by Bill Van Auken
23 December 2008
With his choice of Admiral Dennis Blair as director of national intelligence, President-elect Barack Obama has now named three recently retired four-star military officers to serve in his cabinet. This unprecedented representation of the senior officer corps within the incoming Democratic administration is indicative of a growth in the political power of the US military that poses a serious threat to basic democratic rights.
As head of the US military’s Pacific command in 1999-2000, Blair was distinguished by his efforts to solidarize the Pentagon with the military of Indonesia as it carried out butchery in East Timor, effectively vetoing the half-hearted human rights concerns voiced by the Clinton administration.
Before tapping Blair, Obama named former Marine Gen. James Jones as his national security adviser and former Army chief of staff Gen. Erik Shinseki as secretary of veterans affairs. It is also reported that the incoming administration may ask retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to stay on as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
“Our Constitution is at risk,” wrote Schweich. He warned that the elevation of an unprecedented number of former senior officers into Obama’s cabinet could “complete the silent military coup d’etat that has been steadily graining ground below the radar screen of most Americans and the media.”
Schweich, who served as an ambassador for counter-narcotics in Afghanistan and then oversaw international law enforcement affairs at the State Department, wrote that he “saw firsthand the quiet, de facto military takeover of much of the US government,” which in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, “was, in theory, justified by the exigencies of war.”
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