Barack Obama and the Military-Industrial Complex

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As he considers General McChrystal's request for more troops in Afghanistan, President Obama faces a conflict defined by the Constitution. He is the Commander in Chief, but the US military enjoys at least as much political influence as the civilian authority that is nominally in charge. McCrystal was hand-picked by Obama to change the face of the eight-year-old war, but by publicly advocating a troop increase the President may not want to provide, the military leader has challenged the civilian authority provided by the Constitution. Like Harry Truman, John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, Obama appears to doubt that all-out force will produce the right outcome, but his options may be limited. If he provides what McChrystal asks, will Obama plunge the country into another "quagmire?"  If he does anything less, will he be labeled "unpatriotic?"




Warren Olney