Presidents, Emperors, and Volunteer Forces

Some things should be difficult -- like sending your sons and daughters to war.  The Founding Fathers, in their wisdom, separated the commander in chief of the force from the war-making authority; it was designed to keep the president -- who is not the king or the emperor -- from seeing America's troops as his troops and deciding to send them off to do his bidding.  On the other hand, while Congress can determine that the time has come to defend the country, its allies, or its interests, once that decision is made, the troops can serve only one commander in chief. Clever system...but hold that thought. There is temptation these days to compare our posture in Afghanistan with that of the U.S. in the waning days of Vietnam.  There we took over a long guerrilla war from the French.  Our goals were unclear -- what did we ever want from the Vietnamese?  Our enemies wanted unity under communist rule, and they were willing to fight in their homeland until they...(Read Full Article)

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