A response to Richard H. Kohn's "Out of Control: The Crisis in Civil-Military Relations", No. 35, Spring 1994.
Of all the problems facing the nation, a crisis in civil-military relations is not one of them and things are not out of control.
Mr. Kohn lays major responsibility for this non-crisis at my doorstep. I trust Mr. Kohn and the Republic are sleeping more soundly now that I have retired. I note that, to keep the pot boiling, in his last paragraph he takes a minor swipe at General Shalikashvili by an anonymous source.
I can assure your readers that Presidents Bush and Clinton, and Secretaries Cheney and Aspin, exercised solid, unmistakable civilian control over the Armed Forces and especially me. That's the way it should be and was. My activities as Chairman were always taken with the prior knowledge of my civilian leaders. It was not lost on me that Mr. Cheney had shown he knew how to fire generals. Mr. Aspin showed he could reject my recommendations because of broader issues he had to consider.
A more balanced article might have noted that both Presidents Bush and Clinton expressed satisfaction with the manner in which I provided my advice. By the way, it should be noted that President Clinton has been receiving rave receptions in his recent visits with the troops. Mr Kohn had better look for another "crisis" with more staying power.
On a factual note, Mr. Kohn was correct in noting that the biography about me by David Roth, Sacred Honor, showed me as the copyright holder. It should have occurred to Mr. Kohn that it was an error, since authors usually copyright in their own name. The publisher's error was corrected in the second printing. Mr. Roth holds the copyright on his work.Essay Types: Essay