Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Granted, for most of the planet, civilian control of the military is not a given; it is a luxury that for Americans the constitutional rule of law is an iron-clad tradition that has (as far as we know), never been threatened with a military takeover.

Now, with that caveat -- with the understanding that for most of the rest of the world this would not even qualify as news -- this is quite remarkable stuff. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates:
“And speaking for the Department of Defense,” Mr. Gates said, “once the commander in chief makes his decisions, we will salute and execute those decisions faithfully and to the best of our ability.”
On the pro side: that's a lifelong Republican, a servant of both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush who, without reservation, swears allegiance to a President of the opposite party. It is the clearest indication yet that perhaps there is a whiff of fresh air, of bi-partisanship and new purpose in our government.

On the con side: why does he even have to say it? Clearly, we have entered a new era of lawlessness: we are seeing a level of personal disloyalty to the office of the presidency not seen in this country since 1861. (Or 1963?)

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