William McRaven: A warrior’s career sacrificed for politics


MORONI, Comoros (May 11, 2010) Ð Commander, Combined Joint Task ForceÐHorn of Africa, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Brian Losey congratulates a Comorian fisherman on completing Maritime Navigation training conducted by Maritime Civil Affairs Team 106 from Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, during a press conference in Moroni, Comoros. During the press conference, Losey and Comorian Vice President Idi Nadhoim presented the participating fishermen with certificates of completion. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Joshua Bruns/Released)

When I was a young boy my father, a veteran of World War II and Korea, schooled me on the downfall of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur, he explained, had overstepped his authority and shown blatant disrespect for the civilian leadership of the country. President Harry Truman relieved him of his command, and MacArthur retired soon thereafter.

Civilian rule of the military was one of the most fundamental principles of the armed forces. To believe differently was dangerous, my father told me. Dad strongly supported Truman’s action, and he made me understand the value of the civil-military relationship — a lesson I never forgot.

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