Monday, January 12, 2009

Best Ambassadors Are Civilians, Says Top Soldier

Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, believes the U.S.'s greatest persuasive power isn't its military. The 40-year Navy veteran was honored tonight by the Nixon Center at the Four Seasons in Washington. The AP covered:
Mullen said civilian agencies including the State Department deserve more money and support, because they can often do a better job of projecting American policy and ideas. It's tempting to turn first to the can-do military when problems arise, but Mullen said that the experience of the Vietnam War gives him "an acute understanding of the finite application of force abroad, as well as its impact at home."

Mullen did not mention more recent conflicts, such as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, although top military leaders have said both will be resolved mostly through political settlements.

"When called, our military has served the role of ambassador extremely well," Mullen told a Nixon Center audience.

"But our most effective ambassadors of peace in the future will not be those who wear uniforms, or bear arms. They will be our civilians."

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