A series of pertinent – and impertinent – observations about military justice
IS THE SKY FALLING?
For some, the rise of Donald Trump has prompted predictions of the decline of America. Many critics compare this moment to the fall of the Roman republic in 31 BC. The Washington POST Outlook section contains a thoughtful piece by Nathan Pilkington, a lecturer at Columbia University. He disputes the naysayers. True enough, some critics of the president-elect feel that he is a strong man on horseback and that his ascendancy reflects how the Roman republic fell. But such comparisons are light on scholarship,, insists Mr. Pilkington. Yes, the United States has seen a rise in populism – –but nothing like the violence that accompanied the fall of the Rome. The end came there after numerous civil wars, a loss of integrity, decades of gang violence in the capital, and waves of sanctioned political murder.
Other myths debunked by Mr. Pilkington–
- Rome supposedly collapsed because of class conflict
- … Or widespread lead poisoning
- … Or barbarian invasions
- … Or the religious triumph of Christianity
GOODBYE TO THE ALABAMA CHIEF JUSTICE
For the second time in 13 years, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been removed from office; this time, a result of ethics complaints filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Justice Moore was known as “the 10 Commandments judge” because of his spirited stand in favor of state-sponsored exhibits of the Commandments.
An ethics committee ruled unanimously that Moore had violated the canons of judicial ethics by ordering the state’s 68 probate judges to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples, in defiance Federal court orders, according to a Southern Poverty Law Center newspaper.
| CAN THE ARMY MEET ITS GOAL OF 80, 000 RECRUITS?
The Army is facing difficulties in recruiting the 80K new soldiers it needs this coming fiscal year. Many people fail to meet the requirements to join or are misinformed about military benefits, according to the Arizona Republic.
A SEVERE SHORTAGE OF PILOTS IN THE AIR FORCE
The US Air Force reports a shortage of fighter pilots – the lack is so severe that some general officers say it may affect USAF’s ability to carry out operations as soon as next year, according to the Voice of America. #
ROUGH WINDS FOR A NEW SEC DEF?
Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, President-elect Trump’s pick for defense secretary, will need more than the usual Senate confirmation before being able to take office.
U.S. law states that a nominee for defense secretary must have been out of the active-duty military for seven years.
Mattis, 66, retired in 2013 after serving as the commander of U.S. Central Command.
The requirement was originally set by law in 1947, when Congress established a minimum of 10 years out of active duty. It was changed to seven years in 2008.
Of the 25 men who have served as secretary of the modern Defense Department, only seven never served in the military, including the current Pentagon chief, Ash Carter. One served only as an enlisted military member: Chuck Hagel, who received two Purple Hearts for his service in Vietnam.
Only one exception to the law requiring a gap after military service has been approved. Gen. George Marshall was appointed defense secretary in 1950 by President Truman, who was looking for a highly respected leader to take over as the Korean War ramped up. Marshall needed a special law passed. .
A Pentagon history says Marshall’s appointment was quickly approved. However, it arguably sets a tough precedent. Granting exceptions could arguably lead people to question whether future military leaders gave specific advice to curry favor with powerbrokers and win a future appointment down the road.