Chain of Command

There’s a small-but-interesting story in the Times about how military commanders want to conduct more strikes in Pakistan but the Bush administration is forcing them to exercise more constraint out of deference to Pakistani sentiments. I’m not sure who’s right on the underlying merits here, but the fact that this situation could arise helps illustrate how fatuous the Bush/McCain “We Must Do What Petraeus Commands” theory of Iraq is.

No President — not even the one articulating the theory — would actually behave in the manner Bush is suggesting. When formulating policy toward military operations in Pakistan you of course need to ask the military commanders what they think, but you of course don’t just follow them blindly. There are other considerations in play and it would be absurd to blindly follow any one person’s advice.