Heads up, Phil, the more you attack and demean our Commander in Chief, the more you reveal your own deep dissatisfaction with your own life, your own self and most likely your own upbringing.My November 22nd post had implored the president to condemn police violence against Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, as he has against police violence in other countries, over the course of 2011's growing crescendo of civil disobedience against entrenched power.
It wasn't the first time I had seen a civilian describing this president as "our commander-in-chief." But it was the first time here. Back during the Bush era one would see his supporters at blogs and comment sections to news articles referring to W in the same way. But these comments elevating Obama to this somewhat dangerously mythic status seem to be a new development.
The term "commander in chief" is addressed specifically in the U.S. Constitution. Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 states, in part:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States
That is the way our system has worked since the Constitution was ratified on September 13th, 1788. Even during the depths of our Civil War, between the battles of Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, the President was only the commander of the military forces and their direct auxiliaries.
The current enabling legislation for fighting war is the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (AUMF), from October 16th of that year. Given that, with factual information taken into account, the Iraq War is an illegal war of aggression, and that the information given to Congress that was used to enact the AUMF was intentionally falsified, the expansion of war powers given to the military's Commander-in-Chief is as questionable as the reasons for the war.
II. The AUMF has been used as a guise to do many illegal acts, but to see supporters of Obama now morph the total war forever culture that has emanated from this horror into "Obama is our commander-in-chief" is disturbing.
People pushing Obama as some sort of military and anti-terror savant often claim that he is pulling us out of Iraq. They are wrong. Obama seriously fought to abrogate the force withdrawal agreement negotiated between the USA and Iraq before he became President. We're getting kicked out, in spite of Obama's efforts to keep us there until .... ?
People pushing Obama as some sort of military genius are having a hard time convincing rational people that there is any good news in Afghanistan. But Obama did manage to negotiate lengthening our prolongation there of the longest war in US history, even as there are no signs of either something we might declare as victory, or respite for the Afghans themselves.
People pushing Obama or the USA as having been the vital part in the Libyan civil war's ongoing narrative, or having been a positive force in the Arab Spring need to do more research. We didn't do much to slow the Tunisian revolt, but we moved several times to save the Egyptian status quo and quash aspirations for freedom.
The drone wars, which Obama has frighteningly expanded, probably make far more enemies than were there before our poorly aimed strikes occurred. Sure enough, down the road, some kid whose sister, mom and three brothers were blown to smithereens a few weeks ago, is going to seek revenge in 2017 or so, prompting calls for more of our freedoms to be taken from us by whichever Republicrat pol occupies the White House then as "our commander-in-chief."
III. How much "our commander-in-chief" is his own master when it comes to war powers, policy and scope of actions in those realms is certainly open to dispute. The meme of emperors, kings, dictators and chief executives being trapped in the labyrinth of policies that come with the job, or they are somehow unable to change, is thousands of years old.
But American history has examples of Presidents who avoided wars, found their ways quickly out of them, or sought to end all wars, or at least devastating ones.
Wilson sought to create a climate of cooperation after World War I, only to be defeated by Congress.
John F. Kennedy was working toward a strikingly thorough disarmament regime when he was killed.
Obama is expanding drone wars and fighting hard (unsuccessfully) to keep cluster bomb munition use from becoming war crimes,
People who claim Obama inherited the biggest fuckup in US history are rght.
People who claim that this justifies his wars on civil liberties, whistleblowers, scientists, soldiers exposing war crimes, the environment, and unions are deceiving themselves.