Have retired top US military officials become substantially more outspoken and cited on political issues in the last decade?

The Politicus
Apr 04, 2022 11:33 PM 0 Answers
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Reading Politico's April 04, 2022 How two dozen retired generals are trying to stop an overhaul of the Marines and re-reading my own comment:

Retired yet notable military figures have recently becoming a quite significant voice in US discourse on both military and occasional political issues, (yes, as well as paid commentators for news outlets) so I think that retired ≠ unimportant.

and for example see CNN's October 21, 2020 He oversaw the bin Laden raid. See what he says about Trump featuring "Retired Navy Adm. William McRaven, the former head of US Special Operations Command..."

CNN/Tapper: Was it a difficult decision to announce that you're voting for Biden? This is the first time you've ever publicly weighed in on a presidential race.

McRaven: Well it was a difficult decision Jake to announce that I was voting. Obviously you know, as a senior retired military officer these are challenging times and there's a little bit of an unwritten rule that senior officers don't come out and endorse a candidate. However, I felt that the direction of the country was heading in such a bad direction that we need a new leadership, and that Joe Biden will be a much, much better leader than Donald Trump. (my transcription, emphasis added)

and which references his October 19 2020 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal Biden Will Make America Lead Again; We need a president with decency and a sense of respect

all make me wonder:

Question: Have retired top US military officials become substantially more outspoken and cited on political issues in the last decade?

"Outspoken" can include both individual speech (e.g. position pieces posted in major new outlets) and paid work as commentators and experts by major news outlets. "Cited" includes being quoted as sources on current issues.

Topics should be related to expertise gained in conjunction with their military service. McRaven's interview and WSJ piece are about the US Commander in Chief and from the perspective of leadership, an area that McRaven has considerable knowledge.

As always, answer should be fact-based and cite sources; presumably I'm not the only person who perceives this uptick and it will likely have been written about and checked. (this last paragraph was temporarily removed by an edit but I've restored it. I'm not looking for theories or asking for explanations, I'm asking for evidence that they have or have not.)

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  • April 4, 2022