Rob Kall: " It's not a coup, it's worse? ' Talk more about that. What is it exactly you're referring to, and how is it worse?
It's worse because you don't have, like Pakistan had, for example, an interim period where President Musharraf, goes from being a General to being President, and to a certain degree stabilizes the country and turns it back over to civilian control . You don't have a seizure of power by the military. What you have , as George Marshall said to Harry Truman, when he signed the 1947 National Security Agreement Act, 26 th July. George Marshall said " Mr President, I fear we have militarized the decision making process.' George Marshall was right. We have militarized the decision making process. And we're seeing those animals that were created thereby, " creep home to the barn ' even as I speak. Our foreign policy, our security policy, is increasingly dominated by the military instrument. If every problem in the world is a nail and you have a hammer in the Pentagon, guess which one you're going to use in terms of tools. You're going to use the Pentagon. That's how we perceive the world now, is nails, and the Pentagon is the hammer. That's what I mean by an insidious takeover of power that is not even recognized the way a coup would be, the way Musharraf, took over in Islamabad. No , this is something that just happens, and it directs American policy towards war, in an increased and ever dangerous manner and we wind up one day with no money left, no economy, and the only thing we're good at ( and that's going away fast , because you need money in an economy to support a military) is the military!
Rob Kall: Let's wait a second. Let me ask you about this now. I have written about this. I believe that the role of the House of Representatives is to make decisions about war, and that they have pretty much punted and just given up that power.
Totally abdicated! Totally abdicated.
Rob Kall: [repeating Lawrence] Totally abdicated their powers, and handed it over to the President , who, basically nowadays we've had two Presidents, who say " I'm going to have the Generals tell me what to do! '
Yep. Romney, in a recent interview, actually said when he was asked, I forget whether it was Jamie McIntyre or whomever asked him . "Was he going to go to Congress if he used the military instrument in Iran ? "
And he said "I don't believe I have to! I don't believe that's necessary . I believe it's within my prerogative as Commander in Chief to go to war with Iran without any Congressional approval."
Holy mackerel! I about fell off my seat . And yet I have to back up and say that's exactly what Obama did with Libya. No Congressional consultation whatsoever . Not even the War Powers Resolution was invoked. So where are we ? We're at a point where James Madison would say, "We are a tyranny!" James Madison wrote very eloquently that the closest way to get to tyranny, the most direct route to get to tyranny, was to give the war power to one person.
Rob Kall: Yes. So, let me ask you this. Let's say a candidate comes forward with the courage to say " I am not going to ask the Generals. You're electing me to be the Commander in Chief . And I will decide!" How would the Generals respond? How would the officers respond to that ? How would the Joint Chiefs of Staff respond to that?
The first thing I would say, is that it depends on who the officers are you're referring to, and who the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs is . I would give you a historical example though, that comes close enough to make some comments. And that is when John F. Kennedy took over. John F. Kennedy not only told the Pentagon where to go, when he insisted that the Bay of Pigs invasion, which had turned out to be a huge failure, be suddenly reversed into a victory by a military invasion , which the Pentagon was sitting on, had plans for, and were ready to go . In many respects the leadership in the Pentagon in 1961 was hoping the C.I.A. invasion would fail so they could pick up the pieces. And when Kennedy said no , stop the covert operation, and there will be no invasion, man he pissed some guys off in the Pentagon . Then when you get the Cuban missile crisis, and you ' ve got his military leaders insisting on striking the Russian missiles before they can be erected, and before nuclear war heads get to Cuba, we now know that there were already ten nuclear warheads in Cuba but we didn ' t at that time , ma king Kennedy ' s ultimate decision even wiser. Kennedy essentially stood up to them again, especially the Chiefof Staff of the Airforce, Curtis LeMay, who wanted to bomb Cuba back to hell. So we ' ve had a President, young, inexperienced, who took on the military not once but twice.
Rob Kall: And he got assassinated.