Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Friday, June 16, 2017

John Kirby, CNN: President Trump has given Secretary of Defense James Mattis full authority to set U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan. Before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, Mattis lauded the decision as a way to make managing the war effort more efficient: "This assures the department can facilitate our missions and nimbly align our commitment to the situation on the ground," he said. Fair enough. But there are -- and should be -- honest concerns about the degree to which the president's hands-off approach to the military provides for a proper set of checks and balances and is healthy for civil-military relations in this country. It is safe to assume, however, that, eased by this decision, the number could soon increase -- perhaps even before the new war strategy is presented to the President for review and approval, which defense officials now say won't happen for another few weeks.

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Trump's decision to delegate this authority shouldn't come as much of a surprise. He did the same thing not long ago for troop levels in Iraq and Syria, and it is perfectly in keeping with his stated objective of letting "the generals do the fighting, you know."

The American people can be forgiven for wondering whether this new delegation of authority only further encourages our commander in chief to ignore the demands -- the heavy burden -- of wartime leadership and accountability, to obscure from them the logic in decisions that are made about the war in Afghanistan, and, worse, to be able to place himself outside the decision-making arena and blame the generals if/when things go wrong.

This is not a man, let's remember, well known for accepting personal responsibility for his decisions.

"The President has effectively removed himself from decision making, and as the commander in chief he does not get that option," said retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, who commanded troops in Iraq at the height of the surge in 2007,

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The author notes:

As a presidential candidate, Trump declared: "I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V." Now, as president, he will allow his stand-in commander in chief to likely send a few thousand more of our finest into Afghanistan without a clear strategy or defined objectives. Given that Mattis is such a careful and thoughtful scholar of civil-military relations, it is puzzling why he would endorse and participate in such an extraordinary relationship with President Trump. There has been nothing like this in the 70 years since the defense secretary position was established. The best we can hope for is that James Mattis addresses this honestly in a memoir someday.

#1 | Posted by Doc_Sarvis at 2017-06-15 12:36 PM | Reply

As much as people claim about Trump being incompetent. You think this would be a good thing. Mattis is a honorable man, and I kinda predicted this would happen, to me it's a no brainer

#2 | Posted by cmbell73 at 2017-06-15 01:39 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

As much as people claim about Trump being incompetent. You think this would be a good thing.

#2 | Posted by cmbell73 at 2017-06-15

He should resign for the good of the country. Not hang about and prematurely age the rest of us.

#3 | Posted by Zed at 2017-06-15 01:59 PM | Reply

Trump has always been about hype with no results. Bankruptcy is his norm. His presidency will be no different except this time he is going to bankrupt the United States.

#4 | Posted by 726 at 2017-06-15 02:09 PM | Reply

Mmmmmmm...the most beautiful piece of Chocolate Cake ever!

Hey, somebody's gotta eat it. right?...Maria Antoinette Trump

#5 | Posted by oldwhiskeysour at 2017-06-15 04:56 PM | Reply

So the guy who insisted he "knows more than the Generals" and was rewarded for that lie by his "base" is gonna walk away from being CIC?

Bet he still gets his beautiful piece of chocolate cake.

What a match. Doofus CIC and Doofus Base. GOP, you built this!

#6 | Posted by oldwhiskeysour at 2017-06-16 08:40 AM | Reply

Don't look now but that is the way it is suppose to be. Civilians tell the military what they want done and then let the generals decide how to do it.

#7 | Posted by Sniper at 2017-06-16 01:08 PM | Reply | Funny: 1 | Newsworthy 1

oh by all means the president who has no experience should decide troop levels you guys are too much. Obama had no clue how to handle the military and it showed he even canned anyone who didn't tow his line at least Trump is letting the people in the know to decide whats best.

#8 | Posted by WTFIGO at 2017-06-16 04:55 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"he even canned anyone who didn't tow his line at least Trump..."

Sometimes the comedy just writes itself.

#9 | Posted by Danforth at 2017-06-16 04:59 PM | Reply

Civilians tell the military what they want done and then let the generals decide how to do it.

James Mattis, Secretary of Defense, is a civilian.

#10 | Posted by REDIAL at 2017-06-16 06:47 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

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"Bet he still gets his beautiful piece of chocolate cake."

With TWO scoops of ice cream. Pretty sure THAT was SECRET PLAN.

And now if things go sour it is not Trump's fault.

#11 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-06-16 06:56 PM | Reply

What could go wrong putting generals in charge!?!

BTW isn't it a military maxim that generals always want more troops?

#12 | Posted by truthhurts at 2017-06-16 06:59 PM | Reply

When you sell hammers, every problem looks like a nail.

Military leaders come from the military training machine, which strips your natural sense of ethics and morality and replaces it with obedience and loyalty.

Decision makers should NOT be brainwashed warriors.

#13 | Posted by SpeakSoftly at 2017-06-16 07:26 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

Bless your heart Sniper.

#14 | Posted by Lohocla at 2017-06-17 10:58 AM | Reply

In Mattis We Trust.

#15 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2017-06-17 03:17 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

"Don't look now but that is the way it is suppose to be. Civilians tell the military what they want done and then let the generals decide how to do it."

I suspect that it will work much, much better than it did with LBJ driving and Robert McNamara, the former CEO of Ford Motors, calling shots. THEN, for eight years, we had Barackus Magnificus, Community Organizer of the highest order, in charge with advice from Valerie Jarrett devising military planning. How'd THAT work out? So now we have a reknown warrier planning war with the compliance of a president with faith in his competency. Somehow I feel better about the outcome that I have in a long time.

#16 | Posted by jestgettinalong at 2017-06-17 07:28 PM | Reply

Isn't little d the twerp that had a secret plan better than the generals to defeat ISIS? I guess that was B.S. too.

#17 | Posted by bored at 2017-06-17 08:06 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

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