The Eclectic Quill

July 27, 2008

Politicizing the Pentagon—How Bush-McCain Threaten Democracy

Filed under: Politics — Kelly @ 10:24 am

One of the principle reasons that the United States has been the most stable government in the world, and has the longest standing constitution is the role of the military has always been a non-political one. There are times when Generals became Presidents and there are times when Presidents have usurped the will of Congress in its utilization of the military, such as Iran Contra. There are even times when the President has usurped the will of the Supreme Court in regards to the military, such as Andrew Jackson’s famous quote "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it." At least to this point whatever abuse there has been of the natural link between the military and the commander in chief it has been one sided and the military has remained apolitical. In the last eight years that has greatly changed. In fact while the Beltway crowd focuses on the ridiculous question of whether Obama dodged his meeting with the troops because he "couldn’t bring a camera with him" they miss the much greater, much more dramatic question of, Why did the Pentagon wait until the last minute to say anything to Obama?" This is a crucial question because it is related to the larger, systemic issue of the politicizing of the Pentagon.

From making it clear to the Pentagon in its treatment Generals like William Fallon and Eric Shinseki , to General Mullen essentially campaigning in uniform for McCain on Fox News , the Bush Administration is making it more and more clear that they desire a partisan Pentagon and that your career depends not on how effective you are in your job, but in how loyal you are to the Bush Administration and its policies. This is beyond frightening, this is Kremlin! To have policy interwoven with a selective military endorsement is actually a threat to true democracy. When the Pentagon starts participating in disingenuous manipulation of the election process by manipulating events and by appearing in uniform on talk shows, it is one step closer to military rule.

Is it there? No, of course not, but it is getting closer to there. From having free speech relegated to "zones" where no one is heard, to debating, vindicating and even legalizing things like torture , eavesdropping, and suspending habeas corpus —things which were unthinkable eight years ago—are now accepted. Right now it might be unthinkable that the military would be used to prop up an unelected head of state but recent history shows us that the unthinkable can become thinkable fairly quickly. (While Obama has made compromises in some of these votes it should be remembered that there is considerable nuance involved.) The Pentagon’s recent antics are one step further down that road. We have been asked to sacrifice the freedoms for which are troops are supposedly fighting. The American people now need to be careful that in trying to "advance democracy" in the Middle East we don’t lose that at home as well. If anyone needs a reason to vote for Obama the Pentagon’s attempts to manipulate the election process should stand alone as sufficient reason. Democracy simply can’t survive another four years of Bush-McCain.


1 Comment »

    This should scare you ….

    Comment by Stan Earl — July 27, 2008 @ 1:35 pm | Reply

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