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Hmmm, it is indeed.  And the report says "generals and admirals."

From a military perspective, their resignations would be really the only appropriate ones.  That is the level at which the military interacts with its civilian commanders.  The same gesture by lower-ranking generals would be (a) a less powerful political symbol, and (b) perceived within the ranks as divisive and/or potentially endangering the command structure.

But the resignation of the Joint Chiefs would be an exceptionally powerful symbol.  To my knowledge, that option has only been seriously contemplated twice (as explained here), and so the possible repercussions of actually doing it are really just theoretical, but I think it's safe to say that "political earthquake" might describe it.  It is not an act that the Joint Chiefs would undertake outside of the most extreme circumstances.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 04:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wikipedia lists over 40 active-duty 4-star generals and admirals. And the Joint Chiefs of Staff are six (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Chair and Vicechair). By the way,
After the 1986 reorganization of the military undertaken by the Goldwater-Nichols Act, the Joint Chiefs of Staff do not have operational command of U.S. military forces. Responsibility for conducting military operations goes from the President to the Secretary of Defense directly to the heads of the Unified Combatant Commands and thus bypasses the Joint Chiefs of Staff completely.

Today, their primary responsibility is to ensure the readiness of their respective military services. The Joint Chiefs of Staff also act in an advisory military capacity for the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense. In addition, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff acts as the chief military advisor to the President and the Secretary of Defense. In this strictly advisory role, the Joint Chiefs constitute the second-highest deliberatory body for military policy, after the National Security Council, which includes the President and other officials besides the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Which means the chiefs of staff would not have to refuse an order, but they could resign with a statement to the effect that they have told the WH that they can no longer ensure readiness (Bush has broken the military) and the WH has ignored it. Assuming that were the case.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 04:51:58 AM EST
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Gah, of course they are.  I always forget about the vice chairman.

Yes, the resignation of the Joint Chiefs would be more symbolic than operationally debilitating, which is another reason why it would be more appropriate than the resignations of the combatant commanders.  Because one of the key roles of the Chiefs is advisory, it would be a sign that the president and secretary of defense were pursing a military course of action against the advice of their top military advisors.  It's hard to coherently argue that you're doing what's militarily necessary when your top military advisors are publicly saying the opposite....

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Feb 26th, 2007 at 05:30:04 AM EST
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