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Commander-in-Chief Abdicates?

The money quote from yesterday's Iraq speech confused me more than a little bit. On the face of it, it seems to imply that he's no longer in charge:
These decisions about troops levels will be driven by the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the good judgment of our commanders, not by artificial timetables set by politicians in Washington.

I don't doubt that the judgment of the commanders is better than Bush's, but the point is that he and other politicians in Washington are elected to set foreign policy. Generals are not meant to set policy, but to carry it out. That's why the US is not, oh, a military oligarchy or a police state. Leaving this decision to some general in Iraq might be politically expedient, but it's not what he was elected to do. The buck doesn't stop with the generals. It stops with the president.

It seems that even Mr. Bush is admitting, in his roundabout way, that he no longer leads the nation and sets strategy. He's being led by "conditions on the ground," letting our enemies determine our actions rather than setting our own course.

Either that, or it's just the most cynical pandering I've ever heard and he's distancing himself from "politicians in Washington." Which is quite a trick for a sitting president.



( 1 sutra — Your wisdom )
Dec. 1st, 2005 06:54 pm (UTC)
Bush is clearly very dependent upon his advisors and staff. They guy certainly knows how delegation works. I agree with you though, he has to be the one to make the decisions on his policy. He can listen to the commanders, and should, but he makes the call.

If Bush had played more Civ he would have seen the war weariness coming and switch the government to a police state. Oh wait, what am I saying...
( 1 sutra — Your wisdom )

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