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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
THE OBLIGATION TO SPEAK THE TRUTH

"I told these future leaders that speaking the truth could be painful and costly, but it was a duty. Often those who neeed to hear it won't like it and may even punish you for it; but you owed the truth to your country, your leaders and your troops.
I have been amazed that men who bravely faced death on the battlefield are later, as senior officers, cowed and unwilling to stand up for what is right or to point out what is wrong. There are many reasons for this, from careerism and the hope of personal gain, to political expediency, to a false sense of obedience, to a kind of "Charge of the Light Brigade" mentality: as long as guys are dying out there, it is morally reprehensible to criticize the flawed policies and tactics that put them in that predicament. Bull****.
...Careerism is corosive to the principle of truth telling. So is political expediency. In both cases, the hope of personal gain out weighs personal integrity and honor. "Don't rock the boat" leads to moral blindness about threats to the mission or the lives and welfare of the troops and of their families....
...Too many of our senior commanders have been "Stepford Generals and Stepford Admirals." They fail in their obligation to tell the truth. And when they do, they're villified. Recently the Army chief of staff testified that we would need 300,000 troops to pacify Iraq. Everybody in the military knew he was right. But the party line down from the Pentagon decreed the number was half that, and he was pilloried.
Incidents like that are not lost on our subordinates. Many are disgusted and disillusioned, and leave the service of their country. Others learn that following the party line is the course to high rank.
In the lead-up to the Iraq war and it's later conduct, I saw, at a minimum, true derilection, negligence, and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence, and corruption. False rationales presented as justification, a flawed strategy; lack of planning; the unnecessary alienation of our allies; the underestimation of the task; the unnecessary distraction from real threats; and the unbearable strain dumped on our overstretched military, all of these caused me to speak out. I did it before the war as a caution, and as an attempt to voice concern over situations I knew would be dangers, where the outcomes would likely mean real harm to our nation's interests. I was called a traitor and a turncoat by Pentagon officials. The personal attacks are painful, as I told those young midshipmen, but the photos of the casualties I see every day in the papers and on tv convince me not to shrink from the obligation to tell the truth."
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It was part of a lecture given to midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. It later ended up in a book. So yes, you could say it was an author.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ted Kennedy giving a lecture on "THE OBLIGATION TO SPEAK THE TRUTH"? That was a good one, CR!!!!! Very funny stuff!
 
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