Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Editorial: The conversation that didn't take place

Last Thursday,  Luis Martinez (ABC NEWS) reported:

President Trump has delegated to the Pentagon the authority to set the American military troop levels in Iraq and Syria. The move restores a process that was in place prior to the Bush and Obama administrations and is another sign of how the White House is giving military commanders greater flexibility in their operations.
"The President has delegated the authority for Force Management Levels (FML) for Iraq and Syria to the Secretary," said Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, referring to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
Davis said the authority is being returned to the Pentagon where it had typically existed prior to the Bush and Obama administrations. 

Is this a good thing?

Control will now be placed in the hands of those who are more familiar with the military since they are a part of it.

But isn't this delegation also thwarting civilian control?

Isn't that the whole point in the president of the United States being commander in chief and not some general: Civilian control.

There are pluses and minuses to the issue -- both in terms of a President Donald Trump (who seems to alarm many) and in terms of the power structure itself.

But, strangely, it was one of last week's least noted and explored issues.

On PBS' gabfest WASHINGTON WEEK, it didn't even get a mention.

Worse, CBS' FACE THE NATION had a sit down with Trump yet failed to ask about the above.

Failed to ask about Iraq at all,

(Saturday night would bring news of another US military fatality in Iraq.  In fairness, John Dickerson interviewed Trump on Saturday before that news broke.)

Setting aside that Trump has done this, if any other person in the White House had turned over this power to the military, wouldn't we see it as shirking responsibility?

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