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Thursday, January 19, 2017

If you can't take the heat

Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011, at 3:34 PM

I have taken some heat lately due to my opinions on certain issues. As the old saying goes, If you can't take the heat, then stay out of the kitchen.

Well, I'm still in the kitchen as you can tell. Most of us old timers know the origin of this phrase, for you younger ones, it was Harry S. Truman, and he is the subject of this blog.

I have a great deal of respect for this bespectacled, unassuming mid-westerner who was thrust into the national scene by the death of F.D.R. One of the things about this man that has earned my respect was the plaque on his desk that to this day should be a permanent fixture on the desk of The President Of The United States. THE BUCK STOPS HERE

That is a statement that says I take all responsibility for what I do with the power the people have given me. He is both vilified and revered for his actions during the Korean Conflict with regards to General Douglas MacArthur.

The question was what to do with an enormously popular general who openly questioned your decisions as Commander In Chief. I am of course referring to the question of invading China.

Now I have never really studied this episode in American history, but it does fascinate me.

I think I understand where the general was coming from. The desire for victory and the hatred of communism. After all, he was a military man, a General.

As far as Truman, I think I might understand where he came from. The reality was that invading China was a losing proposition. We would have been out manned, out gunned, and they had a very powerful ally. Conventional warfare was out. I'm sure that there those who argued the Nuclear Option. Thankfully they never had their way. If they had, none of us most likely would be here today.

So my question today is, Is it ever right for a person in the military to question, openly, a direct order from the commander in chief? What if that person questioned the commander in chief to their peers or subordinates? What if that same person openly defied the commander in chief and refused orders? I'm sure some of you might think I have gone off the deep end for bringing up this subject in a military community, but really, where better? Who better to answer these questions?

As always, all opinions are welcome. Please try and stay on topic, and do as I'm sure your mothers taught you, keep a civil tongue.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Not only outmanned and outgunned, but most likely other things to which MacArthur was not privy. As you is probably why we are here.

-- Posted by NonnyMouse on Wed, Aug 31, 2011, at 5:31 PM

Truman earned a place by recognizing Israel as a nation. He stood up for them when no one else would.

We need someone like him today.

-- Posted by KH Gal on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 10:07 AM


The short answer to your queries is no, it's not alright to openly question or defy direct orders from the Commander in Chief. The only exception is when that order is unlawful. Each military member, whether commissioned or enlisted, swears the below oath at the time of enlistment or reenlistment:

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

There are specific punishments set forth in the UCMJ for that offense:


Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.


Any person subject to this chapter who--

(1) violates or fails to obey any lawful general order or regulation;

(2) having knowledge of any other lawful order issued by any member of the armed forces, which it is his duty to obey, fails to obey the order; or

(3) is derelict in the performance of his duties;

shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

-- Posted by Amuzeme on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 11:18 AM

Amuzeme, Thanks for your comment. I would take your answer as a no. I am aware of things you posted, just not the sections or exact wording.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Thu, Sep 1, 2011, at 6:40 PM


The Supreme Court of the United States Of America, by virtue of the Constitution of the United States of America, is the only entity that can make the determination of constitutional or unconstitutional.

High School Civics 101.

This has nothing to do with the U.N.

Patton may have distrusted the Russians, but he never openly question his Commander, or his Commander in Chief.

Not trying to be a butt head Mike, just a Constitutionalist.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Sun, Sep 4, 2011, at 4:13 PM

That isn't the question Mike. The Commander in Chief is defined in the Constitution of the United States as the President of the United States. Active duty military are barred from holding said office. Retired military have been elected, the last one being Eisenhower. The military by constitutional limits have always been subject to civilian control for a reason.

-- Posted by royincaldwell on Sun, Sep 4, 2011, at 8:40 PM

As long as we are in a "not to be trivial" mood, George Herbert Walker Bush served in the Pacific Theater in WWII and his son, George "dubyah", for what it's worth, served in the Texas Air National Guard.

-- Posted by Ramjett on Sat, Sep 10, 2011, at 9:36 PM

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Thoughts from an old progressive
Roy Pratt
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Almost 65 and retired. Raised by an East Coast liberal. I am also a child of the sixties.