Speaking of Afghanistan tick-tocks, I was reading the NYT’s version of something that may or may not resemble reality, when I came across this quote. (I’ve been unplugged and writing the past four days, so excuse the inexcusable delay in catching up on my news reading.)
The episode underscored the uneasy relationship between the military and a new president who, aides said, was determined not to be as deferential as he believed his predecessor, George W. Bush, was for years in Iraq. And the military needed to adjust to a less experienced but more skeptical commander in chief. “We’d been chugging along for eight years under an administration that had become very adept at managing war in a certain way,” said another military official.
Hmmm. I admit to have a guffaw-moment. Perhaps it’s the fact that the previous administration had managed our two wars, for the bulk of those eight years, with an almost unprecedented level of incompetence? A suspicion that ‘very adept’, from the military’s point of view, means: ‘get out of the way, don’t ask too many questions, and let us do our thing.’
Anyway, certainly the civilian-military relationship has changed. For one, the military doesn’t like Obama that much. This is a generalization, but it’s very true. And now rather than blind acceptance of decrees from general officers, the White House hems and haws and ‘asks tough questions’ before accepting what the generals have to say. An improvement in style, not substance.