Tag Archives: Lloyd Austin

Back off … chumps!

There’s something off-putting about watching politicians grill battle-hardened military men in search of what I consider to be cheap political points.

That’s what I saw today as three distinguished warriors sat before a Senate committee to be questioned about their role in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Let me be clear about a key point. I subscribe wholly to the notion that civilian authority must remain central to the conduct of our military policy. However, when I watch politicians seek to dress down men of valor, well … it turns me off.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, a former Army four-star general, was one of the targets of the chumps serving on the Senate panel; so was Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; same for Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, commanding officer of Central Command, which has coordinates all military activity in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, sought to get Milley to admit whether he spoke to authors of books that have looked critically at the last days of the Donald Trump administration. Milley answered “yes” that he had spoken to the authors. Blackburn then asked whether he supported what they wrote. Milley said he hasn’t read any of the books.

That wasn’t good enough for Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, who then asked whether Milley was too busy being interviewed by the likes of Bob Woodward and Robert Costa to pay attention to the details of the Afghan War withdrawal. Hawley, ever the showman, then demanded that Milley and Austin resign their posts.


All three of these men have served their country with honor, valor and distinction. Milley has taken heat because of reporting in the book “Peril” that he gave his counterpart in China a heads up in the event of a potential attack by the United States in the waning days of the Trump administration. Good grief! He acted nobly as he sought to protect the United States against potential catastrophe!

Politics fuels everything these days. Hawley wants to run for president. He wants to make waves within the GOP so he takes this opportunity to question the integrity of genuine Americans heroes.



Rep. Gaetz pops off

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, who’s under investigation for alleged sex trafficking and for having sex with underage girls, needs to put a sock in his pie hole.

He has called Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin possibly “the stupidest person to ever serve in a presidential Cabinet.” Gaetz tore into the retired four-star Army general for decisions he made while he was in charge of Central Command and as defense secretary.

Gaetz, a Florida Republican, is known primarily for two things: for being a loudmouth and a blowhard and for being an unabashed supporter of the disgraced and twice-impeached former Liar in Chief.

One more point.

Gaetz has challenged the integrity and the honor of the first African-American ever to hold the office of defense secretary. Lloyd Austin served with honor and dignity during nearly 40 years wearing the military uniform.

What about Gaetz’s service to the country? Has he thrust himself into harm’s way?

Umm … no.

Lloyd Austin needs to lead DOD

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I will get to the point immediately. Lloyd Austin is an outstanding selection to become our nation’s next secretary of defense and the U.S. Senate should confirm him.

Indeed, Austin’s nomination from President-elect Biden comes with a caveat: He needs a congressional waiver to serve as the leading defense official in the government. Austin retired four years ago from the U.S. Army; federal law requires that defense secretaries need to have been out of the military at least seven years.

Austin served with honor and distinction. He was a four-star general. He led the Central Command before retiring from the Army. He has led men and women in combat. Austin would become the nation’s first African-American defense secretary.

I get the need to ensure civilian control of the military. Thus, Austin is now “Mr. Austin,” not “Gen. Austin.” He is a civilian.

Congress granted a waiver for Donald Trump’s first defense secretary, James Mattis, who needed the exemption because his service in the Marine Corps fell within the seven-year window. Mattis served well as defense secretary until he resigned in a major snit with the commander in chief.

I should note that my hope would be that future defense secretaries shouldn’t require the waiver that Austin will need. Future presidents, or even the president who’s about the take office, should be able to find competent, capable patriots to lead our military services who do not have the conflict that confronts Lloyd Austin.

Lloyd Austin, though, is highly regarded by the individuals who served under his command. The waiver should be granted. President-elect Biden needs a defense secretary he can trust. He found one in Lloyd Austin.

Let this patriot serve the nation.