The "Commander-in-Chief" chat
Call it the “Commander-in-Chief” chat.
My guess is that seasoned presidential candidates probably get this hush-hush lecture long before they hit the campaign trail. Who knows, it could come with the assignment of the secret service detail.
And who knows what the consequences of bucking the generals (and the intelligence establishment) might be. Conspiracy theorists will tell you that JFK learned the hard way.
What we are getting now is the “soft” (or is it semi-soft?) way.
General David Petraeus, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, General Stanley McChrystal, has been publicly questioning President Obama’s withdrawal plans in Afghanistan. The general’s election-year timing is politically perfect to weaken the president.
Here’s a president who is reeling from domestic problems he didn’t create, and along comes Petraeus to question Obama’s military policy.
It’s a lose/lose situation for the president.
If Obama sticks with his stated July 2011 drawdown plan in Afghanistan, he can expect to suffer whatever the generals (and the spooks and the arms merchants) dole out.
If he goes along with them for the inevitable “quagmire” escalation and accompanying public protests, he can pull an LBJ and simply not run for a second term.
The problem with wars in fractured places like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan is that once you get into them, you’re stuck — and end up making matters worse both here and there.
These are not words that generals, or presidents, like to hear.