see any sign of that anywhere today.
    In today’s America, politicans are wholesale panderers to business interests and major donors, while voters are like cats and dogs who fight over scraps which fall under the table. There are reports this will be the first $1B election in 2008; those donors will have to make their money back somehow.
    As long as this system continues, we can look forward to more chiefs of staff of the US army like George Casey.

  4. Le Neveu says:

    You should restructure your headline and lede to this article. It conveys strongly the first impression that you are saying NO! to the listed congresspersons.

  5. David E. Solomon says:

    Colonel Lang,
    At the moment I am sitting in a motel on the edge of Fort Drumm.
    I stay here several times a year on my travels as a publisher’s rep. to independent bookstores.
    The first time I stayed here was about the time of the first deployment to Iraq. All those young kids were full of noise and energy. Needless to say the place was very loud.
    On this visit and my last few it is silent.
    George Bush has squashed this place as surely as he has squashed so many other places in the world.
    Yes, let’s cheer on the Senators you mentioned, but let us all hope that they and the other individuals chosen to represent us, actually do something to end this insanity before the “decider” spreads it to Iran.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    I believe Truman said (to Marshall): “There is not a medal big enough to pin on your chest.”

  7. James Pratt says:

    Gen. Casey is valued by the White House for his loyalty rather than his competence or judgement. He is a vocal admirer of Rumsfeld, but the Iraqi Arab population became more and more alienated to the American led occupation on his watch. This is a notice to the generals who worked for Sec. Rumsfeld’s dismissal that Rumsfeldism will survive Rumsfeld.
    It is interesting to note that five of the twelve senators listed by Col Lang are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I attended the public session of the committee on Tuesday, Feb 6, the introduction of the 2008 defense budget by Sec. Gates and Gen. Pace. The senators and the Pentagon officials were less than candid or inspiring.
    The dollar amount of no-bid contracts is unknown, the latter said. ‘To the best of their knowledge’ the estimate for Iraq military expenses for Fiscal year 2009 is $50 billion.
    Senators Sessions and Cronyn were mostly interested in the local effect of base closings. Sen Collins was interested in the naval destroyer shipbuilding progam.
    Sens. McCain and Clinton did some electioneering.
    Sec. Gates said the Iraqi government would face undefined consequences
    for lack of effective cooperation in the political impasse and military effort.
    Oil and the Iraqi Arab antipathy to occupation were not mentioned.

  8. Will says:

    Nevertheless, Casey was a step up from Sanchez. The Senators had divers motives for the common vote- a motley crew.
    A marvelous invention was reported in today’s news. I’d like to see the Decider subjected to it to reveal his lying murderous ways.
    The brain scan that can read people’s intentions
    candidates: female astronauts (sorry, the lady and her family are deserving of great sympathy and prayer) and Decider in Chief (deserving of contempt of Congress)
    “How could it be used?
    It is expected to drive advances in brain-controlled computers, leading to artificial limbs and machinery that respond to thoughts. More advanced versions could be used to help interrogate criminals and assess prisoners before they are released. Controversially, they may be able to spot people who plan to commit crimes before they break the law. ”

  9. Frank Durkee says:

    Marshal is one of my heros. What stands out is that he had character and integrity both of which undergirded his competency and added to their force. Further he understood where his final loyalties must lie, with the mission and with those whom he ordered into’ harms way’ before any other loyalties or interests. People like that are unique and not replicable by any system or process. The tragedy is that he is no longer a model much less an exemplar. Under the Biblical rubric that “if the people have no vision, the people perish” perhaps more attention should be paid to him and other such leaders.

  10. W. Patrick Lang says:

    I am surprised that so many who have written on the Casey post have chosen to dwell on the supposed prior misdeeds ofthe senators who voted against him rather than to praise them for doing this well.
    What is this? Cultural Calvinism? pl

  11. Brian Hart says:

    The lack of courage and candor in the senior officer corp gutted this country’s trust in the integrity of the military all the while enlisted young men and women reaffirmed it.
    One congressman told me he no longer listens to the generals testifying before the HASC. He goes to Walter Reed and asks the soldiers what they needed?
    Duty, honor, country. Just words?
    The trust is broken with the American people. It will take a generation to heal. Our country is weakened as a result.

  12. psd says:

    Col. Lang–
    I’m just confused by this motley crew that voted no. Seems like they all did it for different reasons. Cynical as I am, I’d like to think they did it for the primary reason that, given his record in Iraq, he should not be made chief of staff. But I doubt that–the list appears that there was a lot of politics involved in some cases. As a Californian, I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw Dianne Feinstein’s name and not Barbara Boxer’s. (and BTW, I think Dianne voted no for the correct reason–she just got easily reelected and can vote her conscience.) What is the world coming to?
    Once again, thanks for your timely and excellent blogging. You always make me think….even before my morning coffee!

  13. HerbEly says:

    Real Leaders Set Ethical Standards

    Pat Lang clearly disapproves of the Senate vote to confirm George Casey as Chief of Staff of the United States Army. He contrasts Casey’s performance with that of George C. Marshall:George Casey is probably a fine man, a man of

  14. says:

    Dear Pat,
    What I find shocking about this list is that there are more Republicans on it than Democrats. It is clear from the elections and the polls that Americans who voted for Democrats want us out of Iraq in a reasonable way. We are there in part because Gen. Casey reinforced every wrong headed tatic and so called “plan” for Iraq his bosses came up with. He still clings to that same vision. Think about his grasp of a six thousand year old area where civilization first organized itself. It is pathetic. But what is even more pathetic is that so few Democrat senators understood how important it was for the Senate to reflect the will of this country to throw all the rascals out who messed up by invading Iraq,
    including Feith, Tenant, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Casey. Why won’t these politicians stand up until there is another catastrophic loss of American lives (as long as they aren’t black and live in Lousiana; they’re expendable it seems)?
    Michael Singer

  15. Chris Marlowe says:

    There is a very similiar pattern to the rise of George W. Bush’s team of cronies, and the rise of AH and the NS party in Germany in 1933. The strategies are the same, and even the complaints coming from the people who oppose them are the same.
    Like AH, Bush was not elected by a popular majority. Both were first supported by rednecks and political thugs and conservatives who thought that they could benefit, overlooking their failings; once they came to power, they appointed their cronies to take control of the military, judicial, etc. Both bought off big businesses by making sure that they profited from their military ventures. Both have gone into foreign military ventures, and it is easy to see how that will all play out.
    Those who opposed AH thought that he was a funny little politician, entertainer and orator, and that all his talk about Jews in Mein Kampf was just rhetoric. Opponents thought that he could be fought constitutionally, but they gradually disappeared. Those who criticized Der Fuhrer were depicted as sympathizers with the enemy.
    Instead of focusing on important issues of political cronyism, corruption and the rot in the American political system, and a war fought under false pretenses, Bush’s opponents choose to fight him on overly narrow issues where it is impossible to build a strong constituency and persuasive argument. Instead of seeing the big picture and general trend, time and momentum is wasted on overly narrow issues. H.L. Mencken was right when he said “Nobody has gone bankrupt by underestimating the stupidity of the American public.”
    The US in 2007 is basically the same as Germany in 1937-38. The Germans and Americans got the government they deserve. The Germans paid the price for AH; Americans will have to pay a similiar price for Bush.
    The only way we Americans can redeem ourselves is by making a clean dramatic break; there is no room for compromise with George W. Bush and his cronies. I must say that I do not see any signs of that happening yet.
    Is there anything new under the sun, or are humans destined to repeat the same errors every generation?

  16. W. Patrick Lang says:

    You do not understand politicians. They do not give power to people like me. They give it to henchmen. pl

  17. Leigh says:

    I am surprised that you are surprised at the comments re: the No-sayers. Doesn’t your readers’ reaction reflect the general distrust of Washington? Why would some of these people (such as Bunning who appears to have continuous senior moments) suddenly grow backbones? It boggles the imagination.
    As for Casey, is this not a perfect example of the Peter Principle in action?
    BTW, how do we get Tenet and Bremer, those other examplars of incompetence and sycophancy, to return their Freedom medals which supposedly were presented on our behalf?

  18. Jay says:

    Once again it just proves to us in the military the F@#k Up, Move Up rule works….perhaps I should be a bit more derelict in my duties, that would guaranty that I would get promoted again.

  19. Eric Dönges says:

    Chris Marlowe:
    The US in 2007 is basically the same as Germany in 1937-38. The Germans and Americans got the government they deserve. The Germans paid the price for AH; Americans will have to pay a similiar price for Bush.
    I think you are wrong – the U.S. in 2007 is not the same as Germany in the 30s, since it does not have any adversary capable of making U.S. Americans pay for their arrogance and folly.
    A more apt comparison would be the Roman republic shortly before its demise by the hand of Ceasar (complete with a cowardly Senate more concerned with their own welfare than that of the republic, an ignorant public and a professional military loyal only to its “Commander in Chief”). As such, your probably have a couple of centuries before the barbarians teach you what “shock and awe” really means.

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