Follow The Leader
Over the weekend, President Trump fired Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer for cause. Three completely different explanations have been given to the public regarding the decisive move by the President. The funny part is that three are worthy of getting the ax.
The first was the President’s own tweet that he was not pleased with how Spencer handled the war crimes case against Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher and cost overruns on multiple Navy contracts.
Chief Petty Officer Gallagher was found innocent of murdering a terrorist in his court martial. Yes... murdering a terrorist. How one faces murder charges against an enemy in a time of war is beyond the paygrade of this writer but it is what it is from the chair of some smug Pentagon warrior who visits a battlefield like children a theme park.
Gallagher was only found guilty of taking a selfie with the dead body of an ISIS terrorist he was acquitted of murdering. President Trump also mentioned in his tweet of Spencer's inability to contain cost overruns on Navy contracts as directed by Trump himself.
It is worth mentioning that the President recently pardoned Gallagher and restored his rank in light of the fact the Navy admitted to botching the case against Gallagher. It has also been reported the Navy sought to cover up the ineptitude by awarding military decorations to the Navy Prosecutors who failed miserably at their one job.
The marble busts of the military in the eyes of the civilian world should never imply infallibility in the execution of military justice. Plenty of military officers couldn't lead an army of ants but orders are orders and they are meant to be obeyed if lawful. Good order and discipline is essential to the morale of a military unit.
The second reason given for Spencer's sacking was given by Pentagon officials who declared in a statement that Spencer had privately made a backroom offer to the White House to allow Gallagher to retire as a Navy SEAL with his Trident (the qualification badge that allows a SEAL to be a SEAL ) insignia.
This proposed deal went around the Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper, who Spencer answered to directly. This in and of itself is breaking the chain of command which is a big "no go" in the military. Spencer effectively hung his own boss out to dry by trying to get to the president directly. This too does not bode well for someone who wants to keep their job.
The third reason given came directly from a letter from Spencer that was released on Sunday. Spencer said he had been given an order that he could not in "good conscience" obey.
In the military, orders which are determined to be lawful; can be given to subordinates by their superiors. Full stop. The end.
There is no escape clause from obeying an order predicated on the conscience of those individuals ordered to carry it out. In fact, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is quite clear on each of those explanations given to the public as being the reason for Spencer's abrupt dismissal.
The UCMJ declares it a court marshalling offense to ignore the lawful orders of a superior, engage in behavior suggesting a dereliction of duty, or engage in conduct unbecoming of one’s position and authority.
It doesn't matter which of the three reasons one decides to select. The notion is superfluous. The President does not need justification to fire anyone in his cabinet. The President is the Chief Executive.
Each cabinet official serves at the privilege of the President of the United States. It is the privilege of the President from which authority is gained. The President cannot manage every facet of government personally. The President conveys the authority of his office to those serving under him as Cabinet Secretaries. If your boss tells you to do something that is legal under the law - you had better say "Yes Sir" if you want to avoid being unemployed.
A cabinet member’s job is to follow the leader. The leader being the President of the United States.