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Tuesday, Apr 18, 2006, 12:51 pm

6 Generals v MacArthur

By Brian Zick

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I haven't read all that much which has been written about the so-called "General's Revolt" - the six retired Generals who have called for Rumsfeld to Resign. So I may be wrong to generalize (so to speak). But it has struck me from what I have seen that the folks most vocally disparaging of the six are the very same crop of folks who cheered for Douglas MacArthur's insubordinaton, and viciously condemned Harry Truman for firing him.

The issue - for the critics - really boils down not to whether military (retired or active-duty) should or shouldn't criticize the civilian authority. It's only a problem when the military individuals in question disagree politically with the views of their critics.

Steve Clemons has a lengthy and thoughtful commentary posted: What About the Generals Above the Revolt and Below Rumsfeld? And Kevin Drum has written about the "revolt of the generals" here. Steve and Kevin both offer useful insight, in addressing the basic question of civilian authority over military actions. But I think they both miss the primary point of the current dispute.

Mark Kleiman asks a particuarly pertinent question, however: what about Colin Powell's bald insubordination, as an active-duty officer, refusing to follow Bill Clinton's executive order ending discrimination against gays in the military?

Truman fired MacArthur for insubordination. Because the fucking loon wanted to start a war with China!! Which was a poor enough idea all by itself. But worse - much worse from a professional military perspective - the US military simply was not remotely prepared to have that fight.

The common denominator between the cheers for active-duty MacArthur and active-duty Powell, versus the boos for today's 6 retired generals is rather painfully obvious: it's plenty okay to be insubordinate and criticize civilian authority if you're a Republican! And if you got-to got-to got-to have your monumentally insecure feelings of masculinity assuaged.

It's not so much that these guys get a hard-on at the mere thought of opportunity to display their idea of macho in combat. (Maybe they do, but maybe they can't.) The reality is that they are so pitifully inadequate in the manhood department, in the first place, that they feel a need to overcompensate. They need to dominate. War, rape, abortion, election fraud, tax cuts, flag "protection" - it's all about their desperate and pathetic void in genuine masculinity. It may be trite and overly simplistic to put it that way. Yet this explanation does eliminate any hypocrisy charge - they are being thoroughly consistent.

The 6 Generals have essentially called Bush's masculinity into question. And like every wussy bedwetting coward in history before him, Bush stomps his little foot and pouts, and otherwise proceeds immediately to prove his total void of any manhood whatsoever.

The Bush cult - and conservatives in general - believe in the "manly" saying that "women can't stand up to pee like a man." But the reality, of course, is that "real men pee sitting down." Because they are truly confident in their masculinity, they have no fear it may be questioned, and they have no hesitation sitting down - to avoid all that messy "aiming" silliness, and other risks of insufficient planning and incompetent execution.
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