Matthew Yglesias has a good and subtle post making the point that the military plays such an outsized role in American politics that it’s hard for them to avoid placing a heavy thumb on the scale of public debate even when they don’t mean to do so. This is the heart of the point:

The slightest hint of disagreement between the White House and a commanding general in the field is a big-time news story, so for generals to speak about anything winds up being fraught with potential controversy that they’re not necessarily seeking.

Ah, but we in the media don’t have to play it as such. These are not laws of nature. We could, for instance, simply read the comments of the generals and treat them for… well, what they are. An input, deserving of respect, and not the Word. In my dealings with the military, I’ve tended to find that people in uniform find it more burdensome than beneficial to have the media treat their pronouncements as Major Events.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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