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Who’s in Charge: Obama, Congress or the Military?

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Posted on Oct 1, 2009

By David Sirota

The war in Afghanistan poses two important questions: What should be done and who should be “the deciders”?

Congressional Republicans say the answer to the first query is military escalation. But according to polls, most Americans disagree. At the same time, many experts wonder “whether or not we know what we’re doing,” as President George W. Bush’s former deputy national security adviser said last week.

One thing’s sure: The U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says he wants more troops. His new memo calling for a bigger Afghanistan deployment prompted President Barack Obama to begin carefully considering different ways forward—and Washington to hammer the White House for entertaining any alternative to McChrystal’s request.

Republicans lambasted Obama for letting “political motivations ... override the needs of our commanders,” as Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., said. Likewise, The Washington Post insisted that Obama’s failure to promptly back McChrystal’s surge proposal could “dishonor” America, while The New York Times said no matter what the president wants, “It will be very hard to say no to General McChrystal.”

The coordinated assault sharpens that question about who “the deciders” should be—elected officials or the military?

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The Washington Establishment clearly believes the latter, and that’s no surprise. The war-mongering political class has called for presidential and congressional deference to military demands since Hollywood movies and anti-communist ideologues began countering the public’s “Vietnam syndrome” by blaming that quagmire in Southeast Asia on elected officials. In the purest articulation of the argument, Ronald Reagan asserted in 1980 that Vietnam was lost not because of flaws in mission or strategy, but because politicians allegedly forced soldiers to fight “a war our government [was] afraid to let them win.”

Avoiding another Vietnam, says this school of thought, requires a figurehead government—one that delegates all military decision-making power to generals and effectively strips it from elected civilians who will supposedly be too “politically motivated” (read: influenced by voters). This authoritarian ideology explains not only today’s vitriolic reaction to the president’s Afghanistan deliberations (including the conservative magazine Newsmax fantasizing about a military coup to “resolve the Obama problem”) but also some of the most anti-democratic statements ever uttered by American leaders. It explains, for instance, Vice President Dick Cheney’s assertion that public opinion “doesn’t matter” when it comes to military policy, and President George W. Bush saying Iraq “troop levels will be decided by our commanders on the ground, not by political figures in Washington.”

Of course, the Constitution deliberately gives “political figures in Washington” final say: Article I empowers Congress to declare and finance wars, and Article II states that while the White House “may require the opinion” of military officers, ultimately “the President shall be Commander in Chief.”

Those provisions were no accident. By separating political from military power, and vesting our elected representatives with ultimate authority, the Founders purposely constructed a democracy that seeks to prevent the dictatorial juntas that often arise when no such separation exists.

In that way, the Constitution doesn’t worry about elected officials’ “political motivations” as Sen. Bond does, nor does it fret about “a disconnect ... between the military leadership and the White House,” as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., lamented. It views “political motivations” and a “disconnect” as democratic forces guaranteeing that public opinion, via elected “deciders,” is somewhat involved in military policy.

Certainly, Obama and Democratic congressional leaders may still end up defying public will by making the lamentable choice to escalate the Afghanistan war. But after recent quagmires justified by knee-jerk subservience to military prerogative, America should at least applaud these lawmakers for refusing to immediately rubber-stamp that course of action. In exploring all options, they are honoring the Constitution’s separation of powers—and our nation’s most democratic principles.

David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books “Hostile Takeover” and “The Uprising.” He hosts the morning show on AM 760 in Colorado and blogs at OpenLeft.com. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com.

© 2009 Creators.com


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By nackenstutzkissen, October 22, 2009 at 5:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The “people” don’t have any say anymore….I say the military establishment is running things…he will get his 40,000 troops.

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By drbhelthi, October 12, 2009 at 12:47 am Link to this comment

The 30-yr plan was vastly accelerated with the completion of “Operation Paper-Clip.” The realignment of the OSS into the CIA by SS General Gehlin, the
secretive import of hundreds more NAZI-types subsequently, the consistent appointment of zionist-types into US Gov leadership, and the overtaking of state governments by CIA agents has furthered “their” plan significantly. Recently-retired CIA agents tell it like it is. It is high time for ALL American Patriots to become VERY active.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 10, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

The plan started in 1934 when they first failed. Without punishment allowed them to help their Axis friends during the war.

Since 1980 their efforts have been more visible. Taking over first the Republican then the Democratic party they have been busy subverting everything they consider important as they trash the gov’t from the inside. They are very close to coming out of the closet. Once we have the other half of the Greater Depression then they will move.

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By Gadgets, October 10, 2009 at 5:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nothing is going to stop the Black Hole of Military Spending and Empire until the American public says “Enough”, and stops playing the rigged Rat Race, and going along with a Government that no longer is bothered to look after the welfare of it’s people.

The heart of America is being slowly weakened, and one of these days the Government is going to start having massive chest pains when it needs it the most. This appears to be part of the 30 year plan, and the vultures are waiting in the wings for their grand inheritance.

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By Georgann Marks, October 9, 2009 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Stan’s endrun around his commander in chief tells us he thinks Obama is vulnerable.

Stan should get the boot - along with the zionists in Washington… they should be tried for treason.

This bunch will not stop until they have us at war with 1.5 billion Muslims. Enough of the 2% majority.

Try em for treason.

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By ardee, October 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment

drbhelthi, October 7 at 8:27 am

Please follow your own suggestion….I am uncertain whether or not to admire a person like you who cares so little that he makes an absolute fool of himself with every new effort.

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By christian96, October 7, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

drbhelthi——I suprised you didn’t sign your post
“CIA” but then they work covert don’t they.  Too
much of a coward to work overt.  They’re good about
taking loads of money to pay some stooge to do the
real dirty work.  In the coal mining town I grew up
in the coal owners would hire a stooge to sit on
top of the company store with a machine gun to watch
over the miners and their families.  We called the
stooges “yellow dogs.”  They weren’t members of the
CIA but later stooges with the same type of personality became members of the CIA.  They would
do anything for money.  Sort of reminds me of the
scum working for the US Cavalry that wiped out Native
Americans and their families.  All in the name of
God and MONEY of course.

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By drbhelthi, October 7, 2009 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Interesting.
A review of the comments on Truthdig headings, reflects- not totally, but generally - either a gross, current-information deficit, a cubicle in the Disinformation Division of the CIA, or a stooge-apprenticeschip in a zionist office, somewhere. Occasionally, a combination of all three.

Then, there are a couple of vociferous contributors who state that they “- give a shit,” and who criticize with vehemence, but have difficulty receiving criticism.  Perhaps some folk should stop donating their excrement, turn on their brains and also update their knowledge of currently-available information before making another comment. They might then be able to donate something other than excrement.

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By P C Smith, October 6, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How strange.I am reading `Seven days in May`.The similarity to the plot of the book sounds awfully
like segments of your article.Beware USA,

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By yours truly, October 5, 2009 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

President Obama should reassign General McChrystal to a desk job in Washington D.C., just as Harry Truman recalled General Dougla MacArthur from his command position during the Korean War, after he went public in advocating that U.S. troops be allowed to cross the Yalu River and attack China.  Upon returning to Washington, General McChrystal will very likely be asked to address Congress and plead his case, as per General MacArthur after his recall, except, alas, he best not end his speech with “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away”, since General MacArthur used that one in his farewell speech to Congress.

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By Folktruther, October 5, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

Tony, Ardee, when I said the plutocracy rules, imeant of course that the American plutocracy rules the American power system, and makes the crucial power decisions.  The owners and controllers of the means of production.  Since they alos control the means of truth production, they have managed to delude the American people ast to who rules for nearly two centuries now, since Marx wrote.

Other ruling classes control other power systems.

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By ardee, October 5, 2009 at 3:05 am Link to this comment

Outraged, October 5 at 12:38 am

I find your post confusing and muddled thinking. You critique me for not commenting on Roman Polanski? Who the hell are you to tell me what topics demand my input? A forty plus year old crime, one in which the victim has herself requested Polanski be left alone, seems trite and trivial and a waste of my time. It also seems that you use this non issue to make yourself foolish in a reach to criticize me.

You accuse me of “pessimism” because I express my opinion with honesty and directness..I give a shit. All I get from this screed of yours is a sign of your limited and agendized thinking, your blind allegiance that leads you to forced incorrect conclusion.

So sad for you, so irrelevant to me.

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By christian96, October 4, 2009 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

Who’s In Charge?  American corporations who receive
their power from the military who receive their
power from congress!  Has anyone conducted a study
to see how many countries sell American cigarettes,
soft drinks, and fast food?  Look out world.  The
American corporations have destroyed our children
and they are coming after yours!

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, October 4, 2009 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment

Re: ardee

Your comment: “Just look at our own nation, born of revolution and failing miserably.”

I disagree with your doomsday scenario.  What is it that makes you such a naysayer?  Are you HOPING that the Republic fails…?  It appears that way from your posts.

Truthfully, your posts very succinctly appear as an “all or nothing” or “black or white” ideology.  There comes a point at which one has to look at “the writing on the wall”, so to speak.  Is it YOUR stalwart dependence upon personal ideologies The American People should consider or THEIR more balanced perspective....?

Btw, noticeably you’ve not given your perspective of the “Polanski conundrum” yet… you were so adamantly vocal regarding MJ.  The proof is in the pudding, isn’t it?

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By Outraged, October 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment

Re: ITW

Your comment: “In 2003, Army COS, Genl. Erik Shinseki told then President Bush that the Iraq War would take far more troops to secure the peace—something like 250,000 to 300,000.  Shinseki was a) right b) ignored c) forced into retirement.  IOW, he was canned for being right when “right” meant Congress would never buy those troop levels.

Funny, but to me McCrystal’s statement looks a lot like Shinseki’s, only THIS time the neo-cons not only believe him, they have fired up their “War Machine” yet again.

But unlike Bush, Obama wants to take a step back and rethink the situation.  He’s not doing what Bush did—trash the General for not saying what he wanted.  Instead, he’s taking it seriously and asking the question Bush NEVER asked: Do we need to rethink our policy as a result?

For THIS the TRAITORS want a coup????” (emphasis mine)

Yep.  That certainly seems to be the case…..uh..huh.  I agree.  Course’ the FRINGE says, “that lying SOB!”...yep…that’d be what thay’d be a sayin’  Uh…huh.

Seems to me…, well… well… now you jus hol’ yer horses’ an getta long there….

The SANE among us have ben a thinkin’ on your more realistic preemis’.  Yep….itz jus lik thay says’, you kin lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink… Ain’t it the truth though…

yep.

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By liecatcher, October 4, 2009 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment

It’s hard to believe that the author of a book
entitled:

Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption
Conquered Our Government

could ask such a stupid question. And to top that, he
says:

“America should at least applaud these lawmakers for
refusing to immediately

rubber-stamp that course of action. In exploring all
options, they are honoring

the Constitution’s separation of powers—and our
nation’s most democratic principles.”

This should be included in the definition of fecal
vomiting.

Mr. Serota is appearing more & more like a graduate
of the Tavistock Institute

for brainwashing & talking nonsense & ambiguous crap
to confuse & lead

people astray. Or perhaps he is just an author in
search of book buyers.

In any event, this article doesn’t add anything of
value to pain & suffering

inflicted on the U.S. by the current fascist
administration.

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By teadrinker, October 4, 2009 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

Who’s in charge? Let’s see. Q:Who has the largest budget? A: Ah, the military. Q: What institution, with its rubber stamp committees, hardly gives it much scrutiny? A: Ah yes. The Congress. I say again that we live in a de facto military dictatorship, and if we, ‘we’ meaning the people and Congress ever cut the unnecessary fat out of the military budget and shored up the illegal relationships between our Congress, Pentagon, Miliary branches and Private contractors, then,and only then would we,as a nation return to a saner Republic. Once a group has power, they would never give it up willingly, without a fight. Yes, we will have a Revolution of sorts eventually. Do you see any other way? Please give me an alternative scenario.

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By liecatcher, October 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

It’s hard to believe that the author of a book
entitled:

Hostile Takeover: How Big Money and Corruption
Conquered Our Government

could ask such a stupid question. And to top that, he
says:

“America should at least applaud these lawmakers for
refusing to immediately

rubber-stamp that course of action. In exploring all
options, they are honoring

the Constitution’s separation of powers—and our
nation’s most democratic principles.”

This should be included in the definition of fecal
vomiting.

Mr. Serota is appearing more & more like a graduate
of the Tavistock Institute

for brainwashing & talking nonsense & ambiguous crap
to confuse & lead

people astray.

Report this
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By Night-Gaunt, October 4, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Except that the Israelis knew the ship was there, whose it was and why it was there monitoring the events. The question is why the deliberate plastering of a USA surveillance ship in the midst of war unless you wanted to hide something from your ester while ally. Among allies you always look after your own interests over your ally’s. Even to their detriment. That is just how things operate.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 4, 2009 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

drbhelthi, October 4 at 4:22 am #

Who is in charge?
The leading candidates for the US presidency 2008 begged the zionist propaganda machine in DC for support.  Americans begging the zionist machine in DC for political support ?  In order to be elected to
the US Presidency ???

In their illegal, 5-day war, 1967, the zionists murdered 34 and wounded an additional 174 American Sailors in their attempt to destroy the USS Liberty AND ALL PERSONNEL.  http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ussliberty.html
This with the support of the major mushbrains, US pres. Johnson and SECDEF McNamara.  Were it not for
the braveness of the crew of the USS Liberty, the USS Libertyandentirecrew would have sunk.  There would have been no survivors to reveal the truth.  The plan of the zionists was to implicate the leadership of Egypt, and gain the military support of the US leadership.  Thanks to the brave crew of the USS Liberty, the zionists and their DC puppetry were unable to drag the US into their unholy war.  That war, anyway.

***********************************************

This crap keeps coming up, like the fantasy that FDR allowed the PH attack.

According to posters like this, the “legal” action Israel was “required” to take, was to allow Egypt, Syria and Jordan to attack, to not mount a defense, and to allow itself to be destroyed.  To posters like this, and to much of the Arab world that was the ONLY “legal” action Israel could have taken.

Right.  That is like saying you don’t have the right of self-defense if someone is trying to kill you—that you’re a criminal if you don’t let them kill you.

It’s simple illogical, immoral and….pathetically stupid.

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By ardee, October 4, 2009 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Tony Wicher notes:

I disagree with you. It’s not nearly so simple. There is no such thing as “the plutocracy”. There are all kinds of different concentrations of capital all over the world and they are competing with each other as well as enslaving us working people. Also, there is Mao’s famous statement that power comes out of the barrel of a gun. That is the ultimate power of the military-industrial complex. So there are many different centers of power.

I agree, in substance, with the point you make. I have resisted the idea that floats around here and elsewhere that there is an overreaching “conspiracy” or cabal that rules the world. Or that a select few make decisions that are then carried out by those in power.

Capitalism is a game that begins with cooperation and ultimately ends with one remaining on the board. The friction between nations is usually over market share and nothing more complex. Decisions are not made world wide, but are made with self interest, whether those decisions are of a corporate nature or made in a legislature. Those decisions then affect the world of course.

Mao’s famous statement, that you cite above, was meant to show how the people are not powerless to overthrow the forces that rule them, but I think that any change effected by violence is doomed to fail. Just look at our own nation, born of revolution and failing miserably.

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By drbhelthi, October 4, 2009 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

Who is in charge?
The leading candidates for the US presidency 2008 begged the zionist propaganda machine in DC for support.  Americans begging the zionist machine in DC for political support ?  In order to be elected to
the US Presidency ???

In their illegal, 5-day war, 1967, the zionists murdered 34 and wounded an additional 174 American Sailors in their attempt to destroy the USS Liberty AND ALL PERSONNEL.  http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/ussliberty.html
This with the support of the major mushbrains, US pres. Johnson and SECDEF McNamara.  Were it not for
the braveness of the crew of the USS Liberty, the USS Libertyandentirecrew would have sunk.  There would have been no survivors to reveal the truth.  The plan of the zionists was to implicate the leadership of Egypt, and gain the military support of the US leadership.  Thanks to the brave crew of the USS Liberty, the zionists and their DC puppetry were unable to drag the US into their unholy war.  That war, anyway.

Once again, we see that the perhaps neanderthal characteristic of “respect” for, perhaps fear of, taller, larger people is propagated. Just as five thousand years ago, israeli folk demanded of their prophet, “give us a king whom we can look up to,” the characteristic continues to be visible. Look at the leadership of the US and Germany.  How many are between one-half head and head-and-shoulders taller than average?  In the 1960s, American researchers statistically isolated one singular characteristic that separates people in leadership positions from others:  they are taller than average.  One singular characteristic:  taller than average…….  People puppetry.

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By Jonathan5052, October 3, 2009 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment

Ain’t it funny? The-then Soviets (Russians) were defeated by the U.S.-inspired “Taliban,” and today’s U.S. officials refuse to go back into the history books to keep them from repeating the same kinds of mistakes!  We will NOT win in Afghanistan, we definitely have a better chance of packing our soldiers’ bags, returning them HOME and sparing the lives of thousands of innocent young soldiers, most of them did not choose to fight in this imaginary war.  Or we will just go on these senseless missions and continue to fool ourselves into thinking what was bad medicine for the Russians nearly 30 years ago won’t poison us, no how, no way?

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By Tony Wicher, October 3, 2009 at 10:20 pm Link to this comment

By Folktruther, October 2 at 3:38 pm #

By djnoll, October 2 at 12:41 pm #

“Who Is In Charge?  That is the big question and it does not have an any easy answer.”
          ***
Of course it does.  As Ardee says, the money.  As Ourbus says, follow the money to get to the power.  As Anariciessie says, what is the difference between Congress, the military and Obama.

They are all ruled by the plutocracy.  the ruling class has established a power struture that tells them, and the Washinton Post, what they want done.

  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

FT,

I disagree with you. It’s not nearly so simple. There is no such thing as “the plutocracy”. There are all kinds of different concentrations of capital all over the world and they are competing with each other as well as enslaving us working people. Also, there is Mao’s famous statement that power comes out of the barrel of a gun. That is the ultimate power of the military-industrial complex. So there are many different centers of power.

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By Litl Bludot, October 3, 2009 at 9:55 pm Link to this comment

Who’s in Charge: Obama, Congress or the Military?

Suspiciously, Sirota always seems to ask the wrong question.  The answer to his
own wrong question embodies the Obama falsity and progressive tinge.  I’m
beginning to suspect he’s from a corporate think tank, placed in our midsts in
order to propagate the fantasy that Obama, Congress and the Military are three
separate entities. Or that the “Obama” administration is something other than a
front for the banksters, the insurance exec mass murderers, the military,
industrial, prison complex.  the earth destroying “energy” companies, etc.  i.e.
our corporate masters. There may have been four branches of government at
one time, long ago.  They’ve been consolidated for efficiency. 

BTW, the question, the real question, of course, is can the corporate fascists
make more money by not propagating death and destruction?  i.e. if continuing
to decimate the poorest, weakest countries has a major monetary downside,
then they will rethink it.  After all, this just started out as a way to secure a
pipeline.  We started leaving Iraq as soon as we broke their backs enough for
them to sign over their oil while leaving a shell of a country with no ability to
retake the oil fields.

You people know, of course, that Obama’s recent seemingly humanitarian
effort towards getting rid of nuclear weapons and stopping nuclear
proliferation is the new strategy of the nuclear “energy” industry to build power
plants in every country on earth.  Every country will sign treaties to pledge not
to build nuclear weapons in order to make it seem safe for them to have
nuclear power plants.  It’s just business as usual.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 3, 2009 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

I have a terribly irritating habit:
I like to move the salient fact to a different context and see what I come up with.

It’s hilarious.

In 2003, Army COS, Genl. Erik Shinseki told then President Bush that the Iraq War would take far more troops to secure the peace—something like 250,000 to 300,000.  Shinseki was a) right b) ignored c) forced into retirement.  IOW, he was canned for being right when “right” meant Congress would never buy those troop levels.

Funny, but to me McCrystal’s statement looks a lot like Shinseki’s, only THIS time the neo-cons not only believe him, they have fired up their “War Machine” yet again.

But unlike Bush, Obama wants to take a step back and rethink the situation.  He’s not doing what Bush did—trash the General for not saying what he wanted.  Instead, he’s taking it seriously and asking the question Bush NEVER asked: Do we need to rethink our policy as a result?

For THIS the traitors want a coup????

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By Night-Gaunt, October 3, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/the_way_we_live/article6854221.ece

The link isn’t too long, you have to make sure it is fully connected for the automatic system to work. That is why we have a “preview” button to test it out. Please use it.

Age and experience can do that to a person like Vidal. You’ve seen so goddamn much you could be labeled a cynic for pointing out the obvious, as you now see it. The propaganda machine just doesn’t work on you because you see it so clearly. Know those tropes too well.

The ones behind Congress, the military and Obama of course. The corporations and those who own them. So many entangling alliances that one would need the equivalent of Alexander‘s sword to cut that Gordian Knot.

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By P. T., October 3, 2009 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Prolonged war by Obama in Afghanistan or Iran may be the Republicans ticket back to power.  About Iran, a British newspaper reports that Ahmadinejad is a Jew.  Click on http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/6256173/Mahmoud-Ahmadinejad-revealed-to-have-Jewish-past.html

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By ardee, October 3, 2009 at 11:47 am Link to this comment

http://tinyurl.com/yh2en7w

But of course I did, Ouroborus, not much new there. In his later years Vidal has not lost his dry wit but has become increasingly obtuse and even more of a curmudgeon I fear.

Her has always been one of my heroes…..we curmudgeons stick together….

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PatrickHenry's avatar

By PatrickHenry, October 3, 2009 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

The military being in charge is called a junta.

In a Contitutional democracy its called the tail wagging the dog.

We the people are supposed to be in charge every two years by getting rid of those congresscritters who by their votes don’t reflect the will of the people.  Diebold has chaged that dynamic and has to be changed by our voting requirements established at state and local levels, term limits begin there as well.

The only reason I see that the majority of republicans and many war minded democrats getting reelected is that well paying publically funded military industrial projects are located in their districts.  Employees will vote, campaign and march for these jobs building overpriced subs, aircraft, tanks and other non essential weapondry instead of rapid transit, nuclear power plants, water treatment plants and desalinization projects which have future benefit.

I guess it matters what kind of future you work for.

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By tell the truth, October 3, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

i have a clown in my town who proudly displays a republican party credit card. apparently @ 19%
too. the facts are always stranger then fiction!
i bet he subscribes to newsmax. last time i saw him
he had rush blaring on the car radio. this was all
at the same time. all too funny. i should have sold him a bridge or tunnel when i had the chance. when i
pointed out to him that rush was lying he became
angry and drove away.

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Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, October 3, 2009 at 5:35 am Link to this comment

ardee, October 3 at 8:06 am #

Thanks, I bookmarked it; but did you read the article?

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By Ouroborus, October 3, 2009 at 2:22 am Link to this comment

You will have to copy paste the whole URL; it isn’t all
red. The link gets you to the page, but one more click
is required. I think the link is too long??????

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By Ouroborus, October 3, 2009 at 2:12 am Link to this comment

Gore Vidal has a conversation with The Times Online
which is apropos to this thread. Here’s a link;

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women
/the_way_we_live/article6854221.ece

Worth a read.

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By NZDoug, October 3, 2009 at 12:56 am Link to this comment

RPG KABOOM TENK….

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By NZDoug, October 3, 2009 at 12:52 am Link to this comment

Homeland Security JUST might cost less if you, in Estados Unitos, and USAF Israel stopped: bombing , killing, stealing, innocent people in other countries.
Move these actions to good ol USA.
Dont buy USA.
Ban weapon sales.
Hunt people who create this stuff.
This is why Im glad!
There is!!
Guns in America!!!
Scuse me, while I sing along
“DAVEY , DAVEY CROcKIT.
KotwF,

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By Bat Guano, October 2, 2009 at 8:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Who’s in Charge: Obama, Congress or the Military?

This headline is a joke isn’t it. The answer is none of the above. The corporations are in charge just like they’ve always been.

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By Anarcissie, October 2, 2009 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

Well, Newsmax is the place to go for weird stuff like suggestions that a military coup is necessary.  I take it their audience is also partial to overpriced gold coins and magic vitamin pills.

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By Paul_GA, October 2, 2009 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

Well, Ardee, I DID say it sounded just like him to say that.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

If the USA had become a full fledged empire they would use anything they wanted to to make the Afghanis cower in fear. Poison gas and napalm and phosphorus of the old school. They may use the sonic cannon and the microwave emitters to flush them out to be slaughtered. If we were a full empire, we are not. But we could be very soon. The oligarchs are almost finish damaging this republic so it will crater. Then they will come in and take over protecting us from dissolution. A daring plan with two bad choices left for us. Neo-barbarism or mind numbing theocracy of the uber-wealthy. Our last major pseudo-choice they will give us.

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By ardee, October 2, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment

BTW, Night-Gaunt, I looked it up at Google and according to this web-page, there’s no evidence other than an article in Capitol Hill Blue that Bush ever called the Constitution a “goddamned piece of paper”:

One seeks and sometimes finds…....

http://www.comlinks.com/polintel/pi051214.htm

The Simpson Report
 

 
“Goddamn Piece of Paper”

Washington, DC. Dec 14th, 2005——There are multiple reports flying round DC that if true need to be addressed by both Houses of Congress in an Impeachment hearing. President Bush, who many believe is becoming more unstable every day is reported to have had the following exchanges during a meeting with Congressional leaders according to Doug Thompson, reporting in Capitol Hill Blue:

“GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

Doug Thompson wrote that he had talked to three people present for the meeting that day and they all confirm that the President of the United States called the Constitution “a goddamned piece of paper.”

That conversation if it did take place deserves a groveling apology at least, and resignation if he had moral scruples. He needs to broadcast his apology to the American people immediately, without hundreds of military and flags as “Made for TV” backdrops.

This is not an isolated instance of instability. There are many reports of alcohol impaired bouts where the man responsible for the Nuclear Trigger couldn’t even handle a Pretzel.

I sincerely hope these reports are not accurate, and that they were misquoted.

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By SaveTheTenth, October 2, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Billion$ for War, Mandatory In$urance for All

And the Co$t keeps rising. And the bodies keep piling up.

Cost of War in Afghanistan
228,214,396,369

Total Cost of Wars Since 2001
916,003,647,151

http://www.costofwar.com/

“We” may not be able to separate Dollar$ from Politic$
(as I’m so often told)

But…We can try

Our grandchildren may have to pay interes$t on the Debt
But who among US will hear their chains clanking…

Oh, it’s wonderful to see Sirota all of a sudden concerned
with the constitution! Maybe it’ll carry over to the “Health
Insurance Reform”, I wouldn’t hold my breath though…

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By Jean Gerard, October 2, 2009 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“In exploring all options, they (Obama and the congressional leaders) are honoring the Constitution’s separation of powers—and our nation’s most democratic principles.”  Yeah, but they DO NOT “explore all options.” Being “in” a war means you have to “win” or “lose face.”  Losing face is radically important to personal and national pride. Preserving pride closes all options except success. The more powerful the nation, the bigger the national pride. The US being far and away the most powerful means an enormous investment in national pride. If limiting factors (like common sense,  fairness, spending money wisely, saving lives, making the world a more just and humane place for people) were considered, wars would not start easily and would end quickly.  In a few words, this lack of exploring all options is the real “disconnect” between the military/government and the people.  The hated “Vietnam syndrome” is nothing so much as result of the people’s common sense succeeding and the military/industrial pride failing.  We did it once.  Can we do it again?

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By msgmi, October 2, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The generals wage war, the CDR-In-Chief makes policy. Napoleon took to the sword and his war machine fell off its wheels. A clear mission in a historically troubled region seems to make little difference.

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By de, October 2, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You mention Newsmax.  Have you ever noticed that you cannot comment on anything they write? And they write some crazy stuff.  Plus they are always trying to sell gold, coins, collectibles(??), conservative books and memorabilia, financial planning(?), health books.  They are very infomercialish and all about making money.

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By MickNamVet, October 2, 2009 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Never trust career military to push anything but opting for more war, especially the corporate-favoring officer corps that comprises our Pentagon.  Afghanistan is building up to be a bigger lie than Iraq was.  For what should we be bolstering a corrupt regime in Kabul at the cost of so many US and Afghani lives, to say nothing of the financing of same?  McChrystal is pipe-dreaming here, and has no long-term strategy.  Nation-building is what he’s selling here, and very big-time. He should be cashiered for his current insubordination, selling this escalation (for that is what it is) behind President Obama’s back.  Petraeus is behind this whole sham, you can bet on it.

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By Folktruther, October 2, 2009 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment

By djnoll, October 2 at 12:41 pm #

“Who Is In Charge?  That is the big question and it does not have an any easy answer.” 
              ***
Of course it does.  As Ardee says, the money.  As Ourbus says, follow the money to get to the power.  As Anariciessie says, what is the difference between Congress, the military and Obama.

They are all ruled by the plutocracy.  the ruling class has established a power struture that tells them, and the Washinton Post, what they want done.

But the media, including the Prog media, excludes the simple truth from the mainstream truth conensus when it conflicts with the authorized ideology.  Sirota knows who rules like every other media truther, but like every oter media truther, he is not allowed to say so if he wants to keep his job and pursue a truth career.

In the US the repression of the simple truth without government interfernce is referred to as Freedom of Expression.

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By Paul_GA, October 2, 2009 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

If we want to avoid another Vietnam-style defeat, we’d best beat feet for home. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until we either do beat feet or end up defeated and humiliated just like in 1975 (in which case I hope I can keep from gloating and saying “I told you so!”).

BTW, Night-Gaunt, I looked it up at Google and according to this web-page, there’s no evidence other than an article in Capitol Hill Blue that Bush ever called the Constitution a “goddamned piece of paper”:

http://www.factcheck.org/askfactcheck/did_president_bush_call_the_constitution_a.html

Still, I admit it sounds just like him.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 2, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

That was Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929) a French premier who spoke of war and generals.

Who do we trust? It would be very good for us if the Congress actually follows that “Goddamn piece of paper”*, the Constitution for once. We need it now more than ever if we are going to protect and preserve our form of gov’t.

In 1996 the Afghanis under the Taliban won praise for their near total eradication of their centuries old cash crop—poppies. Colin Powell thanked them for our gov’t with $43 million dollars. Oh how things change.

Iran isn’t “threatening anyone” however they are being threatened and respond accordingly as the machismo of Islam, and men are wont to do. Israel is the destablizer not Iran in this matter. Along with the gargantuan USA behemoth looming over it all, tentacles digging deep.


*George W. Bush 2001

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By drbhelthi, October 2, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

Al-Kaida is a name thought up by a Bush/CIA “thinktank”. This group of treasonists were very pleased when moslem maladaptives and their fellow maladaptive CIA operatives began to fill the void, call themselves “Al Kaida,” lay claim to certain alleged terrorist activity, and actually threaten to do “terrorism.” According to one former CIA operative, anywhere in the world you find terrorist activity, CIA operatives will be behind it.

Osama bin Laden. You can find him easily, if you have favorable contacts with his clan. If you go to them, and pay them enough, they will take you to his grave of seven years.  I doubt that you will be able to revive him.  Although the CIA revives the artificial “fear” of him, every few months. They have the best digital equipment that your tax money can buy.

Isnt that recent CIA video release neat?  That double resembles him closely, but is between ten and fifteen years younger. So many Americans are so naive and gullible, they believe anything put out by the “US Government,” or the CIA, which spawned the abortion known as Blackwater, recently, “Xe”. What trash!

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By djnoll, October 2, 2009 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Who Is In Charge?  That is the big question and it does not have an any easy answer.  But I would offer this:  sometimes, Mr. President and Congress, less is more when properly used.

If we want a military solution and the capture of Bin Laden and the crushing of Al Quaida, we cannot use the kinds of tactics we have been using.  So, Commander-In-Chief, look not to the commanders in field for your solution, look to a military historian at West Point.  Your solution lies in history, not recent, but past military history.  Look at less is more against strong military powers - Rome, Great Britain, Germany.  You will find your solution for Afghanistan there, not in troop escalations recommended by modern-day Cornwallises or Roman generals.

I am going to Washington, DC from my home in Spokane, WA.  I leave on October 18 and will arrive on November 3rd.  I am asking America to join me - every person who can and who believes that we as a nation need to rid ourselves of this military-industrial complex that is bankrupting us and killing our children, our parents, our spouses.  Every person who is fed up with corporate control of our lives - costing us our homes, our jobs, our retirements, our children’s futures.  Please join me or organize a General Strike within your communities to send this message to all those who govern us.

You can find out more at http://www.letfreedomring.community.officelive.com

We can stop this military/industrial/corporate control of our lives - but only if we stand up and make our voices heard and our faces seen.  LET AMERICAN ROAR!  LET FREEDOM RING ALL THE WAY TO THE PENTAGON!

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By Blockwatch, October 2, 2009 at 9:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

..since “in charge” implies leadership, the better question would be
“which of these three entities has exhibited quantifiable leadership when it
comes to our Afghanistan problem?” ..I’m hearin’ those crickets again. Damn!

..

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By midnight, October 2, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our corrupt, wealthy military elite is in charge.  They allow a manipulated Democracy, Obama’s no real change.  Our officer corps are anti-patriots, and anti-American.  I wonder who gets the profts from the Afghan opium fields, which have blossomed under U.S. occupation.

(Incidentally, it seems McCain was left twisted by his POW experience with permanent PTSD etc.  The maddog should retire to one of his multiple homes.)

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By Anarcissie, October 2, 2009 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

I imagine a certain amount of fussing is necessary to preserve the illusion that the U.S. retains a republican form of government.

However, my first thought on reading the headline was “What’s the difference?”

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By bogi666, October 2, 2009 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Peetawonkus, their is not enough corruption in health care for the politicians. Pentagon corruption is easy because it involves contractors, subcontractors and their subcontractors with foreign bank accounts which are virtually impossible to audit even if auditing was budgeted for that purpose. In fact the corrupting of Congress by the insurance companies is much more lucrative for Congress than it would be otherwise. The USA has a health insurance industry with health care employee’s. A health care industry would be in the public interest and doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is the bribery, campaign contributions, made possible through the health insurance industry.

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By Peetawonkus, October 2, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

There’s all sorts of hand wringing in the Beltway about how to pay for Health Care Reform, what to do about Social Security, etc. In the meantime, we’re expected to finance without question, to the tune of, what, 4 billion per month, these adventures in Iraq and now Afghanistan. There’s no political advantage in these wars and they’re economically disastrous. Yet we continue to fight them because a gaggle of officers needs a spiffy war for their resumes. Here’s how to finance everything we need on a domestic agenda: cut the military budget by a modest 10%. We wouldn’t have to raise taxes by a nickel. If added to that withdrawing from Afghanistan we could begin to pay down the Deficit. We could save even billions more if we forced an audit on the military and made them accountable for everything they have on (and off)the books.

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By Virginia777, October 2, 2009 at 7:31 am Link to this comment

“Who’s in Charge: Obama, Congress or the Military?”

The Military

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By Marriea, October 2, 2009 at 7:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You want to know who’s honestly in charge of the war in Afghanistan, it’s the Afghans.  We are fighting those people on their turf.  We say we want to show them a new way.  Let them find out for themselves. Just like in Vietnam, we have learned nothing.
I don’t get it.  The Talibans were in charge in 2001 when we gave them almost $5 million dollars in supposed humanitarian aid. Then not 6 months later we were at war with them.  We knew bin Laden was training the Talibans who were the powering government, in warfare but we gave them the money anyway, then went to war with Iraq when it was mostly Saudis who were responsible for 9-11.
The Bush Administration have mudded the waters so much we don’t know who we are fighting nor do we know why. We are acting like gangs fighting who ever is in the vacinity just because they are near by.
We need to stop for a minute and reassess our delemma. We need to ask the why are we there, how did we get there, what are we hoping to accomplish while we are there, is it a doable plan short term and long term, how long will is it projected to take, it is necessary that we stay there. And are were fighting for a cause or for pride. If it’s for pride, get the hell out. I realize that this a hot bed. I understand that because there are three countries with nuclear weapons, India, Pakistan,and Israel in the immediate area and a third threating, Iran, that it’s a dangerous and very vicarious undertaking. But at some point or another, the United States has got to learn that we can’t be fighting other people wars, not when we have a big economic war of our own on our turf. And furthermore, the people who fought in WWI and II were a different mode of military than now. The mindset is different because with all of our fancy equipment, we think we can solve the world problems in the time it takes to see a movie on the big screen. The Afghan people fought the Soviets with our help for ten years and won.  They fought them with basically sticks and stones. We have been in some part fighting over there for 8 years. And what have we accomplished?  Nothing. But bad feeling at the killings of so many of their civilians and children.  One thing, bin Laden ain’t hiding in those mountains. I suspect he’s at home in Saudi Arabia. When we were in Iraq, we targeted Saddam’s family. Bin Laden has what 4 or 5 wives and many kids, so you mean to tell me he hasn’t had any contact with these folks in all this time. And he’s supposed to be the one directly responsible for 9-11?  What’s wrong with this picture.  It’s time for us to be out of Afghanistan. Somebody is lying to us.

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By bogi666, October 2, 2009 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

Another valuable column by Sirota. Someone, perhaps Harry Truman, said “that war is too important to be left to the generals”. It’s that simple Senators. Take McLaim, WTF does he know having spent his time as a POW for bombing civilians and a traitor for violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice and who ran for president in the 21st century who doesn’t even know how to turn on a computer. Senators, bribed by the MIC, who don’t know or care for the Constitution they have sworn to uphold, it disgusting how low this country has sunk. The corruption in Wash., DC is so endemic I don’t think it can be stopped with the PENTAGON BEING THE GOVERNMENT INSIDE THE GOVERNMENT another military coup is not out of question. After all, it was a military coup in 2000 with the corrupt absentee military ballots, that put the Bush cabal into power and run by the two despicable ingrate cretins, Cheney & Rummy, who plotted for 30 years to gain power. The 2000 MILITARY COUP WAS BLOODLESS which only will embolden the Military to consider a violent coup based on the docility of the American public in 2000.

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By Ouroborus, October 2, 2009 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

Who’s in Charge: Obama, Congress or the Military?

Children with power; money’s got nothing to do with it;
it’s all about power. Follow the money to find the
power!

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By drbhelthi, October 2, 2009 at 3:20 am Link to this comment

I consider this article to be a brief, but definitive breakdown of what is supposed to be. Consideration of “soldier people” was marvelously demonstrated in the “1st Gulf War,” by LTG Frederick M. Franks, Jr. whom I knew personally.  Care for “soldier people” was and is less-well demonstrated by LTG Tommy Franks and successors in the current farce. The NAZI/zionist coalition has bribed and intimidated the majority of US congressional constituents. Yet, these “elected representatives” have the duty to DEMAND their US Constitutional obligation. An acquaintance has labled congressional behavior as “yellow-bellied- shit.”  Which is perhaps a bit mild.  While Guantanamo continues, and FEMA builds new NAZI-stalag camps, how will Mr. Obama be “permitted” to decide who decides? Or, will he decide as an American Patriot?

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By ardee, October 2, 2009 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

Who is in charge Mr. Sirota asks; the money is in charge of course.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 2, 2009 at 2:07 am Link to this comment

I’m not surprised by most politicans’ reactions, but John McCain baffles me.  He spent years in a North Vietnamese prison camp and should be hyper-sensitive to putting soldiers in harm’s way.  He should council caution.

But most importantly is this blind need to follow the generals.  They are warriors and are tasked with fighting the battle.  They are not given the power to decide if the battle is necessary or if the war is right.  That is a political decision to be made by civilian leaders.  McCrystal has made his request and now it is time for the president to decide if it is warranted or just.  Everyone else should shut up ... they have no part of this process.

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