Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Let the Generals decide?

One of Bush's frequent statements is that he doesn't believe that "politicians in Washington" ought to be running the war, and that he prefers to let the military decide what ought to be done.

He is completely wrong, both constitutionally and common-sensically (again!)

The Constitution very wisely puts the decision to declare war in the hands of "politicians in Washington," ie Congress. Congresspersons have to stand for election and they have to be able to face their constituents and explain to them why their sons and daughters should die in this war. The principle of civilian leadership is the difference between military dictatorships and democratic societies. The Constitution also makes the President, a civilian, a politician in Washington, the commander in chief. The military answers to a civilain leader, not the other way around.

From a practical point of view, it is also foolish to ask the military to decide what should be done. There's an old daying that when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. Similarly, if you ask a surgeon what to do about cancer, what do you think she will suggest? The military has a very specific job: to fight wars using military might. Every problem they face will have to be answered by the only tools they have--soldiers, tanks, bombs, bullets and so on. The military cannot negotiate or conduct diplomacy. It can retreat but it can't end a war on its own. So if you ask a general what he needs, what will his answer be? More troops, more weapons, more fighting. What else could he possibly say?

The fact that Americans have been swallowing the propaganda coming from the politician-in-chief in washington is extremely worrisome.


MikeL said...

You said: "...but actually priestly celibacy was imposed in order to prevent church property from being passed down to sons."

This is a common misconception, and urban myth that grew out of the Reformation. Clerical celibacy, a response to Mt 19:3-12 ("Some men are incapable of sexual activity from birth; some have been deliberately made so; and some there are who have freely renounced sex for the sake of God’s reign."), first began being imposed as early as the Council of Elvira (306), was discussed at Nicaea in 325, and was imposed by a number of popes in the 400s as well as various local councils up through the First Lateran Council in 1123 where it was universally codified in response to abuses.

Evelyn said...

If you say so, but in any case, priestly celibacy is not a doctrine or dogma, but merely a discipline, and one which can (and clearly should) be relaxed, if conditions change.

Evelyn said...

By the way, aren't we in the wrong thread here?

Aunt Bobbie said...

I throughly enjoy reading your blogs "Evelyn". This war is lost, the military machine, as Eisenhauer called it, is in full control and won't give that up. And I'm counting down the days until this Adminsitration is history, a very sorry one at that.

MikeL said...

Evelyn - you are right, I accidentally posted my reply in the wrong place - doh!

But you are right, priestly celibacy is a discipline that can be ended. That might be a good topic to blog about - and if you do, I'll make sure to post in the right place.