Alexis de Tocqueville once remarked that in a democracy, the greatest pacifists are the generals. In America, this has often been true but rarely obvious. Our time-honored and intense tradition of civilian supremacy means that senior officers, active or retired, rarely express misgivings or dissenting opinions in public — certainly not while a war is going on. And yet, since mid-March, we have witnessed a veritable ‘Revolt of the Generals,’ a situation having nothing to do with men on horseback but, potentially, a great deal to do with offering some perspective and restoring some sanity to this increasingly war-weary republic. Retired generals are speaking out against this war and the civilian leadership that thought it up and messed it up. Retired, yes. But all senior generals are (or at least consider themselves) members of a rather exclusive club, and when they speak out, it’s not impossible that they express the opinions of their active peers. The list is impressive. In a New York Times op-ed column, retired Major Gen. Paul Eaton, who helped revive the Iraqi army, described Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as ‘incompetent strategically, operationally and tactically’ and called for his resignation. Retired Lt. Gen. […]

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