I’d like to share an anecdote from many years back. When I was young, probably 7 or 8, I was enjoying (rather, not enjoying) a family meal. I was a very fussy eater as a child, and my mother, bless her soul, was a truly abysmal cook. As a result, meals were often confrontational at my house. One evening I refused to eat something that was on my plate (probably a mishandled canned vegetable) and my father, bless his soul, pulled out one of the hoariest clichés around: “Eat your food. Don’t you know there are starving children in India right now?”
Budding smart-aleck that I was, I turned to my father and responded, “Name five.” I did get a spanking for that comment, and given my impertinence it’s hard to fault Dad for doing so. However, the challenge was one he could not answer.
All these years later, that riposte still seems apt. As you’ve likely noticed, we can now name as many as six or seven retired military generals who have publicly criticized the performance of Donald Rumsfeld. That’s even more than five. Are you aware of how many retired generals, admirals, etc., there are? I’ve seen various totals, but generally the number is something like 7,000. Do these six or seven generals accurately reflect the views of the military? Or are they merely a small group of malcontents? Who knows? There’s no way to know, short of tracking down all of the old military men and women out there. Think that’s going to happen? Not likely.