Thursday, September 14, 2017

Not For Life, Not When He's In Government

On September 5, immigration activist Luis Gutierrez, U.S. Representative from Illinois, posted on his website a press release including

General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.  He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the President’s actions by ‘just following orders.’

A week later, he was denounced by a trio of individuals on "Morning Joe" for what prime host Joe Scarborough described as "disgraceful, outrageous words to be used against a man who has given his entire life and his son to this country in service in uniform."

After Mike Barnicle agreed, albeit in somewhat muted terms, Willie Geist noted "it doesn't make sense- you're getting what you want out of this deal." That makes eminently good sense- or would, if Gutierrez's remarks had followed the deal (now denied by Trump) the President made with Schumer and Pelosi.

The press release by the Illinois Democrat instead was a response to the Administration's announcement of action to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals but preceeded the agreement between the President and the Democratic congressional leaders.

Ironically, one of Gutierrez's lines was dangerous in much the same manner as those of Scarborough and Geist.

General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear.  Fortunately, two days later the congressman told the Washington Examiner 

The general is not a general today. He’s a politician. He works for Donald Trump and now supports Donald Trump’s xenophobic, racist policies, and he’s carrying them out as his chief of staff. I’m not talking about him as a general; I’m talking about him as a politician.

This goes beyond DACA.  Whatever one thinks of Kelly's involvement (whatever it is) in the President's immigration deliberations, he is not doing it as a general, as Gutierrez recognized sometime between his two statements.  As a retired general, he is not a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear because- he is not a general but is a politician and chief of staff.

That is something Gutierrez figured out in the space of two days, or which was unfortunately left out of his original remarks. It's something Joe Scarborough, once a U.S. Representative and now allegedly a journalist, should understand. Then he might tell Willie Geist, not even allegedly a journalist, who remarked (emhasis his)

And he is a general. Despite what Gutierrez said, he remains a general for life, a guy who gave fifty years- half a century- to this country in the military, has given service, who gave his son, lost his son. I don't think he needs a lecture from Mr. Gutierrez about- about honor and courage.

It is of no little significance that General Kelly, who may be addressed as "General," is not a general. He is a retired general as I am a retired Probation Officer and you, dear reader, may be a retired bricklayer, secretary, customer service representative, teacher, police officer, accountant, or pastor. It is not only inaccurate but is dangerous to think of these guys as military while they are in government serving the public. They are serving the public and the President- our President- who is not their commander-in-chief.

Presumably, General Kelly (as well as General Mattis), who did not even attempt to pull rank when he fired back at Gutierrez, understands that.  Representative Gutierrez, despite his intemperate remarks, does so, also.  A couple of the guys on the set of Morning Joe should, also.

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