Commander in Chief

In a wider discussion of the media’s long-time idolization of John McCain, Glenn Greenwald made this very important point about the militarization of our culture.

If I could be granted one small wish about our political discourse, it would be that reporters and pundits would accept — as disappointing and unglorious as it is — that, under our Constitution and basic government design, people who aren’t in the military don’t have a “Commander-in-Chief.” The President isn’t your “commander,” and the “Commander-in-Chief” power, now synonymous in our political culture with “President,” is actually extremely limited (Art. II, Sec. 2: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States”).

This endless festishization of “President as Our Commander-in-Chief” is one of those small but pernicious reflections of how militarized we’ve become, of how we are a society in a state of perpetual and endless war. And — though I don’t think there’s a strong complaint to be made that the media generally has been unfair to Barack Obama — this “Commander-in-Chief” fetish is also one of the principal causes of the ongoing media reverence for John S. McCain.