Bringing Military Discipline to the White House

I do see the point going in –  a military man is sincere but disciplined. He has great knowledge but perfect discretion. He’ll wait politely for you to finish your thought and will always put his ideas after yours. If he sees any signs of disloyalty he will act with great furor. He will set the perfect example.

Unless…

  • He has reached the level where he believes his orders must be followed to the letter.
  • He looks down upon other employees because they lack his experience – no matter if it is completely unrelated to the task at hand.
  • He thinks the Commander in Chief fails to set a proper military style example and so is undeserving of his loyalty and obedience.
  • He has become completely fixed in his views of how certain problems should be solved.

The Prussians had so many wins in the 19th century that they started to buy into the notion that rule by military government was the best political solution. Then the Japanese bought in for the same reasons. We had a crippled President who would never believe in or successfully sell such an approach to managing his own government, even during a war. (LBJ learned nothing from this.) The chaos worked beautifully.

Our democratic system depends on open debate with some unsolved issues. It’s perfectly OK if some cabinet members are on different sides of an issue as long as they don’t spend their time undermining each other in public. Can you think of a public policy issue that has only one (reasonable) side? Trump has tried to run a purified cult with a unified view on every issue – that is impossible, so imposing it from above by choosing generals as ruling members brings anger and indiscipline.

These are battles without guns that Kelly had no idea how to win.

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