Get ready for phase 2 of the low key, but continuing
struggle between President Obama and the U.S. military. December is fast
approaching and, at that time, this nation may witness one of the greatest
confrontations in decades between a sitting president and the military under
his command. In phase 1, which took place a year ago, the president demanded a
list of optional strategies for the Afghan War; instead he received three
variations on only one option, that being escalation.
While Mr. Obama caved in to the military on that occasion
and agreed to escalation, he did state, rather indecisively, that a troop
withdrawal of U.S. troops
would commence in July 2011. Shortly after he announced the withdrawal plan,
Defense Secretary Gates and General Patraeus countered his statement, saying
that any withdrawal would depend on "conditions on the ground" meaning, in
effect, that the decision would be theirs. This amounted to a blatant display
of insubordination that, unsurprisingly, brought them no reprimand.
What decisions are made in the strategy sessions scheduled
for December will tell us a lot about this president. Is he really as weak and
indecisive as he often appears? Well, we will soon see if he can find the
strength and courage to stand up to the military leaders and tell them in no
uncertain terms what exactly they must do not what they want to do. This time
he must set the withdrawal plan in concrete terms and must resist any further attempts
by the military to control the agenda. Then, if any one of these subordinates
refuses to accept his final decisions, immediate dismissal must follow.
Mr. Obama may have found a new ally in this battle with
the military in his new national security adviser, Tom Donilon, who has replaced
General James Jones. Previously, with Jones as his adviser, the president must
have felt as if he had one hand tied behind his back when discussing military
policy and strategy with the Pentagon. Donilon will be a refreshing change as
he has openly disagreed with the military leaders on policy several times. This
could be a great advantage for President Obama as they enter into the December
discussions; if he knows how to take advantage of it.
At this point in his presidency Mr. Obama has allowed the
Pentagon and the military leaders to get their way relative to how the war in
Afghanistan/Pakistan has been conducted. This military has a long history of
dominating American presidents. The best example of these attempts to dominate
the agenda occurred during the Vietnam War when the military pulled out all the
stops to pressure a succession of presidents, from John F. Kennedy to Lyndon
Johnson to Richard Nixon, to greatly escalate that hideous war.
President Kennedy refused to do their bidding but Johnson
and Nixon were unable to resist the relentless pressure which sent
multi-thousands of our troops to their deaths for no good reason. One thing we
should clearly know by now is that the Pentagon and the military are the
operating arms of the gigantic octopus-like Military-Industrial Complex whose
sole business is to wage war to make monumental profits. They care nothing
about how many deaths are involved in these wars as long as they can be perpetuated.
To return to the subject of Afghanistan and America's
obsession with these seemingly endless wars, what in the world is going on in
the minds of the majority of the this nation's people? In a nationwide New
York Times/CBS News poll conducted last month, 60 percent of Americans said
that the economy or jobs were the most important problems facing the country. A
mere 3 percent mentioned Afghanistan
or the war.
Something is going terribly wrong in America. We the
people seem to our own worst enemies. Can these people not see that America's wars
are clearly the biggest problem we face? Can they not comprehend that the
monumental costs of the military machine, over $1 trillion ($1,000,000,000,000)
annually are destroying the American economy, our ability to create jobs, our
infrastructure, our education system and more?
Do they not realize that if the corporate-controlled
Congress would reduce this massive, bloated budget by even one-third, that
those funds could fuel the restoration of our economy and bring stability to
our nation; that we could then create jobs and restart the economy? If the
majority of Americans have been so mentally conditioned that they accept and
condone these wars and do not comprehend that they are bankrupting this nation,
then hang on tight because the rest of us who are still not brainwashed are in big
This looming confrontation between President Obama and the
military leadership is so very critical. It will be the major test of his constitutional authority. Mr. Obama must, for
once, refuse and resist the relentless pressure and dictates of the Pentagon
and its self-proclaimed and self-promoted star, General Patraeus, who is
preparing himself to be the 21st century version of General Dwight
D. Eisenhower, our 34th president.
Who will President Obama follow into history? Will it be
President Truman who fired the famous World War II general Douglas MacArthur
for gross insubordination or JFK who refused to let the military intimidate
him? Or will he become the modern-day version of Presidents Johnson and Nixon
who became totally subservient to the generals?
Some might say, "Wait, he has two more years to address
this issue, what's the hurry? No, that is completely unacceptable, America can't
wait any longer. It is now time for Mr. Obama to start acting like a strong and
decisive leader. Should he fail in this crucial test of his courage and resolve,
his presidency will, for all practical purposes, become irrelevant and this
democracy will suffer a deadly blow as the military gains control.
This is a pivotal time for this president and America. The
military cannot be allowed to take over the decision-making process that
determines when we enter into wars and when we disengage from those wars. That
process has already been severely damaged by weak, submissive presidents of the
past who allowed themselves to be dominated. If the military wrests this
authority from the executive branch of our government, especially under our
current wartime conditions, then it will be a very dark time in the history of
If there ever was a time when this president must assume
the role of Commander-In-Chief, that time is now.