A general’s overwrought response to a race hoax at the Air Force Academy was off-base.
American politics has been largely free of military influence since George Washington defused an incipient army mutiny at Newburgh, New York, in 1783. There have been relapses, including George McClellan’s presidential maneuverings before the 1864 election, and the insubordination of the politically ambitious Douglas MacArthur in 1951. But military deference to America’s elected civilian leadership has been so consistent for so long that even faint political activism by high-ranking officers stands out. Recently, a three-star air force general nudged up to, if not across, that thin line—taking to YouTube to accuse the institution, its cadets, and its staff of racism.