Whose Commander?

Another Saturday Night and I ain't got nobody. . .

Meh. . . What the hekk, eh. There's some groovin' music on the tube and, during a break from reading Dawkins' latest*, I found a damn fine NYTimes Op-Ed to read and share.
Op-Ed Contributor
At Ease, Mr. President
Published: January 27, 2007

Evanston, Ill.

WE hear constantly now about “our commander in chief.” The word has become a synonym for “president.” It is said that we “elect a commander in chief.” It is asked whether this or that candidate is “worthy to be our commander in chief.”

But the president is not our commander in chief. He certainly is not mine. I am not in the Army.


When Abraham Lincoln took actions based on military considerations, he gave himself the proper title, “commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” That title is rarely — more like never — heard today. It is just “commander in chief,” or even “commander in chief of the United States.” This reflects the increasing militarization of our politics. The citizenry at large is now thought of as under military discipline. In wartime, it is true, people submit to the national leadership more than in peacetime. The executive branch takes actions in secret, unaccountable to the electorate, to hide its moves from the enemy and protect national secrets. Constitutional shortcuts are taken “for the duration.” But those impositions are removed when normal life returns.

But we have not seen normal life in 66 years. The wartime discipline imposed in 1941 has never been lifted, and “the duration” has become the norm. World War II melded into the cold war, with greater secrecy than ever — more classified information, tougher security clearances. And now the cold war has modulated into the war on terrorism.

There has never been an executive branch more fetishistic about secrecy than the Bush-Cheney one. The secrecy has been used to throw a veil over detentions, “renditions,” suspension of the Geneva Conventions and of habeas corpus, torture and warrantless wiretaps. We hear again the refrain so common in the other wars — If you knew what we know, you would see how justified all our actions are.

But we can never know what they know. We do not have sufficient clearance.

[Hopefully, and unlike me, you're having too much fun on a Saturday night to read this until Sunday morning. {-;]

* I'm halfway through Chapter 8 - What's Wrong With Religion? Why Be So Hostile?

The above Op-Ed exemplifies the kind of fuzzy thinking and easy manipulation which religious belief in the general populace makes ever so likely.

The Clinton Years held so much promise with the ending of the Cold War, then this muddle headed Chimperor sets up his "War on Terror" baffoonery and sets this nation back decades. What IS needed is for the U.S. to face the facts of how our imperialism causes so much grief amongst nations which don't share our economic and cultural values and reevaluate OUR presence and activities in those parts of the world.

Who knows, perhaps if we get
our shit together, then a lot of those folks might just decide to play follow the leader. Even if that scenario ain't bloody likely to unfold, at least we could focus our dollars and sense (pun intended) upon the many parts of the world where our professed values are shared.



  1. What I'm reminded of, is the old school war mongers are dying off, which will leave those of us who've grown to see that killing isn't the answer to much of anything.
    Only then will the road be clear of people like Bush and his co-horts!

    Not to mention pressure on the big corporations manipulating most everything! We can only hope on this one too.

  2. The stumbling and bumbling of Bush wouldnt have been so bad had it not been cloaked in lies and manipulations. You can understand mistakes like Torah Borah, but it is hard to comprehend something as bad as the invasion of Iraq and all the hocus pocus behind it.

  3. I agree about the "dying off" bit, Coffee. Evolution is a Long, Slow process though. As Dawkins' points out, Hitler and Stalin were incredibly heinous "leaders", but Historically speaking they were pretty run-o-the-mill political mass murderers.

    'Twas their tech which allowed the numbers of their victims to be so phenomenally high; not merely the depravity of their ideologies.

    Speaking of "depraved ideologies", eh Nony. The only thing which made their insanity possible was the MSM's Utter and Complete failure to concern itself with reality over the Admin's disingenuous framing of America's National Interests.

  4. That's a good song though. How I wish I had someone to talk to - thank goodness for blogging, right?

  5. RAmen to that!

    Sunday was a pretty good day. Nothing external changed. I think I just finally managed to pulled my emu-head outta my ass again re: my relationship woes. Here's to keepin' it out! :)

    But JEEZ! I left out an important bit in reply to Coffee. The reason I even mentioned Hit'n'Stal was to suggest that the sensibilities of people in general have become finer than they were in the past.

    What would've once been acceptable behavior to most folks - human sacrifice, witch burnings, auto de fays, the gas chamber, the lynch mob - have become more repugnant to a critical mass of folk. Because we've learned more about empirical causes and effects, we accept less dubious means of inflicting Justice on our fellows.

    Bu$hCo's abandonment of Constitutional protections for the American populace, as despicable and self-serving to his ends as it has been, is still more subtle than the internment of Japanese Americans by FDR, a President whom I think extremely admirable for A LOT of reasons: unlike the hairless ape currently residing in the White House.

    There. I hate leaving omissions like that lying around.



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