Win One for Democratic Institutions

In his statement announcing the firing (technically, acceptance of resignation) of Stanley McChrystal and McChrystal’s replacement with David Petraeus, Obama emphasized the importance of chain of command and civilian control of the military.

War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a Private, a General, or a President. As difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe it is the right decision for our national security. The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding General. It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our democratic system. And it erodes the trust that’s necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan. My multiple responsibilities as Commander in Chief led me to this decision. First, I have a responsibility to the extraordinary men and women who are fighting this war and to the democratic institutions that I’ve been elected to lead. I’ve got no greater honor than serving as Commander in Chief of our men and women in uniform. And it is my duty to ensure that no diversion complicates the vital mission that they are carrying out. That includes adherence to a strict code of conduct. The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted Privates and to the General Office who commands them. That allows us to come together as one. That is part of the reason why America has the finest fighting force in the history of the world. It is also true that our democracy depends on institutions that are stronger than individuals. That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command and respect for civilian control over that chain of command. And that’s why as Commander in Chief I believe this decision is necessary to hold ourselves accountable to standards that are at the core of our democracy. [my emphasis]

While I recognize that David Petraeus’ selection represents a continuation of the same policy in Afghanistan, and while I don’t agree with the overall conduct of the war in Afghanistan, I believe Obama made the correct decision with regards to Stanley McChrystal and said precisely the right things about why he had to fire McChrystal.

Now if only we could see the same respect for America’s democratic institutions elsewhere in the Obama Administration.

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54 replies
  1. klynn says:

    It is also true that our democracy depends on institutions that are stronger than individuals. That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command and respect for civilian control over that chain of command.

    That was the point which jumped out at me.

    Do you think this briefing had anything to do with O’s selection? I do.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I agree. Petraeus was a logical choice for other reasons as well. If I approved of Obama’s current Afghan policy, I’d think him a good choice.

      Boxturtle (left you a response on the prior thread, btw)

        • BoxTurtle says:

          You have a functioning brain, an effective bullshit filter, and ethics. How could you NOT be against current policy? :-)

          Karazi is actually starting to do the right thing wrt taliban. Start talking. The taliban will likely turn on any remaining AQ as part of a deal. If we were to offer up a ceasefire (including drone strikes) during talks, we might get it. Having 10’s of thousands of troops looking for “At most, double digits” of AQ seems both overkill and horribly ineffective at the same time.

          Other than possibly exposing the major portion of the Afghan war as foolish at best, there’s no cost to talking.

          Boxturtle (And people who can read are already aware of that)

          • klynn says:

            Went and read at the last post. Thanks. Replied too.

            Do we know who might be replacing Petraeus at CENTCOM?

            • cbl2 says:

              Lt. Gen. John Allen, who has been deputy commander of CENTCOM for the past two years. He’s a Marine and was recently on a short list to be the next Commandant of the Marine Corps, but he was passed over, because Pentagon leadership thought he would be better as a combatant commander.

              bobbleheads were also falling all over themselves speculating about someone named Mattis as well

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    I’d consider this a win if McC had been retired the last time he opened his mouth.

    Obama waited until there was no question what the right decision was in the eyes of the voters and congress. That’s not leadership, that’s waiting to see what direction the herd will go.

    Boxturtle (Why are the Sheepdogs for this herd all wearing MSM press passes?)

    • harpie says:

      I agree about the timing.

      ************
      Just wondering…

      It is also true that our democracy depends on institutions that are stronger than individuals. That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command and respect for civilian control over that chain of command.

      Does that also include strict adherence to the “notion” that we are “a nation of laws and not of men?”

      • Mary says:

        Well darn, you beat me to it. Only I was going to use the code of conduct aspect:

        That includes adherence to a strict code of conduct. The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted Privates and to the General Office who commands them.

        Unless, of course, you want to kill civilians and engage in torture experiments and disappear prisoners – – then, eh, heck, what’s a code of conduct between pals?

          • harpie says:

            …speaking of which…

            Just Words…or just words?

            USA: Normalizing delay, perpetuating injustice, undermining the ‘rules of the road’; Amnesty International; 6/23/10 [Index Number: AMR 51/053/2010]
            http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR51/053/2010/en

            The USA has long displayed a particular fluency in the language of human rights, but its own actions, often couched in terms of domestic values, have frequently fallen short of its international obligations. This unfortunately remains the case today in respect of detentions, trials, accountability and remedy in the counter-terrorism context.

    • Hmmm says:

      Well, I could well be wrong but that seems a little more ambiguous to me. The timing could also be seen as letting the media-wide momentum of the situation build to a head, as it seemed pretty likely to do from the start, so that there would be less expenditure of Presidential political capital. Also it took a couple days to get Stan back here, and doing it without the mano-a-mano (not to mention CiC photo op) might have had its own downsides.

      Ultimately the RS piece is just too extreme to think Stan wouldn’t have expected severe consequences. Anyone wondering whether this is Team Stan’s way of getting out of The Impossible Mission? Or does he truly have that late-MacArthur-like tone deafness?

      • brendanx says:

        I think that in light of our ever more evident military defeat McChrystal was trying to shake things up and knew perfectly well his own dismissal was a possible, or even probable outcome. The other outcome would have been that he would have been seen by everyone to have slapped Obama around again with impunity and put himself in a stronger position to demand yet more lives and money be shovelled into the maw of this war.

  3. JThomason says:

    I was struck that this was more than a civilian command statement which as a concept in on of itself would seem weak and unsure. In the end this is a significant statement because of the emphasis and affirmation of the unity of command, acknowledging even differences in personal politics but upholding the necessity to work for something bigger than self.

    And among the other reasons that this is significant it strikes as being particularly politically significant and significant for morale as well in highlighting the cavalier and reckless quality of McCrystal’s hubris.

    Obviously I take as a given the engagement in Afghanistan. I deplore the human cost and wait to see what if any good might come of the situation as we find it now.

    • masaccio says:

      I noticed the teaching aspect of the speech, too. Give the President a couple of days to come up with a speech, and he’s a wonder.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Agree.
        I also thought his comments about ‘what we owe each other’ will probably be widely overlooked in the media. But it’s something that needs more focus.

        As for ‘timing’: this is a President who seems to have an uncanny sense of timing. We’re not used to that. For so many years, we had Bush II shoot off his yap, or we had Bill Clinton emote to us all on the drop of a dime**, or GHWB or RR yapping — we’ve been so immersed in 24/7/365 that it seems too many Americans (and certainly our political culture) have lost a grasp of the importance of timing.

        It was only last week that the GOP almost-Chair of a House Energy committee apologized to BP for Obama’s ‘shakedown’. Meanwhile, the Palins and her ilk squawk at every leaf that turns in D.C. In contrast, Obama gave the tragedy some dignity and turned it into a ‘teachable moment’.

        (FWIW: Petraeus does not look a well man from my little computer screen. I wonder how many chemical pollutants the man has been around these past 20+ years.)

        ** not slamming Clinton’s policies, just saying he was too hasty too often.

        • Hmmm says:

          Per yr FWIW — Good, it’s not just me then. P’s hair color today looks conspicuously bottled.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, he canned an asshole he never should have hired, and who he should have canned the last time he disrespected the civilian authority of the White House, and then uttered a few slick lines. What a guy. Obama is just wonderful; what a hero. Jeebus the bar is set low these days.

  4. Arbusto says:

    While I consider Petraeus a kiss ass opportunist, his paper on the effect our Israeli policy and Israel have on Muslims and extremest recruitment is a grand departure from out go along to get along AIPAC BS. Maybe he and Biden could get something going to change policy from COIN to counter terrorist strategy. Just dreaming.

    • harpie says:

      It will be interesting to see if those thoughts about US Israel policy will have any effect on the status quo. It does feel like “just dreaming”.

  5. Jeff Kaye says:

    In my conspiratorial mind (entertaining conspiracy only for the sport of it), how nice to put Gen. Petraeus in command… a good way to keep him off balance and far away come 2012, not to mention he’ll come to own the clusterfuck and retreat that await U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

    In retrospect, the whole McChrystal embroglio was a tempest in a teapot. The “mindfuckers” at JSOC got themselves a little too juiced on their homophobic testosterone-fueled jive talk — “hey Rolling Stone, look at us be more cynical and cool than any of your readers!” — and got their foot stuck royally in their mouths. McChrystal is gone, but McRaven remains, Petraeus guarantees status quo, and the Pentagon machine keeps a-rollin’ along.

    Obama can intone about the importance of civilian leadership over the military, but how can he say this at the same time he let JSOC and DIA keep the secret, black-site prisons he implied would be be closed (well, got rid of CIA management, supposedly, probably… maybe), and leave an entire layer of torture-facilitators in command? Hell, though I’m about the only one to keep mentioning it, he’s left SERE psychologists in charge of “Psychological oversight of battlefield interrogation and detention,” among other things.

    Yeah, Obama probably doesn’t even know about it. McChystal is gone, but nearly a year and half into the Obama administration, Gates is still SECDEF, and Admiral Mike Mullen — he of the “few bad apples” theory about U.S. torture (his actual quote: “”Despite our best efforts, a misguided and misled few have managed to tarnish that reputation and breach the very trust we have worked so hard to earn.”) — are still there. If anyone really believes Obama has control over the military, his “firing” of McChrystal will not prove it to me.

    • harpie says:

      Obama can intone about the importance of civilian leadership over the military, but how can he say this at the same time he let JSOC and DIA keep the secret, black-site prisons he implied would be be closed (well, got rid of CIA management, supposedly, probably… maybe), and leave an entire layer of torture-facilitators in command?

      Well said!

      Hell, though I’m about the only one to keep mentioning it, he’s left SERE psychologists in charge of “Psychological oversight of battlefield interrogation and detention,” among other things.

      Why is it that I did not see this at your FDL site yesterday [Arrrgh!]
      …I am totally confused…this is the what I have bookmarked: http://firedoglake.com/author/valtin/

      [Mullen’s] actual quote: “”Despite our best efforts, a misguided and misled few have managed to tarnish that reputation and breach the very trust we have worked so hard to earn.”)

      The bolded part is what MG Taguba said in his 3/3/04 report:

      “[…] the horrific abuses suffered by the detainees at Abu Ghraib (BCCF) were wanton acts of select soldiers in an unsupervised and dangerous setting. There was a complex interplay of many psychological factors and command insufficiencies […] during the period August 2003 to February 2004.”

      […but I don’t think that’s what Mullen meant]

      If anyone really believes Obama has control over the military, his “firing” of McChrystal will not prove it to me.

      Me either.

    • Hmmm says:

      Obama can intone about the importance of civilian leadership over the military, but how can he say this at the same time he let JSOC and DIA keep the secret, black-site prisons he implied would be be closed (well, got rid of CIA management, supposedly, probably… maybe), and leave an entire layer of torture-facilitators in command? Hell, though I’m about the only one to keep mentioning it, he’s left SERE psychologists in charge of “Psychological oversight of battlefield interrogation and detention,” among other things.

      He can say it at the same time because he was probably lying back when he implied he’d actually do anything about it.

    • harpie says:

      O/T but I just want to thank you very much for that article of yours you linked to, and for all the work you do, Jeff.

  6. phred says:

    The strength and greatness of our military is rooted in the fact that this code applies equally to newly enlisted Privates and to the General Office who commands them.

    Emphasis mine.

    Now we are making progress! C’mon Mr. President, you see the importance of the equal application of military code, it is not that hard to see the same importance of the equal application of civilian law, even to those who lead the government. You can do it sir, it is not that far of a leap…

  7. sonofloud says:

    What short memories some people have.
    Petraeus was removed from Iraq because of his complete incompetence and was replaced by McCyrstal.
    Trying to claim now that it is a good decision to put Petraeus back in charge is the height of hypocrisy.
    The Obama apologists are just as brainwashed and blinded by partisanship as republicans.

  8. researcher says:

    Generals will come and go it matters not who is in command.

    the imperialist nation known as america has its work cut out for it.

    this is another vietnam in the making.

    maybe this time we will learn our lessons.

    but I doubt it we still hunger for that super power status. enough is never enough.

    it is part of our ego culture.

    we cannot give it up; it is like asking the bully on the block to give up being the bully.

    he or she has to be brought to their knees.

    afghan, iraq, vietnam and future involvements in these civil wars will bring america to its economic knees.

    we are borrowing and printing money to keep our ego centered super power status intact.

    it is an american egotistical self righteousness based on power and greed and both power and greed will cause a nation to self destruct morally and economically.

    this was not a religious statement as religion is much of the problem.

    our god is better than your god mindset.

    the second most corrupt nation on earth (afghan) will bring america to its economic self destruction. Teachers laid off, libraries closed, bankrupt states, huge debts, etc.

    this self destruction is occuring now but americans in their pride refuse to see this self destruction happening all around them. instead they blame individuals.

    we have proven once again what history tells us that the universe is not kind to imperialist nations.

    720 military bases around the world and a trillion dollar military budget is the very definition of imperialism but a bully is always blind to the suffering they cause others.

  9. janv says:

    “Now if only we could see the same respect for America’s democratic institutions elsewhere in the Obama Administration.” INDEED

  10. ShotoJamf says:

    Slightly o/t, but does anyone know how the wingnut media is covering this story? I’m afraid to look…

    • cbl2 says:

      initial response was highly favorable on the Petraeus move

      Rich Lowry called it a “homerun” ferchrissakes

      the only slam I’ve seen on it so far, was from Red State

  11. Jeff Kaye says:

    it is an american egotistical self righteousness based on power and greed and both power and greed will cause a nation to self destruct morally and economically.

    For instance, pulling a bit O/T for a sec, the BP disaster is not enough for America, to understand just how compromised the corporate-government alliance is, to understand how much deep structural, radical change is needed.

    Perhaps Americans must wait until we have the equivalent of the BP disaster every year, as they do in Nigeria, a world-disaster John Nidal has been covering at The Guardian:

    We could smell the oil long before we saw it – the stench of garage forecourts and rotting vegetation hanging thickly in the air.

    The farther we travelled, the more nauseous it became. Soon we were swimming in pools of light Nigerian crude, the best-quality oil in the world. One of the many hundreds of 40-year-old pipelines that crisscross the Niger delta had corroded and spewed oil for several months.

    Forest and farmland were now covered in a sheen of greasy oil. Drinking wells were polluted and people were distraught. No one knew how much oil had leaked. “We lost our nets, huts and fishing pots,” said Chief Promise, village leader of Otuegwe and our guide. “This is where we fished and farmed. We have lost our forest. We told Shell of the spill within days, but they did nothing for six months”….

    With 606 oilfields, the Niger delta supplies 40% of all the crude the United States imports and is the world capital of oil pollution. Life expectancy in its rural communities, half of which have no access to clean water, has fallen to little more than 40 years over the past two generations. Locals blame the oil that pollutes their land and can scarcely believe the contrast with the steps taken by BP and the US government to try to stop the Gulf oil leak and to protect the Louisiana shoreline from pollution.

    “If this Gulf accident had happened in Nigeria, neither the government nor the company would have paid much attention,” said the writer Ben Ikari, a member of the Ogoni people. “This kind of spill happens all the time in the delta.”

    This is what awaits America, and for the poor in Nigeria, it will be bitter shadenfraude. When you consider that the speculators in the U.S. still run the country, while abroad it’s the Af-Pak/Iraq/torture crowd, the future of the U.S., where politics seems to be all about how to save face, support your favorite politician, and yell a lot about a whole lot of nothing, then the future here is quite bleak.

  12. b2020 says:

    “I’ve got no greater honor than serving as Commander in Chief of our men and women in uniform. [..] And that’s why as Commander in Chief I believe this decision is necessary to hold ourselves accountable to standards that are at the core of our democracy.”

    Yeah, I guess the whole POTUS business on the side is a bit distracting, and the exacting standards that come with upholding and defending the constutition and the rule of law (as opposed to waging wars in remote and foreign lands) are a bit to much with respect to you holding yourself accountable there, or even just your measly predecessor, for starters.

    Just because a torturer and criminal happens to use the right words as a soundtrack for political expediency does not mean anything has changed. If anything, true words uttered by a man standing for utter falsehood and dereliction of sworn duty desecrate those truths. We know Bygones gives good word, how does it matter?

  13. themalcontent says:

    …said precisely the right things about why he had to fire McChrystal.

    No. This is a case where you refuse to accept his resignation and THEN fire him, or better yet, demote his ass. McChrystal’s words and deeds demand no less.

  14. alank says:

    Where it really all goes to pieces is the bit where the president or Congress decide to go to war without the approval of the populace. The original intention of the Constitution was to stifle such impulses as we observe taking place between the president and the military at exclusion of the people who constitutionally have the final say. Not just war, however, but military build-up proceeds without approval. The U.S., many times over, has the capacity to wage world wars in peace time. This should not be. The populace has become too placid to remember their roles in this social contract.

    • fatster says:

      Eugene V. Debs had something to say about that:

      “Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.

      “They have always taught and trained you to believe it to be your patriotic duty to go to war and to have yourselves slaughtered at their command. But in all the history of the world you, the people, have never had a voice in declaring war, and strange as it certainly appears, no war by any nation in any age has ever been declared by the people.
      And here let me emphasize the fact — and it cannot be repeated too often — that the working class who fight all the battles, the working class who make the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely shed their blood and furnish the corpses, have never yet had a voice in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace.
      Yours not to reason why;
      Yours but to do and die.
      That is their motto and we object on the part of the awakening workers of this nation.”

  15. NorskeFlamethrower says:

    AND THE KILLIN’ GOEZ ON AND ON AND…

    Citizen emptywheel and the Firepup Freedom Fighters:

    Earlier today I received an email from Congressman Grayson quoting the Eisenhower statement (written by Malcolm Moos) about America’s new permanent military-industrial complex. As I have watched and listened to Obama and engaged others about our frustrations with the Obasma administration I have tried to keep at least the outline of the terrible and corrupt beast on which Obama is sitting out front in order to maybe provide some perspective if not understanding of what confronts us all and the forces that have killed at least one President and probably two other potential Presidents.

    Having said that, I believe that Obama has done exactly the right thing in turning the quagmire over to the very people who created it and hope to profit from its continuation. I have not heard anyone disclaim the July, 2011 deadline for withdrwal and now we have the clever bureaucrat who advanced the COIN program and rammed it down Obama’s throat through McCrystal and Emmanual placed in charge of the strategy he authored under the timeline he signed onto. Failure of the COIN prograsm will fall squarely on the shoulders of the cowboy military and renagade neo-cons and, unless Obama caves in, we will be out before the elction in 2012.

    Everyone knows where this all started 64 years ago and who is responsible for the politics which have kept us in this particular quagmire since 2003. Now there is nowhere for Petraeus to hide and he has absolutely no future in national politics.

    KEEP THE FAITH AND PASS THE AMMUNITION, WE ARE GUNNA STOP THIS TERRIBLE THING…AGAIN!!

  16. Hmmm says:

    I think Petraeus has some moves available to him.

    About the only way to counter that would be to be holding some dire dirt on Petraeus. A canny POTUS team would already have something like that in place before today’s appointment. Without expressing an opinion on the question: Do we imagine this POTUS team to be as canny as that?

  17. cregan says:

    empty, I agree with your post. A very good speech by Obama and the best decision he could make in the situation.

    However, for the foreseeable future, you will not get any military guy to criticize the war, even if going wrong. there will be a self clamping down.

  18. Jeff Kaye says:

    Thanks, harpie. Let me take the opportunity to say thanks to you, and a host of commenters here for all the great info packed into so many contributing comments. Emptywheel is almost always my first stop of the day, w/its great central authors (Marcy and bmaz) and its top notch readers/commenters. A number of my own postings took off or were in some response to a thread discussion here.

  19. Kassandra says:

    No wonder Petraeus fainted. this is alllllll his mess now.
    I’m so glad all the Medicaid funding will go into the war instead of keeping the jobs attached to it./s

  20. MadDog says:

    Some commentary from the Special Operations community via Sean Naylor of Army Times (and author of Not A Good Day To Die):

    McChrystal comments shock spec ops officers

    Special operations officers who have worked closely with Gen. Stanley McChrystal declared themselves “shocked” and “floored” by comments attributed to him and his staff in a Rolling Stone article that has jeopardized his position as senior military commander in Afghanistan…

    …“I was shocked, because I know a lot of those guys,” said a special mission unit officer who has worked closely with McChrystal. “The comment about Jones, the comment about Holbrooke? Come on, are you kidding me? That’s just — unprofessional is a mild word for it…

    …Indeed, it was the comments attributed to members of McChrystal’s staff that made the biggest impact on the special ops officers. “McChrystal has surrounded himself with a bunch of clowns … who don’t have really a … clue of what their role is and what they’re doing,” said a Special Forces officer with extensive experience in Afghanistan…

    [snip]

    …But the field-grade SF officer said he thought McChrystal deserved the axe for displaying “unbelievably poor judgment” and a lack of “maturity.”

    “I never thought I would say this,” the SF officer said. “Until this article I was a huge McChrystal fan. I was just floored at how immature he came across.”

    But the four-star general isn’t the only one who should lose his job as a result of the Rolling Stone article, the SF officer said.

    “Every son of a b—- near McChrystal should be fired as well,” the field grade SF officer said. “Every one of those guys.”

    He dismissed the argument that McChrystal is essential to the war effort. “Stan McChrystal is not the linchpin of the strategy, and frankly it has not been going well,” said the field grade SF officer…

    • Leen says:

      You really have to wonder. How could McChrystal think he could get away with this? Did he want out?

  21. wirerat1 says:

    Bah, cheer Obama for his pointless exercise. All window dressing. All semantics. Obama is a failure, his war is a failure and his time in the White House will come to an end in little over two years.

    Go ahead cheer Obama for dismissing someone who would dare say something, even if it was just disparaging comments. It is all show. All of it. Yeah he just showed he “wasn’t a wimp”. Wow, great.. good for him. Does it make anyone’s lives better? How much text has been written, articles posted over this pointless exercise?

    Grow the hell up and worry about the things that matter, not the window dressing. It is about the policy, not the soldiers. They only follow orders and as such, Obama continues to cost us the lives of lower income 20 somethings every week. I’m glad he’s responsible, but it doesn’t bring any of the soldiers or the countless millions of dead back from the grave.

    It’s all crap meant to distract us from the fact that this is only reinforcing that Obama is the boss and no one can challenge him. Wow, great. As Congress continues to give up more and more responsibility each and every month and giving the Executive all it’s power, none of this bodes well.

    Yes, Republicans and Wingnuts would potentially be worse, but give me a break, the Democrats haven’t done anything to slow the pace of our demise.

  22. Hmmm says:

    Consistent pattern?: Administration takes significant publicly visible corrective action only when it’s no longer politically viable to continue not to. Examples: BP, McChrystal…?

  23. MadDog says:

    Tangentially OT – If there is one thing that the US Army never lacks for, it is sufficient whitewash:

    The Army has withdrawn the adverse administrative actions against the 3 officers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team’s chain of command regarding the Wanat battle that claimed the lives of nine U.S. Army soldiers and resulted in 27 casualties.

    The Army’s press release is linked here.

    Also of importance, the Army has released for the first time today a redacted copy of the CENTCOM Wanat Battle investigation. The link to that document (65 page PDF) is here.

  24. Leen says:

    Obama “It is also true that our democracy depends on institutions that are stronger than individuals. That includes strict adherence to the military chain of command and respect for civilian control over that chain of command.”

    Release the photos. Hold the individuals who lied this nation into an unnecessary war accountable? Hold those who rewrote torture laws accountable. Hold those who tortured accountable?

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