It seemed to me self evident that the president was CiC of the Army of the US to assert ultimate civilian control over the military, keeping power answerable to the citizenry, not to make the president some kind of super general, as seems to be implied these days. I though Obama’s statements at the outdoor press conference after the Iraq visit showed a good grasp of this–undoubtedly Hagel had many intelligent things to say along the way.
Re: Unitary Presidency-as I understood the Calabrese paper which originated the concept (co-author Yoo, of DOJ-White House legalized torture fame) it’s not the CiC ‘duty’ which give the pres. ‘unitary’ power in wartime (which the Jacobins seek to make permanent), but the very nature of the Executive Branch as the sole actioning and implementing agent in the government. This is to say that all actions of the Federal Government must emanate from the will of the President, and that anything which goes against this is unconstitutional. This hierarchical ‘godhead’ concept probably comes from deep within the Strausian neo-platonism. It boils down to a government ‘Of the President, For the President, and By the President’." Florestan
I don’t think the basic issue here is civilian control of the military in the United States. This concept is so bred into the US Military that it is not even remotely in question. Everyone understands that the president of the US is the CIVILIAN head of the armed forces. Does he, none the less, have operational control of the armed forces? Yes, he does.
IMO, the issue is whether or not the citizenry is being seduced (not necessarily deliberately) into thinking that the president is sovereign. As I have tediously said before, "commander in chief" is a pretty close rendering of the Latin word "imperator." Imperator-emperor, get it? If the view takes hold that the president is a temporary, elected king, the "CEO of America," then we will be living in the hollowed out shell of the "Great Republic." (Churchill) The forms of republican government will remain, but we will then be "subjects."
It should be clear to all that both parties are prone to this kind of creeping Caesarism. "A pox on both their houses." Personalities do not matter in such issues. I don’t care if Marcus Aurelius returns. He would still be an enemy of Republicanism. pl