The President of the United States serves as the Commander in Chief of the armed forces and of the militia when it is called into federal service. It is an important marriage of the concept of civilian control of the military and was designed by our Founders to keep the military in check because the Founders were suspicious of standing armies.
Samuel Adams put it this way in 1768:
“Even when there is a necessity of the military power, within a land, a wise and prudent people will always have a watchful and jealous eye over it”
And Elbridge Gerry, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, stated:
“standing armies in time of peace are inconsistent with the principles of republican Governments, dangerous to the liberties of a free people, and generally converted into destructive engines for establishing despotism.”
The Founders established a Constitution that gave all three branches of government some portion of control over the military so that no one branch could use the military for its own agenda. For example, the Legislative raises and supports the Army and Navy and provides its funds and rules. It also has the authority to declare war.
The Executive enforces the rules established by the Legislative and has control over how they are used; the Commander in Chief commands them. These checks are supposed to keep us from rash decisions about war and quick use of our armed forces.
This has played out recently with the Syrian chemical agent use issue.
The Syrian issue has shown more than the Constitutional conflict. The crisis has also shown an uneasy relationship between Obama and the nation’s military leaders.
The military, while declaring it is prepared to execute any order given (I assume they mean any lawful order), has also expressed displeasure at a strike that would allegedly be punitive and have no clear goals. There is worry that things could escalate and require a larger response or the movement of troops into the area.
The article points out that there is a feeling among the leaders that the military has been burned with half measures. There is disgust over the way Iraq has been handled and there is concern over Afghanistan.
The military, in other words, has lost faith in its civilian leader.
This should come as no surprise as Obama (who appoints many people who feel as he does) is not a fan of the military. He is a typical liberal and has a dislike and a distrust of the men and women in uniform. He has never served and he has never been a leader.
There is weakness at the top and the military can see it.
It must have frosted many of our leaders to see Putin wax Obama’s ass over Syria. The military does not like to see a foreign leader’s footprint on its Commander’s ass.
While many people looked to Obama to lead them out of the desert and into the Promised Land they are now seeing that Obama cannot lead.
George Bush once said that history would make its decision about him.
Members of the military seem to bringing that sentiment home as many report that, unlike Obama, “…Bush had his stuff together.” They report that when he made a call, whether good or bad, at least he was making it.
History seems to have arrived sooner than one might have thought.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Obama took charge of people who did not want him to begin with and he has done nothing to boost their confidence in him.
They probably feel like I do. Obama sees the military as his pawns.
And they don’t think he knows how to play the game.
Never surrender, never submit.