Greenwald on "protecting the country"

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Two aspects of right-wing might-worship have bothered me for some time: their reduction of presidential duties to "protecting the nation," and their extreme emphasis on his role as commander-in-chief of the military.
Glenn Greenwald touches on both of them while eviscerating Brookings fellow Benjamin Wittes for referring to Obama as "the guy who has sworn an oath to protect the country:"

The President doesn't have some broad, vague duty to "protect Americans." The Constitution really couldn't be clearer about the President's primary responsibility: it's to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Sometimes, the duty actually assigned by the Constitution is consistent with the duty to Keep Us Safe, but many times, Constitutional imperatives are, by design, in conflict with the goal of maximum security. [...] ...the U.S. wasn't created to be a National Security State. That's why the Constitution imposes numerous limits on the government that conflict with maximization of safety, and it's why the President is required to swear to defend the Constitution, not do everything possible to Keep Us Safe.


This deceitful description of the Presidentíal oath -- just like the compulsion for civilians to refer to the President as "our Commander-in-Chief" even though he is no such thing to civilians -- reflects the modern fetishization of the President as Supreme Military Protector, who has few other duties that matter, if he has any, other than single-handedly protecting us from danger.

At least under this administration, I'm confident that the president has read and understood the document that he has sworn to "preserve, protect, and defend."

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on June 1, 2009 3:27 PM.

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