Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Analyzing Petraeus

Here's a link to the piece I did for this last Sunday's Commentary section in the Register on Gen. Petraeus's presentations and the prospects in Iraq. I am still one of the few to have wondered whether this reliance on a (up until now) widely respected general to sell policy (rather than to implement the president's plan) could mark a further erosion of the tradition of civilian control of the military. Because his credibility is so close to non-existent, President Bush needed Gen. Petraeus more than the good general needed him. He didn't stage a coup or anything, but he was certainly elevated in status.

It's inevitable, of course, that when you start wars generals are going to become more prominent than, say, microbiolgists or ordinary members of Congress -- though not more so than Britney or Paris. But it's worthwhile keeping the principle of civilian control in mind as we go forward, and copmmenting when it seems to erode.

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