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Exclusive–Jerry Boykin: Generals Should Resign to Protest Obama's Misuse of Military

Exclusive–Jerry Boykin: Generals Should Resign to Protest Obama's Misuse of Military


A new survey finds only 26 percent of those in the military community approve of the performance of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.  But the blame for this low approval rating extends higher up the chain of command.  

Retired Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the latest former Obama loyalist to write a tell-all exposé, knows this all too well. In his memoir, Panetta describes how he warned the President (to no avail) that allowing Iraq to slide into violence would create “a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S.”


This revelation should come as no surprise, but regrettably, it does. That’s because many Americans have been ignoring what’s really taking place in our troubled world. The books now being published only confirm what many people already knew — or at least suspected — regarding the character of Barack Obama. In reality, what is newly-exposed in these books is the lack of courage of the authors. One must contemplate the question of why these former Obama administration officials did not resign in protest when they realized the man they worked for was leading the nation in a dangerous direction and was making decisions that put the nation at risk.

So what should these less-than-courageous bureaucrats have done? Simply stated: resign in protest. 

The notion that they stayed because they thought their influence would be greater on the inside is nothing more than a cop-out. In fact, this line of reasoning is simply another indication of a lack of courage on the part of these tell-all authors, including Panetta. Attempting to persuade the public that you would have resigned if you had thought it would have made a difference is unconvincing. No, the answer is that they should have tendered their resignations in protest when they saw decisions and policies emerging that were dangerous, misguided, and not in the best interest of the country. This is a matter of principle.

Secretary of State Cyrus Vance did exactly that when he disagreed with President Jimmy Carter on the best way to get fifty-two American hostages out of the US Embassy in Tehran in April of 1980. He resigned to protest the rescue attempt that President Carter had ordered. That attempt failed when two aircraft collided in a remote desert airstrip inside Iran. While I do not agree with the wisdom of the late Mr. Vance on the prudence of military action, his resignation demonstrated personal moral courage.

Major General Jack Singlaub took similar action in 1977 when he publically criticized President Carter’s decision to withdraw US military forces from Korea. Carter relieved him for publically opposing a presidential policy. In going public about his disagreement with his Commander-in-Chief, Singlaub voluntarily laid his stars on the table, knowing that his career was over. But his honor was intact as a result of taking a stand on something that he felt strongly about. The same applies to Cyrus Vance.

So what about the current military leadership? Should some of them put their stars on the table and resign in protest of the ongoing deterioration of our military? Or how about the abuse of our men and women in uniform? Sending up to 4,000 service members to Liberia to fight Ebola is abuse. Consider that America has been at war for 13 years and our military has an all-time high suicide rate, out of control PTSD, and family disintegration at unprecedented levels. Now America will send these young men and women — who are not adequately trained to fight Ebola — on something that is NOT a military mission in the first place. In addition, the Obama administration has not announced a serious and coherent strategy to destroy ISIS. It is time for stars on the table, without delay.

What military professional wants to preside over the demise of America’s Armed Forces? One would assume that the answer to that would be none. Yet that is exactly what is happening. The passiveness of the current Joint Chiefs of Staff is giving support to the destruction of America’s war fighting capabilities. Programmed cuts in the military budget as well as cuts resulting from sequestration are reducing America’s readiness to a dangerously low level. And placing women in Infantry and Special Operations units is an irresponsible and reckless policy that will result in needless deaths and injuries in combat situations.

Possibly the most egregious issue is the attack on religious liberty, as the First Amendment rights of service members’ faith are being infringed on constantly. By embracing the foolish and destructive decisions of the Obama administration, the military leadership is contributing to and overseeing the downfall of our most important national security asset, the US Armed Forces.

It is past time for some resignations to protest the Obama administration’s damaging policies. The oath that each military member takes is to “Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” This is a serious and sacred oath and when you know that a policy is just plain wrong, then you are obligated by that oath to do something; that something is for military leaders to say to the President of the United States, “I can no longer support your ill-advised and reckless policies that I regard as threats to national security and the welfare of our men and women in uniform.”

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin is executive vice president at the Family Research Council.  He previously served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and was an original member of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force.

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