Okay still more on


Okay, still more on this Boykin ridiculousness.

After writing the post below I read Fareed Zakaria’s excellent piece in Newsweek on what a no-brainer it should be to fire Boykin.

Then I noticed that there’s actually a debate going on as to whether there would be any constitutional restrictions on firing him — as in restrictions on 1st Amendment grounds (free speech or exercise of religion).

This strikes me as inane.

There may certainly be some constitutional issues in play for whether a general can be cashiered for expressing such views as Boykin has, though I strongly suspect they can. At a minimum I suspect he could be reassigned to a position in which he would not come into regular contact with people he believes are allied with Satan. (Eugene Volokh’s got a good run-down on this)

But in this case, Boykin isn’t a general. Or, rather, he’s wearing two hats. And the general’s hat isn’t the one that’s really at issue. He’s deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. In other words, he’s an appointee like anyone else. And the president can fire him for any reason under the sun.

As Zakaria notes, criticizing the Iraq war would have gotten anyone at the Pentagon canned in a second. No one denies that. But, according to some, saying the Iraq war was a righteous battle against Beelzebub should leave you in the clear.