For all their crowing about the Constitution, many conservatives would do well to check out Article II, which explicitly states: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.”
In contrast, several conservatives have criticized President Obama’s approach to Afghanistan — considering a broad range of advisers and contextual circumstances — by stating he should do whatever his top field generals think. At Gen. David Petraeus’s Senate confirmation hearing to be CIA director, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said:
I’m asked quite often, as are all of us, What do you think should happen in Afghanistan? My first response is, “Well, whatever Gen. Petraeus says, that’s the direction in which we ought to go.”
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Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly picked up on this last night during his “Talking Points Memo” segment. “‘Talking Points’ does not have enough time or information to tell you what President Obama should do in Afghanistan,” O’Reilly said, adding, “But I will say this, General Petraeus is the key. Whatever he says, Mr. Obama should do.”
Luckily for the republic, the object of Chambliss and O’Reilly’s adoration understands the U.S. Constitution and the role generals are supposed to play in relation to the country’s civilian leadership: Petraeus explained the chain of command during the hearing.