WS>>Adm Moorer re: Clinton

Carl W. Spitzer IV 75313.2601 at COMPUSERVE.COM
Fri Feb 5 11:42:55 MST 1999


WS>>Adm Moorer re: Clinton
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           Testimony  of  Admiral Thomas  H.   Moorer,  U.S.
          Navy  (retired),  Former  Chairman  of  the  Joint
          Chiefs of Staff, submitted to the House  Judiciary
          Committee 1 December 1998

          I  appreciate the Judiciary Committee's  invitation  to
     submit these comments on the corrosive effects on the  mili-
     tary's code of honor of having a Commander-in-Chief who  has
     admitted  misleading the nation.  The President, by his  own
     poor choices, has created a crisis of constitutional propor-
     tion within the same Armed Forces he is duty-bound to  lead.
     It is now up to Congress to solve this crisis by holding the
     President accountable.

          When I had the honor to serve as Chairman of the  Joint
     Chiefs  of Staff in the early 1970's, I was the senior  uni-
     formed  member of the United States Armed Forces.  As  such,
     like every other commissioned officer, I served "during  the
     pleasure of the President." Like every other officer, I also
     swore to "support and defend the Constitution of the  United
     States  against  all enemies foreign and domestic,"  and  to
     "bear  true faith and allegiance to the same.  .  .   .   So
     help me God."

          The  Committee is addressing today a  critical  problem
     within  the  Armed Forces that many civilians do  not  fully
     appreciate.    The  President  is  the   Commander-in-Chief.
     Although he does not wear a military uniform, he is a  mili-
     tary  leader.  In this regard, I urge the Committee  to  ad-
     dress  two fundamental issues of military leadership:  honor
     and  accountability.   Within the leadership of  the  United
     States  Armed  Forces,  these  virtues  are   indispensable.
     Without them, soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and civil-
     ians die unnecessarily.

          If the Committee finds that the Commander-in-Chief  has
     engaged  in conduct that undermines the  standards  Congress
     has  set for military leadership -- to which  the  President
     has already indisputably admitted-- I urge Congress to  hold
     the  Commander-in-Chief  accountable not only for  the  good
     order and discipline of the United States Armed Forces,  but
     also,  more fundamentally, for the survival of the  American
     Rule of Law.

          When  a military leader chooses to engage in  dishonor-
     able  conduct,  he  either resigns or is  removed  from  any
     position  of responsibility, i.e.   cashiered, by  those  to
     whom he is accountable.  In any event, military leaders  are
     accountable  for poor choices.  Military leaders also  serve
     as  role models for honorable and virtuous  conduct.   Their
     troops expect no less.  When the troops know a leader is not
     being held accountable for dishonorable conduct, the "corro-
     sive effect" is devastating on the good order and discipline
     of the Armed Forces.

          President  Theodore Roosevelt, who served as  Assistant
     Secretary  of the Navy, leader of the "Rough Riders" in  the
     Spanish-American War of 1898, as Vice President, and then as
     President  and Commander-in-Chief, said this about  American
     national greatness and leadership:

           The  stream will not permanently rise higher than  the
     main  source;  and  the main source of  national  power  and
     national  greatness is found in the average  citizenship  of
     the nation.  Therefore it behooves us to do our best to  see
     that  the standard of the average citizen is kept high;  and
     the  average cannot be kept high unless the standard of  the
     leaders is very much higher.

          Congress  is responsible for setting these  "very  much
     higher" standards of leadership for the United States  Armed
     Services.  Section 8 of Article I empowers Congress to "make
     Rules  for  the Government and Regulation of  the  land  and
     naval Forces." Congress is also responsible for holding  the
     Commander-in-Chief  accountable for "high crimes and  misde-
     meanors."

          Technical  legal  arguments that the  Uniform  Code  of
     Military  Justice  may not apply to  the  Commander-in-Chief
     miss  the point.  At issue are some of the first  principles
     upon  which our colonial forefathers pledged  their  "sacred
     honor."

          The First Article of the 1775 "Rules for the Regulation
     of the Navy of the United Colonies of North-America,"  which
     is  still public law (10 U.S.C.  5947), mandates that:  "All
     commanding  officers  and others in authority in  the  naval
     service are required to show in themselves a good example of
     virtue,  honor, patriotism, and subordination; .  .   .   to
     guard  against and suppress all dissolute and immoral  prac-
     tices, and to correct, according to the laws and regulations
     of the Navy, all persons who are guilty of them."  Likewise,
     the  current  congressional mandate  that  all  commissioned
     officers  comport to a higher standard of personal  behavior
     --  both  on  and off duty-- traces to  the  1775  "American
     Articles of War," which forbade officers from "behaving in a
     scandalous, infamous manner," and required that any  officer
     found  guilty  "of any fraud .  .  .   be ipso  facto  cash-
     iered, and deemed unfit for further service as an officer."

          A crisis of military discipline looms if any commander,
     by  his words and actions, promotes an adage that  "you  can
     engage  in whatever behavior you get away with, and even  if
     you're  caught, it's OK to evade accountability if  you  can
     get  away with that"; a constitutional crisis looms if  Con-
     gress does not hold all officers with full responsibility to
     a  standard of full accountability.  Responsibility  without
     accountability "according to law" undermines the core  foun-
     dation of the Constitution, the principle known as the  Rule
     of  Law (as opposed to the rule of men), without  which  our
     Constitution  is no more than a piece of paper.  By  defini-
     tion,  the Rule of Law cannot be influenced by public  opin-
     ion, whether through public opinion polls or otherwise.

          The  United States Armed Forces now have a more  funda-
     mental challenge to leadership training than simply instill-
     ing character traits adverse to lying, cheating, and  steal-
     ing: How do we instill in young leaders the moral courage to
     admit  when they are wrong and to accept accountability  for
     poor choices? Personal example by senior leaders, up to  and
     including  the Commander-in-Chief, is an essential  starting
     point -- and risk to personal ambitions is no excuse for any
     officer  of the United States Armed Forces to fail  in  this
     regard.

          I  urge  Congress  to consider the  high  standards  of
     personal  conduct  it has set for leaders  of  the  American
     military, and to hold the Commander-in-Chief accountable  to
     at  least those standards -- for the good order  and  disci-
     pline of the United States Armed Forces and for the survival
     of the American Rule of Law.

          The author is a retired four-star Admiral who served as
     Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1970-74.

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     Processed by WordSTAR for DOS 7.0 by Carl William Spitzer IV
                    GOD save America from herself
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