Some thoughts on former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer's letter acknowledging his termination.
"Now more than ever. the United States Navy and Marine Corps stands ready and firm in every part of the globe."
That's supposed sound noble and encouraging. To me, it does not. I see it as declaring that the United States is not a friendly partner in the world, but a military hegemon with all the perversions of thinking that all such hegemons succumb to.
"The rule of law is what sets us apart from our adversaries."
Ideally. Sadly, in practice it often does not. From subverting democratically elected socialist government to supporting authoritarian non-socialist governments, to formally endorsing torture, the U.S. often falls short of setting itself apart from its enemies.
"I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took in the presence of my
family, my flag and my faith to support and defend the Constitution of the United States."
This is the heart of the letter, and its soundest part. Amidst a good deal of boilerplate and purple language, this almost gets lost. But it is crucial, and should have been more clearly emphasised.
"The President deserves and should expect a Secretary of the Navy who is aligned with his vision for the future of our force generation and sustainment."
No. By the very words of his prior sentence he has already foreclosed the possibility of this statement. As a general rule, yes, presidents deserve and can expect that. But in the particular case of a president who violates the good order and discipline that Spencer believes is necessary and who commands the Secretary of the Navy to violate is oath, no, no president deserves that.
It's a curious letter. Spencer needed an editor. I particularly liked his statement about troops who would be missing Thanksgiving because they were "over the horizon," which taken literally could mean they were only about 3 miles away. Yes, I'm a curmudgeon who doesn't like such overly dramatic writing (except when done in jest). But even more, there's an absolutely crucial point in that letter that he almost obscured. I do think the media is emphasising that point, though, and I appreciate that.