Sunday, August 31, 2008



In our opinion, we think that the presidency and vice-presidency should only be vacated by men who have served in the military.

Hi Chad,

i) I think you mean, “occupied,” not “vacated.”

ii) As a practical matter, we can only vote for whoever chooses to run. What if a veteran doesn’t choose to run? Should we leave the presidency vacant, and thereby have no Commander-in-Chief unless and until a veteran chooses to run?

iii) What if a veteran chooses to run, but his views on domestic and foreign policy are far worse than those of his rival—who is not a veteran?

Suppose the veteran is a nanny state social liberal while his rival, who is not a veteran, is a social conservative who believes in limited gov’t? Should we still vote for the veteran? How do you prioritize the qualifications for office?

Two reason: __#1- The Commander-in-Chief and his vice should have military experience (served in the military), if he is going to send his troops to war.__What business does any President have leading his country into war if he has never had any war-time experience?

That’s not a self-explanatory reason. Is your objection that a President needs to be a veteran to have the (i) moral warrant to be Commander-in-Chief? Or is your objection that a President needs to be a veteran to have the (ii) competence to be Commander-in-Chief?

Let’s consider these in turn:

Moral Warrant

i) All things being equal, I think it’s preferable that a Commander-in-Chief be a veteran. It lends a measure of personal respectability to his decision to send men into harm’s way. He’s not asking them to take a risk which he himself has not assumed (in some form or another).

ii) But all things considered, that’s not a prerequisite. The presidency is an ascribed status, not an achieved status. His military authority is conferred on him by virtue of his office, and by the electorate—who chose him for the job.

iii) We don’t have a military dictatorship. We have civilian control of the military. And veteran can run for the presidency, but it’s up to the electorate whether a veteran or a civilian (with no military experience) assumes the role of Commander-in-Chief.

iv) At present, we have a volunteer army. Soldiers know, at the time they enlist, that the Commander-in-Chief may or may not be a veteran. But they choose to abide by, and defend, that system.


You can have military training and experience, but have no strategic or tactical competence. For example, Bush ran through a number of 4-star generals before he discovered Petraeus. And I’ve read that the Joint-Chiefs were opposed to the appointment of Petraeus. Bush, who’s not a veteran, had to overrule his top military advisors. Yet, in this case, he was right and they were wrong.

Likewise, Robert Gates seems to be a better Secretary of Defense than Donald Rumsfeld, even though Rumsfeld is a veteran, and Gates is not.

Likewise, Reagan was a better Commander-in-Chief than Carter, even though Carter was a veteran, and Reagan was not.

#2- Combat is for men, not women.:)


Therefore, it is absurd to have a woman leading the national armed forces into war.

That doesn’t follow.

i) #2 is reducible to #1. So it’s not a separate argument, but dependent on #1.

ii) Indeed, #2 undercuts #1. Like it or not, many women do have military experience, including combat experience.

So that would actually be an argument for a female Command-in-Chief if she happens to be a veteran.

iii) In addition, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are many female civilian advisors at the Pentagon, a number of who have a lot of expertise on military affairs. You don’t have to serve in the military, in some official capacity, to be a military consultant.

McCain is qualified to be the Commander-in-Chief.

I don’t think McCain’s military experience ipso facto qualifies him to be Command-in-Chief.

I don’t think McGovern would have made a good Commander-in-Chief, even though he was a veteran. Or John Kerry. Or Wesley Clark.

Military service doesn’t ensure sound military judgment. And even if it did, that’s not all we want from a President. You could be a great general and still have a lousy foreign policy or domestic policy.

My main objection to Obama is not his inadequate experience, but his inadequate worldview. His worldview is out of kilter with what the world is really like as well as what it ought to be like.

Palin is not qualified to be vice Commander-in-Chief.(See Reason #1 & #2).

There’s no such thing as a vice Commander-in-Chief.

And the Vice Presidency is on-the-job training to be Commander-in-Chief.

Qualified candidates running for the Presidency should only be for men who have served in the US Miltary.

And what about men or women who served in some other national security agency like the CIA?

Victor Hansen might make a great Commander-in-Chief. He’s a military historian.

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