WE HAVE A MILD curiosity about how many other sets of indiscreet of objectionable remarks by Gen. Geroge Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are lying around like concealed land mines waiting to be exploded into public view. But only a mild curiosity. For we have heard enough from Gen. Brown to come to a view of what manner of man he is. As his vigorous defense of government spying on American citizens only underlines, Gen. Brown has a primitive notion of the values he is sworn to uphold. He has previously shown himself to have a myopic view of the role of interest groups, American Jews in particular, in American politics. He has brought all the insight of a Happy Hour to the question of this country's selection of friends and allies.
Let us make the crucial distinction: It is not as though Gen. Brown were rendering official views on the matters on which his civilian superiors and the public had every right to solicit his undoubted expertise. He has periodically been shooting off his mouth on things that he has not business meddling in.
Mr. Carter's press secretary, on Sunday, dodged the question of whether Gen. Brown still enjoys the confidence of the President. But in the final campaign debate, Mr. Carter in effect pardoned the general for lapses considerably more offensive than any in the recently revealed report, and called him "probably the outstanding military leader and strategits that we have in America today." So it is unrealistic to expect him to come down hard on Gen. Brown now - least of all, to call for his resignation. Press secretary Jody Powell's observation that these latest reported remarks, like the previous ones, were made before Jimmy Carter entered the White House may be about all the comfort that the general's detractors will receive. We take him to mean that Gen. Brown has been put on notice to confine his public - and even his semi-public - expressions of opinion to his particular areas of expertise.
Fortunately, in the long run, conditions may be looking up. For Gen. Brown is hardly typical of the kinds of well prepared, broad-gauged, politically aware younger officers who are increasingly available for leadership responsibilities in the post-Vietnam armed forces. In his unhappy lack of political sophistication, the presiding chairman of the Joint Chiefs is almost certainly something of an anachronism. He hardly personifies any prevailing "military mind", if there is such a thing (which we doubt). President Kennedy, in a gracious allusion to the youth of America, once took comfort in the thought that "time is on our side." That is what we prefer to believe about the coming leadership of the Pentagon.