A Specter Is Haunting the Pentagon

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According to Bob Woodward’s direct citation of his 2009 remarks to a group that included President Karzai and Hilary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Gates announced emphatically that, “We’re not leaving Afghanistan prematurely. In fact, we’re not ever leaving at all.”

And what role will the Congress, the president, and the people have in this momentous decision? None. In fact, War Party lead drummer Charles Krauthammer considers the guy who is supposed to be Gates’s elected boss, Obama, to be merely a bothersome impediment to endless war because the president apparently wants to end it. And what about the military commander who is supposedly subordinate to the civilian, elected president? General David Petraeus, whom neocons have touted for a presidential run, apparently doesn’t think the view of the guy in the Oval Office is worth a bucket of warm spit:  “You have to recognize that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives,” said Patraeus, oblivious to the Constitution.

Oh, speaking of that “scholastic” document (as one of my neocon friends calls it), Jonah Goldberg, who for years thought it was fine to ignore it, now discovers (well, fan my brow!) that laws should be constitutional. Unfortunately, Junior is just halfway home — he hasn’t made the same sage, original, and stunning observation regarding wars. Oh well. He’s young yet.

So far, this issue and Woodward’s revelations have made little impact. Those millions of Americans who desire, for whatever constellation of reasons, to see all of Congress fired next month, should pray that foreign policy does not break out of the closet (e.g., with a joint U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran) and knock all the cards off the table, as has happened in other Octobers. For if it does, the apparently united anti-Pelosi, anti-Obama, anti-Reid masses will split that makeshift coalition down the middle. Foreign Policy is the San Andreas Fault of the GOP, because there is huge money in war, and the bloody trough is bipartisan. It is so powerful that apparently the Secretary of Defense and the Commander of the war effort on the ground can flout the express direction of the nominal Commander-in-Chief without fear of reprisal. This is the faction that truly represents a specter haunting America.

7:58 am on October 2, 2010