"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

The Hon. Ike Skelton on Civil-Military Relations

November 13th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

By Rep. Ike Skelton

On April 11, 1951, President Harry S. Truman dismissed General Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander in the Far East, when the General’s views regarding the Korean War and China collided with those of the President.

The following day, my father—who was a Lexington, Missouri, lawyer and a friend of Truman’s since 1928—sent a telegram to the President, which read: “Your Lexington friends support you fully in relieving MacArthur. Those making political capital out of this incident will get nowhere. That you should have relieved MacArthur before now is the general opinion here.” In a letter dated two days later, President Truman responded to the telegram with a “Dear Ike” letter, thanking my father for supporting him on this “difficult decision.” This exchange of correspondence was an early lesson to me, Ike Skelton the younger, in civil-military relations.

The very high regard in which the American public holds our military forces is shared throughout the Congress. We are truly blessed to have the sorts of men and women serving us in uniform that we do. While this conference focuses on the roles of officers, I mean here to include the millions of amazing enlisted members and noncommissioned officers as well. They each come from such a wide variety of backgrounds but all of them grow to join the fabric of professionalism that is the hallmark of our military. That is partially because they all possess the same service ethic, and partially a testament to our great military institutions and leadership that refine the person into a true professional. Read more…

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Tags: Iraq War · Rep. Ike Skelton

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