The spectacle of retired General Officers (GOs) and Admirals (Flag Officers – FOs) criticizing (far more often than not in one direction) political developments is becoming a regular staple of American discourse. The traditional line of separation between Service and politics while in uniform is fraying drastically.
Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni from the 1990s was perhaps one of the prototypical soft “political” GO/FOs. He seemed omni-present during the Clinton years and after retiring, became involved in a number of official/semi-official appointments, even for President George W. Bush, but there did always seem to be a party leaning on Zinni’s part.
This repeatable process of rolling out GO/FOs was refined by the Democrats during the mid-term election for President George W. Bush in 2004. In some ways it was characterized as the “Angry Generals” who were always angry. They were angry about President Bush, they were angry about Iraq, they said they were angry about being lied to (although many had fully been involved in the intelligence and planning for the Iraq Invasion), and so on…
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