The data show a public enormously deferential to the military on issues of war strategy, and supportive of the military having a broader role than traditional civil-military relations allows for. The public does not share experts’ concerns about retired military officers endorsing political candidates or speaking at political conventions, because the public has outsourced its expertise to the military itself.
[There are] growing worries that Mattis, Kelly and McMaster are most recently showing that military officers are ill-suited for positions that require years of nuanced political experience and a deft handling of public opinion. Each of the three were gifted combat officers: Mattis and Kelly were brilliant commanders during Operation Iraqi Freedom; McMaster is celebrated as a courageous tank commander during the first Gulf War. Now we are asking that these three show the same expertise they showed on the battlefields of Iraq in selling the budget of the largest institution of the U.S. government, defending a president who mishandled a phone call with a grieving wife and coordinating a complex and often balky national security bureaucracy. Perhaps we are expecting too much. Or perhaps Mattis, Kelly and McMaster are, to use a military phrase, “out of their lane.”
For all of the talk of Mr. Kelly as a moderating force and the so-called grown-up in the room, it turns out that he harbors strong feelings on patriotism, national security and immigration that mirror the hard-line views of his outspoken boss. With his attack on a congresswoman who had criticized Mr. Trump’s condolence call to a slain soldier’s widow last week, Mr. Kelly showed that he was willing to escalate a politically distracting, racially charged public fight even with false assertions.And in lamenting that the country no longer holds women, religion, military families or the dignity of life “sacred” the way it once did, Mr. Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general whose son was killed in Afghanistan, waded deep into the culture wars in a way few chiefs of staff typically do. Conservatives cheered his defense of what they consider traditional American values, while liberals condemned what they deemed an outdated view of a modern, pluralistic society.
Nearly one in four troops polled say they have seen examples of white nationalism among their fellow service members, and troops rate it as a larger national security threat than Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new Military Times poll . . .Concerns about white nationalist groups were more pronounced among minorities in the ranks. Nearly 42 percent of non-white troops who responded to the survey said they have personally experienced examples of white nationalism in the military, versus about 18 percent of white service members.When asked whether white nationalists pose a threat to national security, 30 percent of respondents labeled it a significant danger, more than many international hot spots, like Syria (27 percent), Pakistan (25 percent), Afghanistan (22 percent) and Iraq (17 percent).But a notable number of poll participants also bristled at the assertion that white power ideology is a real problem.