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Praise the Lord and Pass the Pink Slips

Marlboro Marine / Facebook
• August 4, 2014 12:20 pm

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On Friday—naturally—the U.S. Army announced that it would continue its recent round of lay-offs within its officer corps. Having recently shown 12,000 captains the door, it is now moving on to the next highest rank, majors. According to the Associated Press:

About 550 Army majors, including some serving in Afghanistan, will soon be told they have to leave the service by next spring as part of a budget-driven downsizing of the service.

Gen. John Campbell, the vice chief of the Army, acknowledged Friday that telling troops in a war zone that they're out of a job is a difficult task […]

The Army declined to say how many majors will be notified while they are at the battlefront.

"The ones that are deployed are certainly the hardest," Campbell told reporters. "What we try to do there is, working through the chain of command, minimize the impact to that unit and then maximize the time to provide to that officer to come back and do the proper transition, to take care of himself or herself, and the family."

As majors, those on the block have between ten and fifteen years of service in the Army. They have been the junior officers actually leading troops in battle or providing on-the-ground support for the combat troops during the last decade of war. The Army is letting go more than 5,000 years of wartime experience.

These officers were, in some cases, only five years from qualifying for a pension. And in numerous cases, as the report notes, these soldiers are actually fighting the war right now. Here’s hoping they have Internet access at their outposts: It’s time to get the old LinkedIn profile up to date! And in case the people of Afghanistan needed any more evidence that the United States really, truly does not care about their fate: Here it is.

There is no word yet on how many generals are getting the boot.

While it is easy—and appropriate—to criticize the Army for failing to protest these cuts sufficiently, and then for making them in a way that penalizes those who have actually been doing the fighting and protecting those who have not, ultimately the Army’s budget and end strength are not up to the Army.

That is a matter for the secretary of Defense, the president, and the Congress. And, according to both common sense and a bipartisan consensus of defense experts, they are going too far.

It seems unnecessary to recite the ever-growing laundry list of crises around the world. To summarize: basically nothing is going well for U.S. foreign policy and the liberal world order on any continent except—maybe—Antarctica.

The premise of the president’s foreign policy is that, rather than preventing global instability, America has been its principal cause. It’s an idea that has been proven false by the violent consequences of our global retreat. Now it looks like we won’t have much of an Army to deal with whichever crisis boils over first.

Incidentally, 100 years ago today, the Kaiser invaded Belgium and, as a result, the UK declared war on Germany. We planned to stay out of that one, too.