Monday, December 21, 2015

Not the President's Job to Keep Me Safe

Maybe Americans don't understand the role of civilian control of the military because it's been so fucking long since we were invaded.

Because the limeys burning the White House in 1813 is the closest we've come to an actual existential threat, and even that fell far short of threatening us even seriously, much less to the point of erasing our existence.

Although we came a hell of a lot closer to elimination as a nation 150 years ago, when the only threat was from the idiot and criminal slaveholders* of the south whom we should have slapped the fuck down decades before.

In fact, that's the real existential threat we're facing today. Not from "outsiders," but from the vipers we've nourished at our breast since abandoning Reconstruction: the descendants of Traitors in Defense of Tyranny and their camp followers and apologists.  They're the ones perpetrating more than one mass shooting in this country Every. Single. Fucking. Day.

They're the ones whose fear-mongering and slander of muslims are giving aid and comfort to those syphilitic desert punks raping and beheading because they don't have a real military.

They're the ones who don't understand that presidents lead the country; mommies keep you safe.

When Abraham Lincoln took actions based on military considerations, he gave himself the proper title, "commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States." That title is rarely—more like never—heard today. It is just "commander in chief," or even "commander in chief of the United States." This reflects the increasing militarization of our politics. The citizenry at large is now thought of as under military discipline. In wartime, it is true, people submit to the national leadership more than in peacetime. The executive branch takes actions in secret, unaccountable to the electorate, to hide its moves from the enemy and protect national secrets. Constitutional shortcuts are taken "for the duration." But those impositions are removed when normal life returns. But we have not seen normal life in 66 years. The wartime discipline imposed in 1941 has never been lifted, and "the duration" has become the norm. World War II melded into the cold war, with greater secrecy than ever—more classified information, tougher security clearances. And now the cold war has modulated into the war on terrorism.

—Garry Wills, 2007.
I needed to put that on the record because its basic truth was completely lost in a dark land of fear and amid the waving poison ferns in Wolf Blitzer's amygdala.
First of all, none of these people will be my commander in chief. None of these people will have the job of keeping me "safe." The first priority of a president is not keeping the country safe. The first priority of a president—indeed, the only priority of a president—is to preserve, protect and defend not me, but the Constitution of the United States. So sitting there, listening to a bunch of people who never served a day in combat talk about how they're going to turn the Middle East into obsidian glass and how they will keep me safe, it was hard not to fall off my chair. Frankly, I wouldn't hire any of these people to watch my car in a valet parking lot, let alone lead the country into what they never miss a chance to call, "the Third World War." Chris Christie? Ted Cruz? Marco Rubio?
 *Yes, including my ancestors.

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