Much has been made in the Democratic primary over which candidate has passed or failed the Commander-in-Chief test. Yet, it's neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton who hasn't passed that test. It's John McCain, who has now failed that test twice.
If I was drawing up the Commander in Chief test, I can think of two questions that would be on there. First, what's the difference between Sunni and Shia. Second, who commands what in our military?
Just yesterday, John McCain seemed to say that General Petraeus is the top military commander of our Armed Forces, telling the Associated Press that he wouldn't shift the focus of the military from Iraq to Afghanistan "unless Gen. [David] Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that."
Petraeus, of course, is our commander of forces in Iraq. That's it. He's not responsible for Afghanistan, or our regional commitment, or our global commitments. As a Commander in Chief, McCain should know that there are people much more qualified to speak to our global strategy than Petraeus -- including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense, and the CENTCOM commander.
Of course, this is all a side-point, because the Commander in Chief makes these decisions, ultimately, not one General, as Senator McCain seems to be saying.
It sounds to me like Senator McCain has become confused because of the White House strategy. The White House, of course, has sent General Petraeus to Capitol Hill a number of times, and tried to paint it as an overall assessment of the global war on terror. If they were serious, they'd would have long ago sent the CENTCOM commander up for days upon days of hearings, followed by General McNeill, who could talk about the situation on the ground in Afghanistan, followed by General Petraeus.
Either way, this is the second big flub by Senator McCain in a month, on very key, simple matters, which a Commander in Chief should know.
This is not to take away from Senator McCain's service -- he's a war hero and deserves all the admiration in the world for his service. But some war heroes, obviously, are not prepared to be Commander in Chief. Not when they've failed the Commander in Chief test.
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