Although he mentions me at the beginning of it, little or nothing in Mac’s long post below addresses the comments I made on his original post, except what appears to be his grudging acknowledgement that Rumsfeld’s judgment was perhaps not perfect.
Having reached agreement on that point, there are lots of things that could be said in response to Mac’s long post. Here are two. 1) If good civil-military relations in a democracy mean that ultimately civilian preferences prevail, it does not follow that the military should not push back, as Mac put it, against civilians or that civilians should not "interfere" in military matters. 2) Regardless of how we apportion responsibility among civilians and the military for what has happened after 9/11, the media was not the problem. Nor was it the problem in Vietnam. That the media was and is the problem is a point of view that surfaces repeatedly in this blog (e.g. see the comments to Mac’s long post). I think both Mac and I agree that this is not the case. The problem is decisionmaking within the government.