Support the Generals

I imagine people who woke up on Eastern time have already gone through most of the BS in Joe Lieberman's Washington Post op-ed, but let's note his characterization here of congressional liberals: "Rather than supporting Gen. Petraeus, they are threatening to strip him of the troops he says he needs and sabotage his strategy." You see. It's not the president's policy Democrats aren't supporting, it's General Petraeus' policy!

This is something we've seen for months now and it really rankles. It's a weird way of turning civil-military relations on its head, and then kind of spinning it around. Petraeus is a general. He's supposed to follow orders from the country's civilian leadership. If Bush outlines a policy, Petraeus is supposed to carry it out. The fact that Petraeus is backing it, however, doesn't then become an additional reason for further elements of the national political leadership to also back it. "Look, the general I put in charge because he was willing to defend my policy publicly is defending my policy" isn't an independent basis for thinking the president's policy is sound. What's more, it's bizarre to see discredited figures like President of the United States George W. Bush, Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Senator Joe Lieberman, etc. all hiding behind the skirts of a subordinate to try to make it appear that this is something other than a policy that was outlined by them and that they are in charge of implementing.