Friday, July 19, 2013

Apparently you can't get confirmed as Chair of the Joint Chiefs if you believe in civilian control of the military

Every once in a while, I am reminded that this country really dodged a bullet when McCain lost in 2008:
Senator John McCain said Thursday that he intended to block President Obama’s nomination of Gen. Martin E. Dempsey to another two-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mr. McCain made his announcement after he and the general had a testy exchange over whether the Obama administration was doing enough to assist the Syrian rebels.
What exactly about Dempsey has gotten McCain's goat? It was this:
Mr. McCain opened his talk with General Dempsey with a pointed question: “Do you believe the continued costs and risks of our inaction in Syria are now worse for our national security interests than the costs and risks associated with limited military action?"
General Dempsey said the administration had been active in supporting Syrian rebel forces, and described his role as advising the president on the risks and benefits of military options. But he emphasized that only the civilian leadership could order military action
“I am in favor of building a moderate opposition and supporting it,” General Dempsey said. “The question whether to support it with direct kinetic strikes is a decision for our elected officials, not for the senior military leader of the nation.”
In all fairness to McCain, I don't think he's actually opposed to civilian control of the military. He's just opposed to the civilian who currently controls it. You know, the guy who was definitively elected twice by the American people, which happens to be another part of the whole civilian-control-of-the-military thing.