The Washington Post

Mixing politics and war

Why is it significant that the chief political hack in the White House was present during critical “kill session” meetings in which the president was selecting terror targets? Well with all things Obama, it is helpful to consider what the reaction of the media would have been had Karl Rove been present during life and death decision making in the George W. Bush White House on Iraq or Afghanistan. I am certain the shout would have been very loud and indignant: “Politicizing war!“

In the Obama White House, however, this is not surprising as there is virtually no distinction between politics and policy. David Axelrod, we were told, was also present during the laborious “seminars” leading up to the surge in Afghanistan. He also delivered some of the harshest rhetoric in the midst of the administration’s condemnation of Israel for building in its capital.

The only thing in recent memory that comes close to the blurring between partisan politics and national security, and the subordination of the latter to the former, was in the Nixon White House. Then it was Nixon’s domestic and foreign policy advisers, John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman, who were also key players in the president’s reelection and in the ensuing Watergate scandal.

Axelrod is no “plumber” but neither does he have any place being in such deliberations. But then again, since everything is political in this administration, it is fitting.

Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective.

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