Saturday, January 27, 2007

Point of order re: Commander in Chief

I thought I had written about this before but a search indicates that I hadn't. Something that has bugged me for a long time is the practice of using the term "Commander in Chief" as a synonym for "President". According to the Constitution, Article II, Section 2 : "The president shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States".

As Glenn Greenwald says:
This is much more than semantics. The constant, improper references to President Bush as "Commander-in-Chief" -- rather than what Theodore Roosevelt called "merely the most important among a large number of public servants" -- pervades the media and shapes how it talks about the President in all sorts of destructive ways.
Glenn directs us to Jim Henley who said:
The President is not “our Commander-in-Chief.” He is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. (You can look it up.) . . . If you ain’t in the uniformed services or the active duty militia, you ain’t got a commander-in-chief. It’s a republican thing, with a small ‘r.’

The very best kind.
and to Digby who said this:
First of all, I'm sick of this bullshit about the president being the commander in chief all the time. This isn't a military dictatorship. Citizens, and even lawyers in the Justice department, don't have a commander in chief. We have a president. I know that's not as glamorous or as, like, totally awesome, but that is what it is. A civilian, elected official who functions as the commander in chief of the armed forces.

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