Former General David Petraeus stated on the ABC News program "This Week" that it is the incumbent "right" of citizens to criticize the military. Petraeus emphasized the fact that the function of the military is to protect the rights of citizens to question and criticize the military and the government. Petraeus was referring to the Constitution and the First Amendment protections of Americans' rights to free speech. He also was referring to the First Amendment protection of Americans' rights to free assembly.

The retired general was reminding viewers that the military is not just protecting a population of citizens within the geographical boundaries of the United States, but that it also is protecting the ideals upon which the nation was founded, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

Petraeus sums it up

Petraeus summed it up this way: "I think we're all fair game," according to ABC News on Sunday. The underlying meaning of Petraeus' statement is that the Founding Fathers crafted the Constitution and the nation such that the military is subject to civilian control. The Commander-in-Chief of the military is a civilian who is elected by the People of the United States. The Founding Fathers set it up this way deliberately to ensure that the Commander-in-Chief, and thereby the People, have oversight over the military and the important and relevant decisions pertaining to it.

When the Founding Fathers set up the American government in this manner, they were mindful of the dangers of a "military run military." They had seen the manifestations of a military that runs itself with no civilian oversight in Europe.

The American Revolution had just concluded and Napoleon Bonaparte, a strong military leader, was quickly rising to power in France, unchecked by any semblance of civilian control. Consequently, civilian control of the military with an elected, civilian Commander-in-Chief, became the law of the land in the United States.

Unite behind our Gold Star families

General Petraeus urged President Donald Trump and the American People to unite behind the Gold Star families. Trump, whose chief confidant Steve Bannon was criticized by Senator John McCain, (R-Az.), for describing America as a land of "blood and soil," was the center of much consternation for his handling of a call to a grieving widow last week.

The widow, Myeshia Johnson of Florida, lost her husband, Sgt. La David Johnson, when he was killed in action in Nigeria earlier this month. According to Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, (D-Fla.), Trump stated to Myeshia Johnson, "He knew what he signed up for," according to ABC News on October 18, 2017. According to Congresswoman Wilson, Trump then concluded his remarks by saying that he guesses that "it still hurts."

The controversy over the alleged remarks by Trump still is brewing and is not likely to subside soon. Trump has denied that he ever said anything of the kind, and Wilson, whose claims are backed up by Myeshia Johnson and her mother-in-law, is sticking to her story as well.

Petraeus has advised his Chief Of Staff John Kelly to "turn down the volume" in his well-publicized public debate with Wilson over Trump's remarks to Myeshia Johnson.

Kelly has repeatedly denied that Trump said anything pertaining to Johnson's knowing what he signed up for in press conferences and interviews. Petraeus has advised Kelly to drop it and to focus on "what's important to the country overall," according to ABC News on Sunday.

Trump lashes out at Tillerson

While Petraeus is speaking about citizens' rights to criticize the military and the government, President Trump has been criticizing his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Senator Bob Corker, (R-Tenn.), told Trump not to "castrate Tillerson in public." Trump had overtly questioned Tillerson's efforts to negotiate with North Korea, calling them "a waste of time," according to The Huffington Post on October 13, 2017.

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