Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 23, 2010

         The Constitution is very clear: "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States...."  They didn't have an Air Force back then, but he gets it too, of course.      Presidents sometimes discipline the generals who work for them.  President Lincoln, if I remember rightly, once wondered if he could borrow the Union Army for a few days as his general, George McClellan, didn't seem to be using it just then.  When China intervened in the Korean War to help the North, the American commander, General Douglas MacArthur, wanted to invade China.  President Harry Truman didn't want to do that and fired MacArthur.  Big flap, but everyone knew Truman was the boss.      So now comes General Stanley McChrystal, dissing the president and his top advisors. "Are you asking me about Vice President Biden?"  McChrystal is quoted as asking at one point, "Who's that?"  "Biden?" chimes in an aide,  "Did you say:  Bite Me?"  Come on, generals. Those are the kind of jokes sixth-graders make in the school newspaper.  You guys should be able to do better.      No one suggests Afghanistan is easy.  It resisted being a British colony for a century or so, resisted being a Soviet one after that and now resists us.  The place is full of war lords, little independent fiefdoms. The alleged head of it, Hamid Karzai, is by all accounts a crook and not a particularly powerful one at that.      There's plenty of room for argument about whether the surge worked and what to do next.  My own view, as I've said before would be to simply come home and let the Afghans sort it out.      But this kind of cheap magazine shot?  The Washington Post today quotes Eliot Cohen, an advisor in the Bush administration, as saying, "This is a firing offense."  Oh, hell, yes. 
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