Generals aren't in charge

Recently the Republicans, determined to escalate the war in Afghanistan, have insisted that Gen. McChrystal, commander of the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, be called in to testify before Congress.

The general has openly called for the deployment of tens of thousands of additional American troops. His public calls are themselves a problem - which we will get to in a moment.

President Obama has let it be known that his administration is conducting a review of its strategy and tactics in Afghanistan and will not be bullied into making a quick decision. The GOP, of course, wants to use testimony by the general to beat up on the president and pressure the administration into making a bad decision.

Even Karl Rove got into the act by saying that if it were up to former President George W. Bush, the opinion of the generals would be paramount.

Rove must have forgotten that even when his "hero" was in office the generals were told "no" when they asked for more troops in Afghanistan.

But that's all beside the point.

The last time we checked, we still had a constitution in this country. That constitution still indicates that the president, in this case Barack Obama, is the commander-in-chief of the nation's armed forces and that it is his job to tell the generals what to do. The generals, in fact, have no business, under that constitution, leaking word out to the press or anyone else about what they want and don't want on the battlefield.

When Gen. MacArthur did that during the Korean War he was removed by President Truman. For their own cynical political purposes Republicans would destroy one of the basic tenets of U.S. democracy - the armed forces are subject to the will of the people as represented by our elected, civilian government.

 

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