The video has gone viral. Social media filled up with messages from currently serving and retired officers applauding Silveria for showing unambiguous leadership especially in the wake of the racial violence in the Charlottesville.
One senior officer, who asked not to be identified posted on social media, “Leaders own problems. I’d follow this leader anywhere, anytime.”
In the wake of Charlottesville, the four-star heads of each military branch — Navy, Army, Air Force and Marine Corps — tweeted about their own zero tolerance for racism in the ranks.
President Trump tweeted that “The Fake News Networks are working overtime in Puerto Rico doing their best to take the spirit away from our soldiers and first R’s. Shame!”
This is the President of the United States openly suggesting the spirit of the American soldier, sailor, airman or Marine could be broken. No military officials I have spoken to in recent days can readily recall an instance of another president saying anything like this.
Even Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who has been reticent to speak publicly, acknowledged to Congress he differed with the President on the proposed total ban on transgender persons serving in the military: “I would just probably say that I believe any individual who meets the physical and mental standards and is worldwide deployable and is currently serving should be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve.”
Retired Col. Steve Warren, who served as a spokesman for Defense Secretary James Mattis, finally publicly decoded what has been happening in an interview on CNN’s “Reliable Sources.” It’s much more than reporters saying they don’t have access to information: “The secretary of defense is in a very tight spot,” Warren said. “The President has declared that the press is the enemy of the people, but on the other hand I think Secretary Mattis understands the Pentagon is responsible for more than half a trillion dollars every year. There’s a million American sons and daughters in harm’s way.”
“We expect — indeed, we require — a regular flow of detailed information about this war,” he said.
Nowhere is the potential harm of not speaking truth to power more dire than North Korea. The President recently tweeted he told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson “that he is wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man… Save your energy Rex, we’ll do what has to be done!”
The Pentagon has also strongly supported diplomatic action even as it plans for military action if needed. Top generals have consistently supported diplomatic efforts leading the way.
“It is beginning to look like some generals plan to keep saying exactly what they think as they exercise the military leadership they believe is fundamental, and if that means contradicting the commander in chief, then so be it.”
Lt. Gen Silveria said it best :
“Never forget who we serve. The Citizens of the United States.”