Jim Webb As Trump’s Defense Secretary Would Be A Nightmare For Both

The Long March

A painting of then-Senator Jim Webb

The other day there was a report that former Senator Jim Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran who briefly was Navy secretary during the Reagan Administration, might become President Trump's next secretary of defense.

Trump denied the report over the weekend, but reality with him changes every day, so that's not dispositive. But he may be right this time — I don't think it is going to happen.


Here's why. Yes, Webb's world view and values overlap neatly with Trump's base. He is at heart an Appalachian nationalist resistant to recent cultural changes.

But I've known Webb for decades, and there are two major differences that I think would outweigh that. First, he despises Ivy League elites who used their wealth and privilege to get out of serving in Vietnam, such as, for example, President Bone Spurs. He once told me has more respect for people who went to jail for their antiwar beliefs. (If you haven't read Webb's novel Fields of Fire, you should. You can see it tucked behind his hand in his official Navy secretary portrait, above. And yes, on the left side, over his shoulder, that's a portion of a North Vietnamese battle flag.)

A more contemporary difference is that Webb prides himself on telling the truth, while Trump seems to pride himself on changing his story as often as possible.

My two predictions are that Webb won't take the job, but that if he does, he won't last 12 months. I just have this image of him in the Oval Office, holding Trump in a headlock and giving him noogies.

Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.

The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.

During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.

"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."

"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."

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Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011. (Reuters photo)

Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.

Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.

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(Associated Press photo)

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.

Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.

Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."

"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.

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U.S. Army Rangers resting in the vicinity of Pointe du Hoc, which they assaulted in support of "Omaha" Beach landings on "D-Day," June 6, 1944. (Public domain)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."

Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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Senior Airman Marlon Xavier Cruz Gonzalez

An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.

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