It was announced on Wednesday that Pentagon Spokesman RADM (upper half) John Kirby will be replaced by a civilian. It may end up being SecDef Ash Carter’s only good decision, but a good decision it was.
Just a few days before the news, I was in Washington DC at the American Spectator Gala dinner (John Ratzenberger was particularly fantastic, but all the speakers were very good) and mentioned to someone that I felt bad for Kirby.
He’s a flag officer with 28 years in the Navy, just a couple of years and one star beyond my mother’s Navy tenure when she retired, and I really felt bad for the guy.
You could tell by looking at him, by listening to him and watching his body language, that he was a good man in a bad spot, having to explain to the public without any hit of personal aggrievement or animus how the commander-in-chief has a plan (when he actually doesn’t), how he understands the enemy (when he clearly has no idea), and how he is leading the world against ISIS (when everyone can see that right now it’s Egypt and Jordan charging ahead; we may be sending in air strikes, but as far as leadership, we’re not even “leading from behind.” But then a doctrine of “strategic patience” doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of our enemies, does it?)
A military officer should not be in the position of defending the motives or (in)competence of a civilian leader. It would be true even if the military man or woman agreed with the president most of the time, and it’s especially true in a situation where the Pentagon spokesman is being made to defend the indefensible.
Impossible and fundamentally political tasks like that should be left to President Obama’s sycophantic peons like the newly promoted Jen Psaki, who couldn’t even have made my college’s debate team but who, like all functionaries in all petty dictatorships, is rewarded for loyalty rather than ability.
I thank RADM Kirby for his service, wish him well in whatever he does next, and congratulate him for being released from a position in which he should never have been placed.
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