Okay, still more on this Boykin ridiculousness.
Then I noticed that thereâs 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 Volokhâs got a good run-down on this)
But in this case, Boykin isnât a general. Or, rather, heâs wearing two hats. And the generalâs hat isnât the one thatâs really at issue. Heâs deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence. In other words, heâs 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.