Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

A Crisis in Civil-Military Relations?

I have a piece in today’s Wall Street Journal. It is an attempt to consider the implications of Bob Woodward’s new book.

As i say at the end of the piece, if Woodward’s account is true, we may be facing "the most serious crisis in civil-military relations since the Civil War. According to Mr. Woodward’s account, the uniformed military not only opposed the surge, insisting that their advice be followed; it then subsequently worked to undermine the president once he decided on another strategy.

"In one respect, the actions taken by military opponents of the surge, e.g. "foot-dragging," "slow-rolling" and selective leaking are, unfortunately, all-too-characteristic of U.S. civil-military relations during the last decade and a half. But the picture Mr. Woodward draws is far more troubling. Even after the policy had been laid down, the bulk of the senior U.S. military leadership -- the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, the rest of the Joint Chiefs, and Gen. Abizaid’s successor, Adm. William Fallon, actively worked against the implementation of the president’s policy.

"If Mr. Woodward’s account is true, it means that not since Gen. McClellan attempted to sabotage Lincoln’s war policy in 1862 has the leadership of the U.S. military so blatantly attempted to undermine a president in the pursuit of his constitutional authority. It should be obvious that such active opposition to a president’s policy poses a threat to the health of the civil-military balance in a republic."

Of course, everything depends on the veracity of Woodward’s account.

Discussions - 2 Comments

This is a very interesting concept that is brought up here. I want to think that it is encouraging somewhat to have a military that is not carrying out the orders of the emperor without hesitation. Do we really want a military that is capable of the sort of death and horrific destruction seen in the 20th century based on the idea of carrying out orders. However, is this an attempt shift the blame? Or is this the reason for CAP. A program that will allow for Mexican and Canadian military to take on marshal law functions to put down disruptions of the peace in our country. Begining next month Northcom will break the century old rule about using troops as police in America. There may be some patriots in the military that have a problem with this. The comparison to the Lincoln and little Mac may be a very accurate portrayal, but if that is the case then what is the vision that the uniformed military has that differs from the emperor. The answering of this question seems to me to be the heart of the issue. Im just kidding when I replace president with emperor, but the disgust that stems from violating his orders made me go that way.

I want to think that it is encouraging somewhat to have a military that is not carrying out the orders of the emperor without hesitation.


We have a lawfully elected President, Brutus. Not an "emperor". When you come out with this sort of moonbat nonsense it encourages people to disreagrd everything else you say. Try taking that into account before vomiting your emotions all over the web.

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