The Continuing Politicization of Senior Military Officers

Retired Major General Paul Eaton: Public Domain

In 33 years of commissioned service I’ve only met one stupid Flag Officer (General/Admiral). I’ve always contended that being really smart was a prerequisite to pinning on that first and subsequent stars. But there’s much more to it than brains. There’s also something “magic” that makes a no-kiddin’ General. It’s not just a personality thing either. In World War II, we had the quiet and unassuming Omar Bradley at one end of the personality spectrum, while at the other we had his erstwhile boss and eventual subordinate, George Patton. There is also a thing called “integrity.” Throughout my career, I have never had any inkling to doubt the integrity of any Flag Officer…until 2008.

The Obama Pentagon mouthpiece, Rear Admiral John Kirby, and his somewhat loose grasp of the truth, started me questioning the motives and ethical grounding of some of the military’s senior leaders. These doubts grew exponentially under President Donald Trump. It seems there was an epidemic of political generals, led by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mark Milley. If you recall, Milley took it upon himself to undermine U.S. national security, not to mention our tradition of civilian control of our military, by contacting the Chinese behind the President’s back. Think about that.

Along with those currently serving, both in and out of uniform, there are also a growing number of retired senior officers who use their ranks, former positions and continued popular respect for our military, to enter into the gun control debate on the side of the leftists attempting to disarm law-abiding citizens. One in particular is retired Major General Paul Eaton, who once commanded the Infantry Center at Fort Benning and was in charge of a failed attempt to train Iraqi Infantry battalions.

As described by David Hackworth, the very first battalion to graduate from Eaton’s training, was ambushed on its first operation. In Hackworth’s own words:

By the end of the day, this 695-man battalion had eight wounded, 24 combat desertions, 104 mutineers, 78 AWOLs and 170 on leave.

You can read Hackworth’s damning report here: Flunking the Combat Test in Iraq.

Recently, MG(R) Eaton saw fit to launch a 7-tweet thread decrying civilian ownership of AR-15’s, saying in part:

Let me state unequivocally — For all intents and purposes, the AR-15 and rifles like it are weapons of war.

Here’s the thread:

 

This diatribe by the former Infantry Center Commander came to my attention during a debate on Facebook, where one poster, another retired military member, imagined he could bolster his anti-gun stance by using MG (R) Eaton’s arguments. Let’s unpack the General’s position.

Like many leftists, Eaton uses a couple of techniques to mislead the American people. First, he stands on his former position as the “Chief of Infantry” for the U.S. Army. Fair enough. Let’s hold that thought for a bit. As an Infantryman myself and absent other information, I could give some credibility to that position.

MG(R) Eaton then goes on to muddy the waters by declaring the AR-15 to be a “weapon of war.” That’s really a meaningless term, merely used to deceive leftists, most of whom don’t understand firearms. Almost anything can and has been used in wartime…shotguns, pistols, dead farm animals catapulted over an enemy wall to infect the population within…or a truckload of fertilizer to blow up a barracks…and yes, even a semi-automatic such as the AR-15. The point that he fails to mention, for it would totally undermine his “weapon of war” meme, is that the AR-15 has never, ever, at any time, been issued as any country’s primary Infantry (assault) rifle. Not. Once. Ever. The reason? It is not as capable as the M-16 and its progeny. We’ve already gone into the technical aspects in another article. 

Read: Most “Assault Rifles”…Aren’t

For now, let’s focus on what is truly important.

Major General (retired) Paul Eaton is the latest in a long line of leftist senior officers trading on the respect most Americans still have for the military as an institution. Despite the disdain they may have for other parts of government, the military is still regarded as one of America’s most respected institutions. The leftist press, while generally hostile American societal pillars, like church, the Boy Scouts, and the Military has absolutely no problem using folks like Eaton to advance its own agenda. From an article in Upworthy supporting the General (emphasis, mine):

Not every American is an active part of American “gun culture.” Some of us have never shot a firearm, for fun or otherwise. Some of us really are ignorant about guns themselves. 

That can’t be said for anyone in the military, however. And it definitely can’t be said for a former Major General of the U.S. Army.

That’s why an explanation of the difference between an AR-15 and military-style firearms from retired Major General Paul Eaton has gone viral. Major General Eaton was the commander in charge of training Iraqi soldiers during Operation Iraqi Freedom, so he definitely knows what he’s talking about when it comes to weaponry.

The author above is almost right, Eaton should know what he’s talking about. Americans expect their Army’s Chief of infantry to know his trade from muzzle to butt plate. That is what is so shady about this incident. He knows better. He knows that what he is doing is deliberately misleading the American people. He knows the AR-15 is not and never has been a “weapon of war.” Worse, as an officer who’s been commissioned by the President, confirmed by the Senate and has sworn to uphold the Constitution, he should know that even if the AR-15 was a weapon of war, it would make no difference. The intent behind the Second Amendment was and is, that any adult American whose rights have not been legally abridged via due process, would have access to any weapon that a Soldier in my beloved American Infantry does. Eaton should know that too. He took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. His Twitter blast was not only disingenuous, but also violates his commissioning oath. 

**In a bad case of cranial gas, I misspelled CJCS Milley’s name earlier. One of my astute readers, Dave M. caught that egregious error. Corrected.

 

 

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10 thoughts on “The Continuing Politicization of Senior Military Officers”

  1. GOs used to be impressive. Now, many are simply politically correct who fail our military, but man, they look good in their “new uniforms”. Except Miley who looks like a sack of potatoes (apologies to Brian Stelter who is a potato)

    Reply
    • Silley Milley slaps every member of the Greatest Generation in the face every time he plays dress-up in their pinks-and-greens uniform.

      I knew those men–I was raised by them in my parents’ functional absence, they were my boyhood heroes, and Mark Milley and too many others are manifestly unfit to uphold their traditions and be a part of their Army.

      Reply
  2. Of course they’re smart. They know to get promoted above O-5, they have to kowtow to the civilian leadership and keep their mouths shut if they disagree.

    Reply
  3. GO’s are subject to performance ebb and flow. In North African a number of field grades and GOs were found wanting and sent home. The only have shine when they produce good results. Think of some the GOs that Bill Clinton promoted or Obama. They are men. They tend to be driven but they are still men. You get the leadership that the situation demands. The problem is the guys you need have to get around the dead wood. That some one like Biden promotes. You will not see a Tommy Franks. The bigger problem is the number of GOs that basically join the DC club. They live in the bubble that policy fixes everything and if they have fired enough money down range they have solved the problem. The get owned by the liberal progressive machine that is DC.

    Reply

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