As U.S.-led airstrikes continue Friday near the Syrian border with Iraq, it's hard to imagine what would make the situation worse than the military suddenly losing all its generals. But that is exactly what Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) told a group of voters he wants to see happen, the Colorado Independent reported. "A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, 'Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let's have a resignation,'" Lamborn said Tuesday, adding that if generals resigned en masse in protest of President Barack Obama's Middle East policy, they would "go out in a blaze of glory."
Congressional Republican condemnations of President Obama's foreign policy are as common as the sunrise. Congressional Republicans urging active-duty U.S. generals to resign, during a war, to protest President Obama's foreign policy is something else entirely.
Look, I don't expect much from Lamborn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. After eight years in Congress, arguably his most notable legislative accomplishment is championing a House-approved measure to cut off funding for NPR.
For that matter, maybe the far-right Coloradan was just flapping his gums a bit, telling tall tales in the hopes of making himself look like a big shot in front of a group of local voters, but never actually doing what he claims to have done.
But if Lamborn was serious, and a member of the House Armed Services Committee actually met "behind the scenes" with U.S. military generals, suggesting they should resign in order to undermine U.S. foreign policy during a war, that's ... a little crazy.
It's not exactly clear from local reports what it is about Obama's foreign policy that Lamborn doesn't like, but under the circumstances, it doesn't much matter. If a member of Congress has concerns about a president's approach to international affairs, he or she has a variety of options, including introducing legislation limiting the scope of the administration's policy.
The options do not include -- or more to the point, the options aren't supposed to include -- meeting privately with generals, during a war, to urge them to "go out in a blaze of glory."
As it turns out, Lamborn is running for re-election against retired Air Force Gen. Irv Halter (D), who told the Colorado Independent, "Our elected officials should not be encouraging our military leaders to resign when they have a disagreement over policy. Congressman Lamborn's statement shows his immaturity and lack of understanding of the American armed forces. Someone who serves on the House Armed Services Committee should know better."
That's putting it mildly.
This is one of those rare instances in which it would be good news if a congressman was lying while boasting to voters.
Update: My colleague Kate Osborn talked to Corey Hutchins, Rocky Mountain correspondent for CJR's United States Project, who originally recorded Lamborn's remarks. Here's the transcript of the exchange:
VOTER: Please work with your other congressmen on both sides of the aisles and support the generals and the troops in this country despite the fact that there is no leadership from the Muslim Brotherhood in the White House. [applause] It was not necessarily a question but [unintelligible].
LAMBORN: You know what, I can’t really add anything to that, but do let me reassure you on this. A lot of us are talking to the generals behind the scenes, saying, ‘Hey, if you disagree with the policy that the White House has given you, let’s have a resignation. You know, let’s have a public resignation, and state your protest, and go out in a blaze of glory." And I haven’t seen that very much, in fact I haven’t seen that at all in years.