October 5th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Would you vote for a military commander for president in 2012?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the U.S. continues to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - it seems like a sharp military mind in the Oval Office may come in handy. The New York Times reports on growing speculation that General David Petraeus - who oversees those two wars - might run for president in 2012. Petraeus' people deny it - but some say the White House is still suspicious.

Aides to Petraeus say he hasn't voted for more than five years - to preserve a sense of military impartiality. And although he's been described as a Republican - one top military official close to the general says he couldn't confirm his political party.

In any case - the Times points out how Petraeus, who was a favorite of George Bush, has taken on a more muted voice in the debate over Afghanistan. But he continues to have a seat at the table, as the Obama administration wrestles with sending as many as 40,000 additional troops to the fight .

There was a time when military service was a political asset - Eisenhower came to the White House via the military and was one of America's most popular presidents... JFK, Nixon, Carter - among others - also served.

But in recent elections, the attitude towards men in uniform has changed... voters rejected John McCain, John Kerry and Bob Dole - all veterans.

Here’s my question to you: Would you vote for a military commander for president in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Beth from Massachusetts writes:
No, military men do not make good presidents. Eisenhower was elected to two terms because there weren't any adults in this country who hadn't had some connection to him during the war. If they didn't serve with him, they had a relative, neighbor or friend who did.

Vickie writes:
I would vote for a military man for the White House any year! I am a military brat, and I feel some of our best presidents have been former military men. I would vote for Colin Powell in a heart beat and Petraeus is a possibility, but it also depends on where they stand on other important issues.

Doug writes:
Today's war with terrorists is more about political and economic strategy perhaps more so than military. In this war, victory is not defeating an enemy but defeating a cause. The military has its place and it is not the White House.

Mark from Rochester, New York writes:
Absolutely! Military experience at any level should be a constitutional requirement of a U.S. President. As a veteran, I have gained valuable strategic and critical thinking skills that have served me well both professionally and personally. Although there have been some great military leaders who have been substandard presidents, such as Taylor and Grant, many more have led this nation to greatness: Washington, Jackson, Eisenhower to name a few.

Harry writes:
Just what we need: another gun-toting cowboy in the White House! The U.S. is a country not a military enterprise. Making Rachael Ray head of the CIA would work too. She's great at organization, good team work and communication skills, at ease in front of the camera.

Gary writes:
Remember that while Eisenhower was a military man, he warned against the influence of the military/industrial complex in political life. Dick Cheney aside, I would prefer a civilian candidate.

Filed under: Elections • U.S. Army • US Military
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    I'm a Vietnam Veteran and the only military man I would vote for for president is Colin Powell. He may be the only General since Robert E Lee who might say the war isn't winnable. Past Republican presidents want to act like a military person, often avoiding the experience, but have limited experience at best. I believe the best place for a military member would be Secretary of Defense.

    October 5, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  2. David of Alexandria VA

    Sure, if he or she was otherwise qualified. The current administration seems mighty thin on actual military experience and this may help explain the lack of clear policy/practice in Afghanistan. I might vote for John McCain or Colin Powell because they bring a wealth of military experience - an important part of the presidential job descritption.

    October 5, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  3. Penny Muleshoe, Texas

    Why yes Jack I certainly would with one condition. Their name can not rhyme with insane and their choice for VP can not see Russia from where they live.

    October 5, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  4. Rob of Brooklyn


    October 5, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  5. Kevin

    At least we could be assured that a military candidate would not be hiding socialist and radical views that are in complete opposition to mainstream America AND our military commanders would not make international speeches denigrating the United States of America.

    A military commander would posses the kind of leadership qualities that have made this country great. He/she would not pander to the United Nations, as Obama has done. He/she would put country first, whereas Obama has put himself first one too many times.

    A new president...the sooner the better!

    October 5, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  6. jenny

    I would vote for Coln Powell in a New York Minute.

    October 5, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  7. Jayne

    I might vote for a military member, depending on the individual, but probably not in 2012 since the current president is apt to seek a second term.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  8. Joe CE

    Military people are fine ciotizens, wsome heroes. Unfortunately a military career is vastly different from the ordinary man's experience. Therefore military people have little understanding of the economy and the reality of life in th USA.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  9. Jim


    Not unless his name is Barack Obama.

    Reno, Nevada

    October 5, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  10. Jason, Koloa HI

    Not a chance. The majority of evolved citizens are moving past the idea that military people are the best leaders. War and those who study war have no ability to lead us to a positive future.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  11. Melissa

    Honestly, no. The last thing we need is yet another President who wants to kill everyone else off. Its time for diplomacy.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  12. Tom, Switzerland

    NO. Isn't it about time we moved away from our militaristic mindset? It's so yesterday. Let's elect a Peace Corps worker instead. That would be much wiser and forward looking.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  13. Tom from Philly

    NO WAY, president obama marks a change in this idea you have to be a war hero to be president, anyway we cant afford our global domination, or our attempt at it. WE need to pull out of japan and germany and our hundereds of other bases, we are fools bleeding ourselves dry and will be the next england or france NOT because of healthcare but because we are overextended globally and the bubble will pop when the chinese get sick of lending us money for our follies, and we will be the next former global dominator.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  14. Michael, Alexandria, VA

    On the Democratic side, I would vote for General Wesley Clark, who won't run unless Obama is in trouble.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  15. JENNA

    Would you vote for a military commander for president in 2012?

    With all the failures such as no Osama Bin Laden, Abu Grabe, Iraq still in flux, Afghanistan still in flux I don't know of a single military commander that I would think worthy of running let along voting for.

    Roseville CA

    October 5, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  16. Jerry Alpharetta, GA

    Absolutely, especially those that have faced the enemy and understand how important a strategy is in defining execution of the plan.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:12 pm |

    No, I wouldn't. The last "War President" got us in to two wars.
    Iraq was under the false pretense of WMD.
    The Afghanistan war, he pretended we were fighting it, but it was on the back burner instead.
    Our Country will never get out of debt from that War President.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  18. Dennis in Cleveland,Ohio

    NO WAY! The Military Complex is one of the Corporations that are rapidly bankrupting the economy of America. We need to QUIT being so Hawkish. And also QUIT being the police of the World!

    October 5, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  19. Fred Mn

    Jack i would be ready to vote for any good leader not only a member of military. A leader who can't forget working families after getting elected, A leader who can create jobs and make sure every American has a good job. A leader who is doing what he or she promises to his or her people. Americans won't vote for any leader who overpromise things but he or she can do nothing to change Washington. No more vote to such kind of leaders.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  20. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    I'd vote for anybody with a pulse over Obama. Colin Powell would be a great choice, Petreus maybe even better.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  21. Marlene

    Never! Look at how well the Pentagon controls it's generals while they speak about policy issues they have no voice or vote. Generals can't provide either the money or the troops, just the military leadership. Secretary Gates, maybe, a military general, no!

    October 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  22. Denny from Tacoma, WA

    Absolutely not because military commanders are used to a totalitarian state.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:17 pm |
  23. Chuck in warren, Ohio

    Jack: NO! I lived through Eisenhower and you couldn't buy a job then. Not much has changed.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm |
  24. Russ in PA

    You mean that the military isn't running the country now? Gee, why is the government trying to take our guns away from us? Why is the Patrioti Act still alive? Why are the wars still running?

    October 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  25. Tom Wisconsin

    It has been a long time since we have had a vet in office. I would prefer a qualified vet on the ballot. But that would not bring an automatic vote.

    But do people even care? Our last President could not, or would not, even produce proof that he completed his service which was in the reserves. Personally I will never believe he did. Then he sent troops to serve in an arguably legitimate war in Afghanistan. Then he compromised them by engaging in his personal vendetta in Iraq. Then he added insult to injury by not supporting our brave troops when they returned home.

    I guess I answered my own question, YES!!

    October 5, 2009 at 2:20 pm |
  26. Jackie in Dallas

    No, probably not. The last President we had who was a military commander was Eisenhower. Now, while he was a pretty good military commander, started the Civil Rights legislation, and began the Space Race, most of his accomplishments were in response to the Cold War. He had good intentions, but really didn't accomplish nearly as much as he should have, and caused several major embarassments to the country - including the U-2 incident and his tacit approval of McCarthyism which led to many problems with citizens rights being violated.

    I can see no possible candidates even for 2016 that are standing out from the crowd right now. Colin Powell has been abandoned by the GOP, because he is too moderate for the wingnuts, and none of the commanders for Iraq or Afghanistan are dumb enough to run on those "accomplishments"!

    October 5, 2009 at 2:25 pm |
  27. john in michigan

    Yes. In today's world we need somebody who has strapped it on for his country and won't give in to the paranoia running across the political spectrum.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  28. Richard, Syracuse, NY

    the ONLY one I would vote for would not run. General Powell is the ONLY Commander I see who has the Military Experience and the insight and knowledge on how to be a Leader.

    And this is from a Disabled Vet who would vote for Colin Powell in a Heart Beat.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  29. Ray in Nashville

    I would seriously think about voting for General Powell if he were to run, but I don't see another candidate from the military getting my vote.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  30. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Military commanders tend to develop a different skill set than what is required for the presidency. And there is much more than just miltary related issues on the president's plate every morning.......so no, I would not likely vote for a military man for president in 2012 or any other year.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  31. Eleanor

    It doesn't take a Military Commander to run this country obviously, how many Presidents were Commanders in the past? There are so many issues the needs to be handled that a military Commander doesn't have a clue about. Military life and civilian lifestyles are total different packages, trust me I know. That's not to say that one of them could not run the country though most of them do have experience in running Military Communities. I think President Obama is best since Clinton and he is the first working President I have ever seen, (period) When does he sleep? God BLess President Obama. God Bless America.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  32. Tina Tx

    Heavens no. They make good military leaders that learned to follow orders but I don't think leading the country would be a grand idea. They need to retire and learn to take up golfing or fishing and leave us alone. They would have us in wars all the time. I am sick of being poor because the wars have killed our economy along with the mega rich who are the only ones benefiting from them.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  33. Ann-Virginia

    Absolutely not!!!!We just got rid of a "cowboy"president,why would we want someone with a military background,who looks at everything in military terms.Remember the rehetoric McCain spouted during the campaign.We need a smart,diplomat,like the one we have in the white house now.Cowboy/military diplomacy makes the world mistrust America & we have had enough of that kind of governing in the recent past to last a lifetime.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
  34. Heath in Missoula, Montana

    Both Petreas and McCrystal seem like intelligent men, and thier opinions on issues facin the military are known. For one of them to get my vote in 2012, I would have to learn more about their positions regarding domestic issues ranging from economy to social issues.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  35. Rick Medina,OH


    The great history books have always been written 50 – 100 years after the fact ... when enough time has passed to gain perspective, but plenty of research materials remain. Some historian will eventually write about this era with a book entitled, 'Single Issue Politics.'

    If you do not believe that, run for city council in a small town, and record all the questions you are asked. Most will have nothing to do with what your election will empower you to address. The public no longer 'hires' politicians on their qualifications, but rather their wider beliefs, and positions on national issues.

    I would vote for a military leader, but not because he / she is one. I would want to know more. And my final choice will be based on the entire 'package,' versus the 'package' of the opponent.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    October 5, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  36. Conor in Chicago

    This country is bad enough when our Presidents act as middlemen for our Military Industrial Complex. The last thing I am going to do is vote for somebody is his directly on the payroll.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  37. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Depends on who it is. Just because he/she was in the military doesn't make them the best choice.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  38. Lou from North Carolina

    When Ike ran, everyone I knew voted for him on the strength of his firing McArthur. It would depend who runs against him and right now, if it is man I think you are thinking of, yes I would vote for him. I hope you are not thinking of the current Afghanistan Commander. That answer is no.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  39. Geri Britt

    My God Jack, what a great question. Yes! I would. To have someone as president who actually "has" leadership skills, who can speak the language of politicians and businessmen coupled with the ability to think on their feet is a really novel idea. I don't think we've had anyone like that leading the country since perhaps Gerald Ford or do we have to go as far back as Eisenhower and Truman?

    Geri – Mead, OK

    October 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  40. lou

    I would never vote for a military commander to lead the country under any circumstance. Look at how the General for Afghanestan is pushing for more troops and a longer war. You have to have calmer heads prevailing outside the military loop that can take in all sides of the issue.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  41. Lori - PA

    I don't know. I just, for once, would like to have someone in office who will actually work to mkae life better for the middle-class instead of big business.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  42. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    Maybe we won't be able to vote in 2012 if there is a coup between now and then and the military takes over. Who knows Jack, maybe we'll be a third world country by then with a dictator as our ruler. I'm sure there are several people that think their qualified to do the job. Probably someone from Wall Street or the Insurance Companies or with the initials, GWB, or DC or DR.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  43. southerncousin

    Why not? Do they not have the same rights as a senator with less than two years experience or a community organizer? On the other hand what difference does it make if some union sponsor organization steals the votes anyway?

    October 5, 2009 at 2:54 pm |
  44. mark pribble Anna Illinois

    If the only problem we had in this country was fighting a war it may be a good idea. But we have many problems, having a President that is a expert in one area wont get the job done.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  45. Kerry Diehl

    Depends on who it is and how much of a "Hawk" this person is!

    A strong "No-Nonsense" President could make a big difference in attitude with these rogue leaders.

    This I would vote for!!

    October 5, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  46. Jim Bailey

    Colon Powell?
    Sorry, too late.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  47. Jimmy in Houston

    Yes, but I would rather vote for someone who has business experience. This economy needs to turn around and someone with business experience would uderstand what it takes to get businesses hiring and expanding.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  48. Beth, MA

    No, military men do not make good presidents. Eisenhower was elected to two terms because there weren't any adults in this country who hadn't had some connection to him during the war. If they didn't serve with him, they had a relative, neighbor or friend who did.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  49. John from Alabama

    Jack: There is no one in the military that has the will or name recognition to run for the job successfully. Just ask General Wesley K. Clark.

    October 5, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  50. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    I doubt it very seriously, when Ike was elected I thought our family would starve to death, he was like all the Republicans, more for the wealthy and none for the poor.

    October 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  51. DT from Fort Walton Beach, FL

    If he's Republican.........no...

    October 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  52. G. Johnson in Shreveport La.

    Only if he had the integrity to warn us of "the military industrial complex".

    October 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  53. Mickey Gensler Bronx, 10471,N.Y.

    I would vote for a General Wesley Clark kind of commander, who understands the realities of war. I believe he would make the right decisions knowing that wars kill. If it is absolutely necessary to continue, and it may be to rid ourselves of the Al Quaeda group.I think this kind of person would make the right decision.

    October 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  54. David in Texas

    No Chance...I have had enough death, war, and "axis of evil" talk for at least a generation...no military commander will get my vote for the White House. It is time to move forward.

    October 5, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  55. Diane - Jacksonville, FL

    No, I will vote for President Obama again. I trust his judgement and he has morals.

    October 5, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  56. george

    NO Pentagotarian for me ! Just a peacemaker PLEASE !!

    October 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  57. D. Matt

    I would rather elect one of these idiots who have governed and actually have won an election. How many active duty Generals actually have govern or been elected for anything? They have all paid & played politics to get to where they are. We need to quit drinking this military Kool Aid!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  58. Mark

    Absolutely! Military experience at any level should be a constitutional requirement of a U.S. President. As a veteran I have gained valuable strategic and critical thinking skills that have served me well both professionally and personally. Although there have been some great military leaders who have been substandard Presidents, such as Taylor and Grant, many more have led this nation to greatness; Washington, Jackson, Eisenhower to name a few.

    Rochester, NY

    October 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  59. Bridget Ladd

    Jack, I totally agree with your comment about having a military man in the White House in the next election. Keep up the good work; I am a faithful reader of your Commentary.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  60. Sam

    Seems to me an escalation is exactly what our enemies want. We need someone with the sense to realize that the one thing they can't compete with us on is technology. Those drones are tearing those thugs a new one and Americans soldiers are not killed. Who in their good mind think you can add 40,000 targets and win! I vote for someone with patience and willingness to let time and technology show these terrorists that a life of caves and sudden death from the sky is there future!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  61. Wally Fallman, Col, USMC Ret.

    The military prepares a person for a myriad of tasks. At the flag officer level (Generals/Admirals) the skills of decision making have been honed to a very high degree where decisions made are based upon a wide range of factors to include political, economic and cultural elements. It seems to me that that background is what we have been looking for since Eisenhower, but have yet to find it (so far).

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  62. Greg

    I vote for who I believe is the smartest. Being president means having to react. A sharp, quick mind is key. Military service doesn't automatically mean you're intelligent. George W. Bush served and he reacted out of fear, greed and blind faith. Look what that got us.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  63. Tom

    I wouldn't not vote from a military commander simply because he/she was in the military. It all depends on the person's views on a wide range of subjects. Would be great to elect someone that doesn't have the aire of 'politician' around them. Time to get back to the Constitution, the 10th ammendment, and a general mistrust of government, whether it be federal, state, or local.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  64. Bill

    Excellent candidate... Honest, intelligent, high integrity. I would vote for Petraeus if he were a Republican presidential candidate..
    Phoenix AZ

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  65. Jared Bruh

    I believe that the President of the United States should always have some Military Experience. I also Believe that we are heading towards a time where a president with the military expertise of a U.S. Commander such as General Patraeus would be a major plus and advantage to the future of the country and that it would end our military troubles in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama needs to listen to and trust his Commanders and the Joint Chiefs If we are to have success in Afghanistan and any of our Military Operations.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  66. Julie

    YES...that is the job, and we need it badly. We are seeing the effects of someone with an incredibly thin resume occupying the highest job in our land. It takes more than a great speech. This is a job that needs the highest level of experience. I am a disillusioned democrat who sees a real need for us to go a different direction. These are scary times, and not a time we should have trusted to a rookie in the office. I am as guilty as any for putting my trust in this man, but his judgement is simply not there.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  67. Jimmy Ilori

    Broadly, America needs more than just a military man in the white house. We need a president who has both military and civilian backgrounds. A man who is experienced in economic and socio-political arenas. Who can tell when the economy is sick and have the necessary remedies to heal it.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  68. Annie, Atlanta

    Our military is becoming infiltrated with so called evangelicals, with very unchristian like beliefs. I would never consider anyone of that ilk President-worthy. They don’t make them like Ike anymore.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  69. Daryl Cobranchi

    Only if Obama enlists between now and then.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  70. Kevin

    I would've liked to have a top general as President back in 2004, when the situation in Iraq was critical. Bush ended up making the call by listening to a military man, Petreus, but it came about 3 years to late after the election. These days our main concern should be to find a President who is most qualified to fix our economy, wars come second or even third behind domestic issues for me. If Obama's economic plans fail, time for a man who knows business, Mitt Romney to step up.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  71. Emma, San Luis Obispo, CA

    NO, NO, NO!!!! I am voting for President Obama........AGAIN!

    We don't need a another war monger in the oval office.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  72. Slappy White

    No I would not!! I'm tired of wars and killing and the spending billions to do so... How about someone like Gandhi or the Dalai Lama or Eckhart Tolle or... Enough with the hatred and posturing. Seems our only industry now days is the military industry as a nation we need to grow up.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  73. Don

    If you look at most past presidents with military command experience, they were much less likely to get involved in military action, so I'm all for that. The individual's experience with domestic issues would be a factor, but the ability to assess information and make good decisions would always be a plus.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  74. John Crawley

    The United States military empire is the biggest threat to the country's stability internally, and is a threat to global geo-political stability.

    The military empire needs to be scaled back, not expanded. The United States accounts for over half of the entire globe's defense expenditure. The empire is starting to show stress cracks as the Roman empire showed cracks before it crumbled.

    So NO, a military leader is not the best for the United States.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  75. Katherine C

    I would much rather see General Colin Powell run for President in 2012!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  76. TeeMan

    If the person is Pretraeus or McChrystal or Frank or Norman Schazawzer (sp?) then YES

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  77. M. J.

    Absolutely I would vote for the person who has served. They have a better perspective when it comes to how to address our Military response when challenged by other countries or militant types. They also have the discipline of a professional which is taught while serving their country. They also have the ability to address monetary discipline.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  78. fred

    I don't think that having a military background would be that much of a plus. Having the best military advisors is the key. As the president,he like our present Commander-in- chief is limited on his opions, and has to much on his plate. Having key military minds around him regardless of poliical party who he trust and trust him is his best option.

    F.F. Wynn
    USAF Ret

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  79. Randy Howard

    I would see military experience as a plus, though I doubt it'd be the deciding factor in my vote.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  80. Aspen Professor

    A military man in the White House? Lets see now ... Bush and Cheney were draft dodgers, Reagan never served, Clinton never served. Nixon never served. That takes us back to Carter who did serve. How many Generals have we gone through in our latest two wars? How successful were they? Stars on your lapels do not make a President great.

    How may more of our men and women should we send to their death in foreign lands? How many thousands more do we send to be maimed and wounded? Are we the world's policeman? Should we be? For how long? If you say yes, will you enlist or send your sons and daughters to serve? Can we count on that or are you just blowing smoke??

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  81. Pat

    I think military service can say a great deal about a person, but I hope most people do not consider it to be the most important aspect of any given candidate's credentials.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  82. keith

    No. This world needs men and women of peace, intelligence and compassion, not warriors.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  83. Brian O'Reilly

    I think that military experience can certainly be an asset in the Oval Office, and from what I know of Petraeus, he might make an excellent President. Furthermore, I respect the high degree of impartiality many military commanders show by _not_ letting politics influence their decision making. That said, I don't really know enough about the rest of his (or any other commander's) beliefs to figure out whether I'd vote for them 3 years from now or not. Petraeus is definitely a great leader – I just don't know whether he'd lead the country in a direction I think it should go in.
    Brian, Boston MA

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  84. Seth Zenz

    I doubt I will vote for anyone but President Obama if he runs for reelection, but it would be a great thing for our nation as a whole if the Republican party were again represented by moderate, competent military leaders in the mold of General Eisenhower.

    Seth Zenz
    Berkeley, California

    October 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  85. Jack Hadder

    Depends on the individual. Being president requires more than a military focus as our involvement in foreign wars over the last 8 years proves.. On second thought, maybe a military candidate might be sick and tired of fighting wars overseas and would want to spend some time on our domestic problems. Let"s see what kind of military guy shows up to run in 2012.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  86. Doug Sauer

    Today's war with terrorists is more about political and economic strategy perhaps more so than military. In this war, victory is not defeating an enemy but defeating a cause. The military has its place and it is not the White House.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  87. John G

    Of course I would!!!

    Pres. Obama is the perfect example why voters made a mistake in overlooking John McCain's background.

    When all you have is going off someone's political rhetoric for change, hope, and more change against Bush, then this country's liberal masses have lowered themselves along with this country's reputation.

    We are the strongest nation overall in this world. Problem is, too many people in this country have developed an attitude that a military background favors an imperialist mindset against the rest of the world.

    This country was founded through war, and having an inexperienced president with the same foreign policy background like any other Joe on the street with a college degree is dangerous...

    October 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  88. Shannon

    Jack, I would not vote for a military commander for president. We need a president who is well rounded in a whole host of issues. We have that president in Barak Obama. With the right advisors in place a president can draw on many different view points. We already had a president who thought he was a military man albeit in a goofy kind of way. George W. Bush was not a military president and look what that got us. God knows what would happen if we had a real military commander sitting in the highest office in the land!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  89. Eric

    Uh, can you say, "Hooah?"
    I'd vote for a military commander in a heartbeat.

    Salute, not only to the rank, but to the officer who wears it... as opposed to only saluting the office, not the politican who currently sits in it.

    I'm glad I separated from the military when I did. I don't think I could have served in good faith as an officer under this current chump-in-chief.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  90. Harry

    Just what we need: another gun-toting cowboy in the White House! The United States is a country not a military enterprise. Making Rachel Ray head of the CIA would work too. She's great at organization, good team work skills, good communication skills, at ease in front of the camera,....

    October 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  91. David

    Military or not, I will always vote for the person I feel is the most honest, capable and trustworthy. My personal political views actually take a back seat to this core value. If that person happens to have a military background, wonderful. If not, that's fine too.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  92. kao ly

    yes, I will vote for a military commander for president 2012 we need
    A unitform men to be next president ,to end this two war we don't need white house politician to be next president take too long to end
    this two war ,and wasting lots tax money.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  93. Paul

    Being a veteran is always a positive attribute, however it is not the defining factor in what makes a good or bad Presidential candidate. There are many qualities that determine who gets voted into office, not just whether or not he or she has served in the military.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  94. c moore

    YES....... PLEASE!! PLEASE!!!!!!!! Mass.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  95. Randy, Vancouver

    The US is the world's only functional superpower, so doesn't it make sense that the president should be educated in a military academy, and be a seasoned military officer? And think about it: nobody gets four stars on their shoulders without the benefit of an extraordinary set of political skills. What else is a general but a politician?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  96. Bill

    God help the democrats if Petraeus runs. I still support Obama but as the only public figure to accomplish anything really significant in the last few years he would seem pretty good to many disillusioned independents who want things done.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  97. Andrew R.

    Absolutely, oh you said commander …probably not. We need someone with a backbone in office, the top brass are only a slightly better choice than career politicians these days.

    Remember the Pat Tillman cover up?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  98. Alan in Huntsville Alabama

    Yes, for a Eishenhower. No for the current crop of commanders inside the beltway.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
  99. Skip

    Absolutely, if my other choice was Sarah Palin

    Lewisboro, NY

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  100. john

    no, i wouldn't vote for a military commander. pulling out of Iraq was a good start, eventually leaving Afghanistan would be a good ending to this mes. Bringing a military commander into the presideency could add our business of "nation building" and continue us indefinitely in an open war with no end.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  101. C. Childs, Houston, Texas

    Why not. He/She is an American too. They would probably have more experience than any of the politicians who might run and more trust from the people.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  102. Joe

    one word "NO"

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  103. Don

    I'd never trust any Bush/ Cheney appointee, including generals. They politicized everything, which in the military, is absolute corruption. And yes, I'm a former officer and a veteran.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  104. mar

    I would never want a military man in the office. You need to have your politician in the white House and your military man out in the field or as an adviser to the president.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  105. Joe, LA, CA

    I don't think I would vote for someone who didn't have military experience. You are called Commander-in-Chief for a reason and I want someone with that experience since they would have the best temperament to determine if it is wise to send troops into battle and our national interests.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  106. ricky

    No, because a military mind set has a tendacy to want to go to war 1st instaed of diplomacy and america has been doing that far to long... we will always have a military might its time to have a president who can think about the situation and come to a conclusion

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  107. Allen L Wenger

    No, the military already has too much influence in our political system. To oppose any recommendation by the senior military leaders, will bring criticism from many politically powerful groups. Our senior military staff have been taught to believe and many of our elected officials agree with the statement, “what is best for the military, is also best for the country”. We need to diminish the influence our military, the military industial complex, and their numerous political groups have over our political system.

    Mountain Home Id

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  108. sally

    No. We desperately need a President willing to take care of our own country for a change, and stop the unspeakable waste of lives and money we are spending in foreign countries. We will be Afganistan at the rate thing s are going here in the US.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  109. Chad from Los Angeles

    LOL! Over my dead body would I vote for someone who would only increase the most inflated budget we have!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  110. Ian

    Generals and presidency is not a new concept for our country. In fact, our very first President was a General. But in that light, there is a reason the commander-in-chief is a civilian.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  111. Chris - Denver

    I'd rather have someone who knows how to wage peace.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  112. Fred Dean Weaver Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    no obama i doing grea job on encomy. miliitary commander and republicans has no cue how to improve our encomy. without geting encomy on right track we can not fight any war or improve education health care ect.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  113. Ron San Antonio

    Oh, Hell No! The Military Industrial Machine has but ruined this country! I'm not talking about the troops. I'm talking about the Big Business Military MAchine that keeps spending money to fund their retirements! The kind of General who talks about winning the "Hearts and Minds" of Arab extremists and buys Humvees that can't protect troops from any bullets. Or can't figure out roadside IED's until thousands are dead. If they can't General right then they damn sure can't President!!!!! It would be worse than Bush!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  114. Michael Sanders

    No, No, No, military commanders enjoy war! If they are not in involved in a war then their just highly paid paper pushers and that steps on their ego's.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  115. Wm, Penna

    A quick look at recent history. Gen. S. McChrystal was assigned the task of covering up the "friendly" fire killing of Pat Tillman and try and paint him as a national hero by George W Bush to aid in his re-election. He tried but failed.
    General Dwight D Eisenhower saved the free world. Generals Bradley and Patton too were towers of ability and integrity but they are no longer available.
    Till a person of integrity, truthfulness and ability runs, oh, that IS President Obama.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  116. James Ketcham

    The veterans you mentioned had widely varying viewpoints on the important issues. I voted for one of the three. I would consider voting for Petraeus if we agreed on two of my top three issues, which are the economy, the economy, and the economy.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  117. Lou Cioccio

    From Erie, PA: Am I qualified? Joined the US Army in 1966 not drafted. In Vietnam as a non-combative soldier in the Signal Corps maintaining 2- 10KW and 1- 40KW transmitters sending traffic to Subic Bay and Clark AFB. Made rank fast, E5 in seventeen months.
    Saw that the South Vietnam government as corrupt run by a minority and not representative of the Buddhist majority. Saw two presidents one who evaded the draft by staying school and the other being in the National Guard. Funny today he would not be in the Guard because ..well you know!
    Afghanistan, Iraq run by corrupt people and Pakistan feeding both sides as a rabbit.
    Oh I forgot to add I have been a blue collar union worker for 39+ years at one company and NEVER voted a straight party line.
    And I am a Liberal Republican and Catholic.
    I support health care reform, a maximum wage, and lifting the Social Security cap.
    I don't have cable but use a TV antenna and can turn it North to hear Canada news and what they say about US maligning their Health Care. Both republicans and democrats give us Fear Uncertainty and Doubt take money from the lobbyists and special interest and we mean nothing to them.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  118. Jake, Buffalo NY

    I would definately be willing to vote for a military commander in 2012. Having someone in office that knows how to handle this war properly (someone like David Petraeus), would almost certainly help the war effort. This war has been mishandled too many times throughout the Bush administration and the first months of Obama's presidency don't look promising. At a time where this war is becoming more critical, I think having a true Commander-in-Chief would certainly help.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  119. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    I'd be more inclined to vote for a retired flag officer, an admiral or a general. Such people have the executive experience that's sorely lacking in politicians like Obama. I don't know General Petraeus' political views, so I'd have to withhold judgement, but regardless of what they are, even if he's a Democrat, he'd certainly be a vast improvement over a former "community organiser."

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  120. Ximena

    I would vote for a military man for president if he were the best candidate overall. I plan to judge the candidates on their campaign platforms and individual merits, not exclusively on their military or civilian backgrounds.

    Fresno, CA

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  121. John from Cincinnati

    Would I vote for a former military commander for president? Yes, providing that his policies matched what I believed in. While I would very much like a military commander in charge, it is by no means necessary to the successful use of military force. More importantly are the policies that they stand for since that is what they would (and should) be spending the most time on.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  122. Kana

    I think a president with a military back ground would have a better understanding of the needs and operations of our troops and the military as a whole.

    Although looking back at some of our past presidents and presidential candiates that had military backgrounds, there are some I would have voted for and others that I wouldn't have.

    Unfortunately regardless of the presidents background if he doesn't have the support of congress and the US senate, he's not going to be able to accomplish much

    October 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  123. Eric

    In many respects I consider a candidates military experience an asset in the political selection process, however it should not be the deciding factor. We have had all too many military leaders who were arrogant, career oriented, divorced from the public at large and even perhaps bloodthirsty. I could refer to several such people however, As part of the definition of military experience I would include active duty, on the ground, combat experience including having the other side aggressively attempt to shoot (or kill in some other manner) him oi her. You can't be a believer until the other side has tried to blow you rear end off.
    To specifically answer your question, I would probably not vote for someone a military man because Obama does not have military experience and I intend to vote for his reelection.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  124. Cindy

    Would I vote for a military commander,NOPE, I weather vote for Hillary Clinton

    October 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  125. Russell Hammond, Hollywood

    I'm a Vietnam Vet as well and not too excited about an ex military general in the White House unless they had something else (besides military experience) to offer. These days, I'm more interested in domestic issues and a military politician wouldn't bring a lot to the table.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  126. ssgmike

    As much as I respect General Petraeus my vote would not be for him to become President of the United States..one good reason..he was a favorite of George Bush...

    General Powell I would be my choice of a fomer military leader who could lead our country in time of war....

    October 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  127. palmer brown

    I would vote for a former military commander if their positions were in-line with my thinking and I felt were best for the country. Regarding 'qualification', I think being a flag officer in the U.S. military is certainly more qualification for the top office than community organizer, state representative, and U.S. Senator for less than half a term.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  128. ronvan

    Colin Powell, YOU BET!! NO one else!!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  129. Reid

    Absolutely. I'd vote for a dog catcher over the incompetent we have in the WH now.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  130. Wayne

    I would definitely vote for General Petreaus in 2012... He should have run this past year...

    October 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  131. Tom

    I would not vote for him simply because of his service. It would be one consideration. The problem is, generals (or admirals), while politically aware, are not hardened to the arena of elections. The last ten years of so of their existence, they have enjoyed a degree of deference that would quickly disappear during a campaign. They are certainly smart enough for the job, but they have not been shaped to endure its trials. I just don't think they're cut out for it.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  132. Jim Huntington, Tulsa, OK

    Absolutely! Regardless of party affiliation, Colin Powell and Wesley Clark had the right stuff to be President, and David Petraeus has it today. Dwight Eisenhower demonstrated what a level-headed General can do in the job, and General Petraues seems to fit that mold. Also, it seems you need a General in the job these days to get Congress to get behind your initiatives.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  133. Brian Spencer from North Carolina

    Jack....I agree with you. The retired general who was just on the panel should run. We need to not send another long-term politician to the White House!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  134. Bill from Fort Lauderdale

    Yes I want a military person in the white house, someone with discipline to stick to the task and guts to stand-up to the opposition and get the job done. The non military types spend money to establish a military, then bash it and then they run off with all the money they allocated to it....Which would you rather have?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  135. james in Idaho

    Jack, I would find it hard to vote for this particular general given his current track record. Otherwise, I would still consider military service an asset.

    Let's not forget that these most recent presidents are not the first or only... 200 years after his death General george Washington still commands great respect, and great personal respect. I for one, personally, respect him very much.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  136. jeane

    Depends on who the military man is.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  137. Leon Ubly, Michigan

    Yes I would. Too bad Colin Powell didn't run in 2000,2004 or 2008.
    I believe both he and General Petraeus not only have the knowledge to run a proper Military Operation in today's world but are well aware of the International and Domestic Political ramifications as well

    Leon Ubly, Michigan

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  138. Ed from Nashville, TN

    Never, The military mindset and the ideas it embraces is best allocated to the battlefield. There is no place in the White House for those who believe you solve problems with violence and that those who oppose you are your enemy. The highest office in the land requires someone with higher-minded, problem solving sensibilities.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  139. Arthur Runno

    Any General with a background such as Patraeus, will have demonstrated qualities necessary to be a successful Commander in Chief. He has led men and women in combat and shown a capability for complex strategy, all qualities that would prove valuable in a President. Most importantly, any one who has dedicated the better part of their lives to service to the United States has demonstrated their commitment to country above self. I don't think the question is would anyone vote for a military commander for President, but why wouldn't they? They certainly can do no worse than professional politicians.

    Arthur Runno – Tequesta, FL

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  140. herb gomes

    What about Sen Kerry?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  141. Bobby

    Yes I would. General Obama has my vote. Roll forward.
    Stockton, CA

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  142. Ken in NC

    Not only no but “HELL NO”, unless it was IKE. I was to young to vote for him the first time but I would do it this time.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  143. Brian

    Sure....beats a former ACORN Lawyer!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  144. Chuck

    I'll be voting for Barack Obama in 2010, so I guess the answer would be: "no".

    But in general (ha!) I have nothing against the idea.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  145. Warren B

    I would love to see Colin Powell run for president, possibly as an independent. America is in troubled waters and we need someone to lead us who we've seen in action both in uniform and in Washington that Americans and the rest of the world respects and trusts.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  146. Cheryl, cocoa,fl

    Jack, NO.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  147. cliff

    yes, i don't think you should have the CinC job unless you have put your life on the line for the US. After all what does a lawyer know about the world besides court rooms and hotel rooms. Live in a tent in a given country and you will know about that country. If you can send young men and women to die you should at lest have done it yourself.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  148. Remo, in beautiful downtown Pflugerville, Texas

    I'd give it a try. From what I've seen in the civilian political pool of experience there's nothing swimming around that I'd vote for. Ike and JFK did all right.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  149. Liam

    Petraeus carries the taint of the Bush white house about him. He hasn't
    been portrayed in a positive enough light by the press to garner a white house bid for 2012. The military today is too tied to the commander in chief to be seen as an independently thinking branch. When Eisenhower became president, he wasn't seen consulting with his CIC on the phone constantly.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  150. AnnMarie

    Absolutely, if that commander's name is Wes Clark.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  151. Bob Buhts, MAJ USA (ret)

    Absolutely not. The last thing we need is a President steeped in military culture. That would be a disaster. We need to get out of the war fighting business. It saps our moral fiber and steals the future from our children. The lesson of history is that war does no good. Why would we want a war proponent in the White House? The message from the last election is that we want peace.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  152. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    I would vote for someone with a military background if she were as smart as Madeline Albright. What a difference

    October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  153. Mr. Bob

    No, but I might consider it in 2016.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  154. O Barbour

    No Jack , I will vote for Obama in 2012. How quickly do people forget how bad a job the Republicans did for 8 years. Although Saturday Night Live says Obama has done nothing, in only a few months he has done more than Bush did in 8 years. It's nice to have a president with a brain for a change.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  155. T. Santana, Norfolk, VA

    If he or she were qualified and had the best interest of the people as priority number one, yes. I would vote for a military commander. I just think that the American voter has become a bit more savvy. We understand that military service alone does not qualify one to be president nor does it make one an expert on foreign policy, military affairs, or anything else. It just means that the person has served in the military.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  156. Adam from Cana

    I think that electing someone who has a holds a position like a Military General is not a very good idea. However I feel the same way about business tycoons, doctors, labour leaders etc. The reason being is because these people have tunnel vision in there respective careers. Its not their fault they have to spenda considerable amount of there life to be successful in their respective fields. I am not saying that they are not capable of doing two things at once but I am almost certain that there trade will be the number one piece of criteria on their list leaving everything else to suffer.

    Vice President would be a better idea if they were not the second in line for the job

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  157. Don

    Most definetly. I believe we need an individual with service experience to restore respect to the position of President. Additionally, this service person could use their military insight to strengthen and protect the U.S. globally.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  158. Isaac

    I think that war is viewed differently today than in the past. Our country fought war in the past with the full support of the country and those that were seen as heroes and something even more, i.e. Gen. MacArthur. I believe just military service is not enough to vote for someone for President.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  159. Fran Diamond

    Generals are versed in how to wage war. Their focus is a very narrow slice of how things should go. I remember the fantastic buildup in Vietnam and the absolutely horrendous withdrawal. We need peace and prosperity. Most military heroes do not make good presidents in the long run.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  160. Tim

    Yes, as long as he is not from Chicago. I think if we actually had a strong military leader – and Powell is NOT one – we would have been done and gone from both of those 7th century sewers.

    Powell was always suspect, but when he played the race card and chose Obama to support – he lost me for life.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  161. Tina

    That also depends on the running mate. Is this military commander in the mold of DDE? Then my vote is "YES"!!!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  162. J

    With all of the money this country spends on its military technology, war colleges, etc., and given the results I've seen over the last 9 years, I wouldn't allow a five-star general to scrub my floors let alone run the country.

    As for service being a political asset, I doubt McCain, Kerry and Dole lost the election due to their military service. GWB's stellar resume of bravery and sacrifice shows us that the American public easily recognizes a great leader when they see one. Twice.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  163. TOM in Colorado

    Hell no! Imagine if we had one now. We'd find ourselves in Iran as well. It would be the first step towards a military dictarorship.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  164. Ivan

    i would vote for the right military man...colin powell.

    the problem with Petraeus is that he is too involved with
    both wars right now. Powell has the separation from military
    life that gives more of a civilians eye on the world.

    Petraeus becoming president would be like asking a cop to
    investigate the murder of his best friend.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  165. Duane Lock Haven PA

    Some one like Petraeus,would have had the intelligence, to stay out of Iraq,and know a conventional war could not be won in Afghanistan. But there is more to being president than warfare. We should have Petraeus in 2001. I hope America dosen,t think we need him in 2012.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  166. Carl in San Diego

    Simple answer, NO. Being a veteran, I have seen both good and bad leadership in the military. Just because someone was in the military would not necessarily make them a good Commander in Chief (ie. George W. Bush). My vote goes to the individual I think will be good for the country. The problem today is we have politicians and no statesmen. What ever happened to the Dirksen's or Stevenson's?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  167. Adam from Ohio

    No. No. No. Absolutely not. We need to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and not be so trigger happy abroad. Then, we need to spend our public money on rebuilding a nation that has been destroyed by Republican rule. Obama isn't going to fix it all in four years or eight years, and putting some gung-ho military guy in would only further our domestic decline.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  168. Johnny

    I wouldn't vote for a candidate simply because he was a veteran. It's definitely a plus but intelligence, leadership, ability to see the other point of view and being able to think through short and long term effects of your decisions are more important to me than military experience.

    I never expected Obama to understand every aspect of the world. No one man can. I respected his choice in finding the best people for each of the different areas of the government and letting them advise him on the best course of action.

    Obama is not an economist, he's not a developer, he's not a military historian/student, he's not a physicist and he's not a doctor. What he is is a man who understands the value of knowledge and went out and picked the best people with the most knowledge for each of the areas (Energy, Economy, Foreign Relations, Technology, Healthcare) and placed them in positions to advise him.

    We all have different opinions and different solutions for all of the country's probalems. But I trust in the knowledge and experince of the people the president has assigned to the various roles and I trust in the president's ability to listen to what they have to say and make the best decisions possible with the best advice and data at the time. They are the experts and i am willing to concede that they have spent far more time thinking and studying the ramifications of their choices.

    I even find it re-assuring that the president is willing to change his mind after he makes a choice, even though most criticize him. It means he is a man willing to listen to reason and has the best interest of his country, and not himself, in mind.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  169. Harold, in ANCHORAGE, AK

    Jack, chances are we'll vote for the highest ranking military commander we have: our commander-in-chief, President Barack Obama.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  170. Debbie from CA

    No. Our greatest military leaders have proven to be not the best Presidents. Gen. Washington had no precedent so its a toss up. Andrew Jackson is not admired by Native American's in the least. Zachery Taylor didn't live long and was in the middle of the 1850 compromise. Grant was a great commander and not a great President. Eisenhower was great in WWII but negotiated the DMZ for Korea and that "conflict" has never been resolved. The pattern is that great commanders are great in the military but have proven ineffective as Presidents.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  171. Tommy


    I don't care who is in office as long as they are using their brains – and not their cajones – to make decisions.

    You base the question on a faulty premise: that is, that our country is only secure if we had a military man in charge. C'mon Jack – think Vietnam; think Iraq. Those are two conflicts where the ONLY inputs to be taken seriously were those made by generals. And, look where that got us.

    Foreign affairs are to be conducted with the pen first, and the gun second – and the latter option only when absolutely needed. I hope the days where the military option is exercised first are gone forever. Look where that got us in the last administration – in two wars that will probably bleed us for decades. But this will only happen if the current president acted like the last one.

    Aim high Jack!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  172. Larry, Kansas City

    I would have voted for Colin Powell until he backed the candidacy of President Obamba. I am a Vietnam vet and what we need is a President that has the respect of the country, the world, and the Military. The only president lately that said what he was going to do and followed through with it was JFK. Right or Wrong, we need to do something and do it NOW, there are lives at stake and they are in our military.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  173. B Denney

    That is what this country needs for REAL change. Somebody who understands honor, and has proven their love of country.

    Not another lifetime politician that can't be trusted!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  174. chris bruno

    As long as the General can produce a real United States Birth Certificate, Of course I would.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  175. Charles

    Why not split the Presidency into 4 parts. One for the Economic side, and One for the Social side of our country. One for the Military ( War and Abroad) and One for the The Governmental side of our country. Then we would have 4 presidents at once that were more focused on certain aspects. So when the Social one went to Copenhagen to bid for the Olympics, We could rest easier knowing that the other ones were still hard at work.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  176. John

    No. I prefer a civilian President of the United States

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  177. Whatrwetodo?

    Military service obviously shows a devotion to the country. I don't believe that this factor should be the only aspect in choosing who to vote for. There are poor military commanders and good ones. Just because a military record looks clean doesn't mean it is. Honestly, after serving in the mililtary, I would be much more likely to vote for a military man of the enlisted type than the officer type. Their mindsets are just different. Enlisted personnel don't have the flexability in their schedule and lives to play politics and be nice about things, they just get things done because that is what they are supposed to do. Too bad our representatives don't seem to think this way.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  178. denise inglis

    Those days are over Jack. Its time America let go of glorifying war. There have been enough young men lost to fighting both in the war abroad and the war on the streets.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  179. Mike in Indiana

    As a veteran myself, I would vote for a prior military member, as long as they have shown a calm demeanor and rationale, even in the midst of uncertainty and stress. Given the current global situation, military experience would certainly be an asset in the Oval Office regardless of political affiliation. Just don't take our civil liberties and don't jump the gun without weighing the effect the final decisions would have on the nation as a whole, down to every last family.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  180. Stafford Hokie

    If the candidate spent their last 10 years in the field and not behind a desk pressing cheeks to get promoted.

    If the candidate is to win over the masses and assuming we are still stuck in foreign distractions it would be paramount that we have someone who knows the great cost to families of those serving and the great value that should be placed on peace.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  181. Alan

    No man or woman should have the right to make a decision to send young Americans to war and give their life for the country unless they have made the same committment. The qualifications of President should also include a minimum of 2 years of Service to our Country.
    The old saying "Rich mans war poor, poor mans fight" has been true too many times in our nations history.
    I wonder if we would have invaded Iraq if the Bush twins had of been in the Military at the time? Ponder on that for a while!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  182. Nancy, Tennessee

    Today's problems cover such a broad spectrum that if we elect a military commander, we may not have what we need for the economy, health care reform, and an array of other issues. I would say we need an Einstein, but he couldn't balance his own checkbook. We need a well rounded individual that can reach across party lines and pull Republicans and Democrats together. Right now I haven't seen that person on the National stage, but you better believe I've been looking.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  183. Gary

    I will vote for whomever can control trhe deficet,get every AMERICAN? CITIZEN medical coverage and produce more good paying jobs for all.
    If that means a military person is the right person then I probably would however I think the Deficit would rise due to the military mind only seeing money to win wars.

    The last admisistration broke the country with the wrong war so what would we gain

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  184. Bob


    There are a lot of No votes. Why? Most males have not served in the military. There is no culture that makes serving in the military mean anything politically, except when you have a draft requirement.

    With that said, Thank God for the Republic of Korea and Israel. Everyone is required to serve regardless of your class status. If you ask people in those countries, there would be a resounding yes.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  185. Rod

    No, I think the current administration is doing a fine job of debate and make a final decision. When are we going to understand that repeating the same old policy's (HISTORY) repeats it's self!!?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  186. JoAnn

    Never! After being a teenager during the Viet Nam war and wondering if and dreading that friends and family would be drafted, and having to go through two wars this decade, it's clear that war should ALWAYS be the last resort. A career military commander as our president would most likely not have the patience or fortitude to try to solve problems non-militarily. "Shock and Awe" mentality is not what our country or the world needs.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  187. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – If I voted for a former General for President, it would not be because of that. A large number of Presidents had prior service at command or flag rank, and about half of them were good Presidents and the other half were not. Eisenhower's success in the military was abnormal – he was promoted over other, more senior and more experienced officers because of the same political skills that served him well in the White House. He was never a field comander, going straight from junior staff to commander of the expedition without ever leading an army in the field. Many other successful officers (Patton, MacArthur, Schwarzkopf, etc.) have lacked poltical skills and would have made terrible Presidents. I believe that military expereince can be an asset to a President, but W Bush was a jet pilot and was almost the worst President ever. I vote the candidate, not just a resume, as we all should.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  188. Jeff Maizner

    Yes, I would vote for Colin Powell before any military or civilian. Petraeus....perhaps.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  189. will

    The times when military Generals used to be valued as the best presidential candidates are gone. Present world requires a president who will promote good international relations through dialogue and smart diplomacy and not through threats and wars.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  190. George from Tennessee

    Absolutely not...

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  191. Gigi

    I did that once he wasn't that great of a president. Eisenhower's name is rarely mentioned in history. I remember the fear of Atomic bombs and shelters. Those fear tactics used much like today's WMDs. We thought he would keep us safe from war. As for Nixon his name follows with the word Watergate. What we need is an FDR or a Clinton. Since when did we become a nation that builds its name/power with Wars. If Patriarchs is George W. Bush favorite he will certainly not get my vote.


    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  192. Simonsays/Orlando

    Colin Powell would make a great president. Career military, decisive, authoritative, experienced in leadership. All qualities our current president lacks.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  193. Jared In California

    I wouldn't say that if Obama seeks reelection in 2012 (and he will), he's sure to win. I mean, it's still WAY too early to tell. In any case, I'd vote for a military man, Democrat or Republican, before some career-politician. Politicians prove over and over again they care more about themselves than any of their constituents.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  194. Gary Meixell

    As a veteran Jack, you bet. But that is not the only reason that I would vote for a veteran. I believe that those who have served in the military, know what sacrifice means. That they have given of themselves for the nation, regardless of which party is in power. They may not have all of the answers, but they know the meaning of serve.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  195. T Brewton from San Antonio Texas


    The real question is do want a military man or woman in office who can make sound decisions for not only foreign policy bu for domestic policy. Bush junior was a military man (we think) and look at the all of the problems he caused.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  196. Ed Gerstner

    You bet. Military commanders are apter to take action on problems more so then any civilian with a background of community organizing and someone who is way over their head. The good general has shown that he is able to manage many situations.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  197. Reg

    No. I see no military people today that rise to the nobility and leadership qualities of past military Presidents. Come to think of it, I don't see any politicians either. Holy molly this means I may have to run myself!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  198. Bertha in SC

    Since President Obama is Commander In Chief of our entire military force, I'll say yes because I'm voting for Obama.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  199. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, first of all I would for the right person. I assume you mean one who has retired. Secondly, it doesn’t take a military mind to be the “Commander-in-Chief”. A person who hires the right advisers and knows when to listen to them would be better than someone who is used to making decisions on his/her own, such as the “Decider” who recently left the White House.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  200. roger mayo

    Yes, we need leadership, and we sure are not getting it withObama!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  201. Will

    I can't believe a lot of the idiot statements many people put on the board. It shows that many Americans don't personally know any soldiers, sailors or airmen when they think military personnel are all totalitarian, out of touch with America, hawkish and war hungry.

    The fact is the American soldier above all desires peace and a cautionary American foreign policy because it is the American soldier who above all knows the horrors and pain of war. They know how much war sucks and they've lost plenty of their brothers and sisters to combat to know that war should not be taken lightly. They understand the difference between wars of necessity and wars of convenience.

    Officers and soldiers in the military are in touch with the common man of American because they lead them everyday. This is a stark difference to your "Ivy League" elitist graduates who come from well to do families and strive for political power their whole lives. They don't know about what the rest of America goes through, what they seek is taking advantage of others to further their own ambitions.

    I fully support a military presidential candidate, one that is brave enough to take on the political establishment of our arrogant and corrupt political elite.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  202. Dave from California

    A President needs to be a generalist, not a military, financial, medical, agricultural, any other type of expert. The important quality is being able to surround yourself with those having these various expertises. Of course, if we're just going to start and fight wars, then maybe we should turn the government over to the military......oh my gosh, didn't we try that that!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  203. Jane

    No, I would not. We need diplomacy in the white house, not military force; unless of course you believe in brute force over diplomacy and negotiation and war over peace.
    Absolutey not.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  204. Don in Ohio

    One of the very worst problems we face as a country is the military industrial complex. There is no place for an ex-military leader in today's political environment. The GOP has become desperate, that's why we are hearing this.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  205. Clark

    Jack, let me see ....
    1. leading lots of people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, gender, etc.
    2. making the most happen with limited budgets
    3. dealing with and knowing real world situations on a daily basis
    4. serving the country first ... and not having their first priority to get rich
    5. being willing to endure hardship
    6. understanding integrity, courage and committment ... and actually striving to live up to those standards

    Sure, I would vote for an individual with a military background any day ... over choosing an individual that thinks like an elitist, or thinks their dreams are reality, who wants the other guy to endure hardship while they get wealthy giving lectures or taking gifts from special interest groups, or who is always more concerned about themselves and their status than they are about the country and others.

    Yes, I want to vote for an individual that is a patriotic nationalist and not a globalist, a compassionate conservative, and not a liberal extortionist, a person that has lead people and held a real job and not some bumpkin that has only been a politician/lawyer/elitist all their lives.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  206. TheTech

    Although it is admirable to have served in our nations armed forces, it is not a prerequisite for Presidency of the United States. Obama won the election because he appeared to be a righteous man through his words and actions. Voters want right minded people not a war-mongers. I would look into his heart and mind and vote for the one who stands for righteousness...

    October 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  207. Quincy of Chicago

    Yes, if the person was qualified for the position of course. The importance of military experience has indeed dwindled in recent elections as it will in future elections due to the fact that conflicts fought today resemble little to any of the conflicts prior to the first half of last century. We exist in a vastly different time where today's wars today require not only in-depth military knowledge but also the political and diplomatic acumen. In short, the president must be more statesmen than soldier.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  208. William

    Why not a disabled vet? I am a disabled vet and I bet that my fellow vets and I would get a lot less grief from the VA if the President had a VA disability rating?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  209. Adam

    Bush is not really the one who got us where we are right now in terms of the 2 wars, it's the military people who advised him and pushed him hard to rubber stamp those bad decisions.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  210. John

    No, a career in the military will not produce the skills required to run a nation that carries so much responsibility. 70 years ago maybe, but not today.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  211. ken m.

    jack, im a vet from viet nam, and if you where ther the war was run totally by the generals and cheif of staff who kepth the war going, they need the war to move up in ranks ,also the perks from the non military poeple that want there products in the military, there where generals who lost ther jobs by misleading then president johson , about the use of more troops , it appears that the general is doing the same thing ,NO TOP OFFICER GOES OVER THE HEAT OF THE COMANDER AND CHEIF , PERIOD. KEN

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  212. bijoux mi

    Jack, I think being a good military commander does not equal being a good president so they will have to have more qualities than just being a military commander.you know what I mean? Like general powell.hence being a fomer general is. Just one of many good presidential attributes

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  213. George Montalvan

    Why for President? Maybe we need more military in Congress - both houses - and see if they come to agreement more readily than civilians. If you have a military leader as President, Congress will doubtless frustrate him like they do everyone else - unless, of course, he belongs to the majority party.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  214. s. nations

    I would as long as he was registered independent and not stirring up more dysfunctional partisan politics.

    We don't need the likes of a Haig

    we need wisdom and compassion, a Shwartzkoff, etc.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  215. sam bangkok

    We have had enough of Ex-military presidents. Look at what G.W. Bush did to the Economy with his finance of the war in Iraq, and his use of force instead of dialogue with other nations that disagree with his decision. I think Obama is making head way with his mutual respect approach to issues.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  216. John Holliday

    I am currently serving in our armed forces and am stationed at Moody AFB in GA. I think it should be a neccesity to have served time in the military to be able to better understand the needs and strenghths of our country and all its interests. At least with military service you have a good starting point for what decisions you may have to make.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  217. Richard

    In western civilizations, soldier emporers have not fared well as leaders of democracies. They have been trained to utilize one, and only one, doctrine.... to quell forces of opposition with a military response.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  218. Bob Jesse

    Sounds great for some. The World plunging into chaos, because nothing is done on Climate Change and Poverty, a "Surge" will be necessary to get the people of the streets and protect the Elite. It is the continuation of the "Greed The World" Programm, which is now restarting again.
    Strange World.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  219. nello fucci

    absolutely, some of the nost prominent minds come from the military ranks. many of us were hoping to have people like Colin Powell.

    furthermore John McCain lost his election ( or at least lost any hope of winning the election ) when he chose Sarah PAlin as a running mate.
    if there is on critic to military people is that they seem to loose their leadership thinking when they runfor president. As if they are scared to appear too authoritarian if they run a campaign decisevely.

    I believe that people will be looking for that leadership even more in a person rrunning for president with a military background

    October 5, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  220. Kathleen

    I've enjoyed your queries for a long time....and THIS question is the first that has compelled me to get out of my lounge chair and move to my computer. I have no doubt about my feeling that the United States Commander in Chief should be a military man (or woman) and I am confident that history will prove this opinion to be spot-on.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  221. Ernest Levi

    Absolutely not. We do not eat war. What will a General brings to America? War. Voting for a General at this time will be a big mistake. We need an economist to fix all this economic mess. Obama can do better than a General. The General can be sent to Iraq to fix this falling country. If the General thinks he is a war genious why can't he help win the war in Afghanistan. American's do not need a war hero at this time, but we need an economy hero.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  222. Tom McGrath, Longmont, Co

    I would absolutely vote for a military Man or woman. We seem to be a country in conflict most of the time and the military training, leadership and background would be a tremendous asset. That having been said, the person would have to demonstrate an overall knowledge of economics with some reasonable bounds of what can be done without selling our childrens soles down the river, compassion for all people, a strong sense of God and Country which seems to be currently lost, a strong sense of security of country ( which would probably come from the militar but which seems to also be lost at the moment, AND a strong sense of what the hell the Founding Fathers laid down in the Constitution.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  223. Michael and Diane Phoenix AZ

    Not especially.....U.S. Grant was a Civil War General, elected President and he seemed to lead the "downfall" of the American Indian in the 19th Century; Teddy Roosevelt had some military background with the Rough Riders, but was a good President; Ike was Supreme Commander in Europe, WW2 and also a former President of a college...he was a smart general though and one of his last speeches before leaving the Presidency was to "watch out for the military-industrial complex" that seems to be involved in everything these days....McCain sounds like a hot head with his "bomb Iran" remarks...real smart, shoot first then ask questions.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  224. Russ

    I am appalled at the number of people who seem to believe the military loves war. I am in the military and we despise it, b/c we are the first to go fight it. We fight b/c we are ordered to do so in defense of our nation, not b/c we enjoy it.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  225. Joe Rogers from Annapolis, MD

    Absolutely not, Jack! The structure of the military is far different than
    what exists in non-military set-ups for the most part. Officers in the
    military give orders, those orders are to be followed, Someone who happens to be president may possibly be "over-ruled" by what we know is called a "Veto".

    And especially at this time in our country's history should this feeling be strong. When Dwight Eisenhower was elected president the
    war was over, right now there are two wars going on. What recently happened when General McCrystal went public with words to garner support for "his" assessment is strong visible support for my

    October 5, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  226. Howard

    I would vote for someone with a military background, however I would say that Patreous has shot himself in the foot by not voting in the last election, I was in the Navy for 9 years and voted with an absentee ballot each election. In my mind, Carter and Kerry would be two VERY good reasons to not want an x-military officer elected.

    BTW, The picture in your article is a Navy uniform with submariners' dolphins on them. I can assure you that General Petreaus does not wear dolphins.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  227. Dot McGlynn

    Dot, Farmingdale,NY
    No, Jack, I don't think we should automatically think a military person has to be a good president. Military men are great in their jobs under the president, but when it comes to the needs of the people of the U.S., there are many other important issues at stake. I'm surprised that some think a great commander has to be a good president. This is a huge country.....not an army or navy, and just imagine what a president has to be responsible for. The person chosen does also have to have the ability to speak to all leaders of the world as well, and this entails insight. Let's not think that we just need a good commander to keep us safe in war. We have plenty of other problems knocking on our doors.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  228. David / Maryland

    Yes Jack, Gomer Pyle would be a noticible improvment!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  229. Rick

    Jack –

    I would absolutely vote for a military man. In fact, I don't think we are going to have a choice. Obama is the weakest President we have ever had, and I have no doubt he will stumble the US into an additional war (probability Iran) through his naivete.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  230. Al

    Military people are schooled in the art of war,,,,,therefore they fight wars. America needs someone who can communicate with the whole world. Anybody is capable is fighting,,,watch what takes place on our own streets, night after night. Every war throughout history has made a few people exceptionally wealthy,,,,,Iraq and Afghanstan are not the exception to this. Our members of congress who want to pursue both of these wars,,,,,,,they are benefitting from them financially. Their W2 forms may not show it,,,,,but you can bet the farm on it,,,,,,,they are being rewarded one way or another. America needs someone with some good old fashioned common sense to lead this country. Common sense evidently has been outsourced along with five million jobs.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  231. M.MacKay

    I suspect that many of those answering 'Yes' to this poll are right wing christian folk, and yet, why does Peace on Earth seem like such a foreign concept to them, just like the story of the good Samaritan falls on deaf ears when it comes to their consideration of healthcare.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  232. Brian from Texas

    I believe military service is a nice credential to have when running for office such as JFK, Nixon, and H. Bush had. However, I would not elect a military man such as a 4 star general to the office for their military knowledge. I see the presidency as a diplomatic role. Military and war waging know how is what the Joint Chiefs and Defense Secretary are for.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  233. Joe


    Having served in two branches of the military, I do not believe this country will ever vote anyone with military experience. Our standards and protocol is much much higher than the civilians in this country can comprehend. It just will not happen....... Example is Jim is a Obama Follower and 9 months later Obama Hussein has not accomplished one agenda item....unacceptable in the military. Civilians Like Jim can just go about their lives accepting this kind of inability to accomplish the mission. A President with career military experience is what this country needs, but sadly will not happen. Oh, and the comment about the military people having a concept of the reality of life in the USA. Well we have less poverty, crime& higher education, less discrimination levels per capita of the civilian numbers

    October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  234. Clarence

    Well that all depends who the Candidates would be,if one of them could run this world with the mind set of equality for all,then most definitly I would, so YES I WOULD.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm |
  235. J.Ross

    No way, maybe Colin Powell only.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  236. W. Boutwell

    Jack – Yes, I would vote for a military leader for President if the individual had a love for the country, and understanding of how wealth is created and a compassion for the disadvantaged and a desire to do something about it.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  237. Steve Spainhouer

    First of all, you fail to recognize in your question that our President is already a military commander by consititional authority. The question is better asked: Would I consider military experience in voting for someone to be President in 2102? I would not consider a man's leadership characteristics as a military commander suffient for the person to ber elected President. In fact, military experience could be a detriment, because a successful President must be able to win debates, and sell his programs and ideas- things not necessarily needed or allowed in the military. In the military, promotions are based more on merit, than skill. The number of stars on an epilet, or years dedicated in service, while honorable, are not necessarily qualities by themself, that demonstrates successful leadership skills. Just because someone can safely negotiate the political landscape with in the military, does not mean he oe she is a successful leader. Our national leaders need to have a set of leadership skills that are tested far beyond a battlefield . . . .or in the halls at the Pentagon.

    Steve Spainhouer
    McKinney, Texas
    Former Military Officer and Combat Arms Commander

    October 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  238. cecilia lewis

    How about a Commander In Chief of Peace

    October 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  239. Paul in Maryland

    Yes. The Military produces the best leaders. Any time served is an asset. Colin Powel, however has lost his appeal over the years since he served. I think Petraeus would be a fine candidate: Obama has proven, in an impressively short time his inadequacy to lead. Sorry, rookies whose sole qualification is the claim of "reform" can't handle the job. I believe we need experience, fortitude and an appreciation for the cost of conflict: both avoidance and engagement thereof.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  240. chris bruno

    As long as there is no history of the General consorting with home grown radical bombers that pose standing on the American Flag or having socialistic agenda I would have no problem voting for he or she.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  241. Jerry Keenehan

    Military experience can tell us a lot about the character, integrity and leadership skills of a presidential candidate. Obama has none of the background and experience to qualify him as commander-in-chief or 'leader' of the free world. He won a popularity contest. Is that what the presidency has come down to in America – popularity vs substance? In reality, we need a president who has both. Unfortunately, as everyone is finding out, our current president has only one!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:26 pm |
  242. Philip

    I would vote for Patraeus. He has proven himself to be an effective commander on the field, he was able to right a lot of the wrongs in Iraq, and he does not seem like a politicized guy. If he runs he has my vote.

    Patraeus 2012!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  243. richard m

    yes bye the time President Obama is done we will be a week country and someone will have get our respect back thru out the world stay tuned its olny going to get worse for the greatest country in the entire world

    October 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  244. Randy L. Arizona Resident

    Well, I sure don't see Obama having the ability, skill or courage to engage in a war with an attitude of winning a decisive victory against any of our enemies.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  245. Dan in Texas

    General Petraeus, the guy who couldn't answer Ron Paul on the question of "does the administration have the authority to bomb Iran without congressional approval"? And I thought it couldn't get worse then Obama. Ya lets elect this guy and go broke. Oh I forgot we are broke already.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  246. Zhen

    In a somewhat reasonable world, voters would choose a president based on the voters' perception of the candidate's ability to make critical decisions when faced with competing agendas and based on limited information. A war-time military leader clearly has a record of critical decision made under the most difficult circumstances – voting for him is a matter of what one thinks of his decisions. Military decision-making is a plus, but running foreign policy and the nation's economy are big (and different) jobs as well and the candidate must show qualifications in these area.

    (Having just read what I wrote, I am forced to conclude that the last three presidents would not have been allowed anywhere near the Oval office based on my criteria: with Clinton we got lucky in that he was a very quick study; George W. Bush – our luck did not last, wasn't qualified when he got in, did not learn much while on the job – we are and will be paying for it; Obama – has done well so far on domestic issues, on foreign policy – the test is yet to come.)

    Unfortunately, in living history voters have been making decisions based on campaign sound-bites, haircuts, strict adherence to loony religious doctrines, nice-guy-to-have-beer-at-a-backyard-barbecue-with image and similar non-sense – I fear we are in for more of the same.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  247. Chris (Southern CA)

    The only person who would get my vote (and I vote democratic) is Colin Powell.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  248. PJ Doherty

    Yes, WE as husband and wife, would more than likely vote for a person who has years of military service, male or female. Generals, as a whole, are very educated and the best well-rounded people in any business scenerio, esp. government! We're foolish NOT to vote a military person into office. They are on the front lines and KNOW first hand what needs to be done for the security of our country and at the same time, help other countries where we serve. If Stormy Normand had full rein, our war efforts would have been on target a hell of a lot sooner and we could have said "Mission Accomplished" with fuller confidence in our leadership. Daddy Bush let the ball fall, followed by son. Wasteful time and concentration of the real situation at hand.

    So much more to consider, but thank you for this question.

    USAF (Ret)

    October 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  249. John S.

    Absolutely not. I believe that there needs to be civilian control of the armed forces. Having a President with military background might sound like a good idea, but a soldier is always a soldier and I would feel that (s)he would be inclined to jump to a military solution sooner than is normally necessary.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:27 pm |
  250. Sharon, Rockford, IL

    I would only vote for a military person if they also had business and real world knowledge. I think there are far too many of our politicians who are quick to jump on the "let's go to war" bandwagon. War and military intervention should be the tactic of last resort, not first. Military action is expensive, both monetarily and lives. Our country has a wide range of issues and our president needs a wide range of expertise to do the job.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  251. Ricky

    to Lou from North Carolina. Ike did not fire McArthur. That was Harry S. Truman who did that. When Harry S. Truman left office as I recall in the book "Plain Speaking" he didn't even take a government ink pen with him and while driving on the road back from D.C. to Missouri, he saw cattle on the road and stopped to round them up. Harry's my guy and of course he was a veteran of WWI, I believe in artillery.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  252. John, Fort Walton Beach, FL

    I definitely would if he or she was the most qualified candidate. Bush AND Clinton are both culpable for the problems with Al Qaeda - and Bush's "military experience" doesn't count, so a person with actual military experience couldn't hurt.

    I'd vote for Powell in a heartbeat. Ironic that the only guy in the Bush administration who had actually been to war, didn't want us to go to war in Iraq.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  253. curious

    Michael, explain this statement "On the Democratic side, I would vote for General Wesley Clark, who won’t run unless Obama is in trouble.". Were you referring to the 2012 election or running for cover if Obama gets in trouble? I expect many will be doing that, rats from a sinking ship as they say. Nearly every administration has had its share during the tougher times.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  254. Steve, San Antonio TX

    Maj Buhts,

    If you are a retired U.S. Army officer, you surely know that military personnel do not want to be fighting wars. I just retired after serving 24 years in the U.S. Air Force, and I can tell you unequivically that I absolutely do not want another war. I want to be home with my family, not over in some far-off country living in a tent, eating MRE's and wondering if I'm going to survive that day, let alone see my family again when my tour's over!

    It has been said before, but bears repeating here..."To know war, is to not want to repeat it".

    No one knows better, the cost of war, than those charged with fighting it! For that reason, I lean strongly to those who have actual military experience.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  255. GARY

    The only way I'd vote for a military commander in 2012 is if he marched his army into the congress and cleaned out all the vermin that are making backroom deals with the corporations at the expense of us taxpayers.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  256. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    As long as they are not a Republican or related to either Bush or Cheney. How much worse can a retired General/Admiral do then what Bush/Cheney did to America?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  257. GEdwards

    "The lesson of history is that war does no good. Why would we want a war proponent in the White House?" – Bob Buhts, MAJ USA (ret)

    Nope, war has never solved anything, including such things as slavery, holocausts, piracy, communism, etc.

    And no one - other than Mr. Buhts, that is - can be a former military member and view military action as a last resort.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  258. Amy

    We need military leadership that has a true vision of what is really going on. Mr. C. Powell seems to have the right idea about the operations in Afghanistan. Elect him, bring our troops home, build up our borders and treat the countries with negative haste towards the U.S. with the same haste towards them. Recoup all of our aid and start paying our national debt.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  259. Michael Smith

    Anyone who has been in the military knows that flag officers (e.g., generala and admirals) live in near complete bubbles. The have hords of staff who cater to their every whim. Thay have bodyguards. They have their own chefs and drivers. And they literally roll out the red carpets (as if they are royalty) when they visit other commands. And worst of all, most are surrounded by yes-men toadies. Many of these yes-men (and some yes-women) also aspire to one day put on or perhaps put another star on their shoulders.

    With the exception of Gen Powell, I wouldn't consider voting for any general or admiral as President.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  260. Tom B. White, Flagstaff AZ

    The premise of this discussion appears to be this: that Barack Obama is not adequate to the position of Commander in Chief. I reject this premise. His thoughtful, deliberative style is certainly a contrast to the cowboy foreign policy of Bush and Cheney. For similar reasons, I would not want Petraeus in the role of Commander in Chief; though I do perceive him to be a very intelligent man, he is too wedded to miliatry solutions. John McCain is out of the question; he's scarey. Colin Powell is sufficiently skeptical of military "solutions," and I could support him. Alas, time appears to have passed him by. However, the person whom I most support, whom I most trust, is Barack Obama.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  261. Patricia in Maryland

    I definitely would not vote for a military commander next election. While the nation is dealing with two military operations, one undertaken for very unclear reasons, it is also dealing with a domestic mess caused by years of neglect by leaders who didn't even care about what happened on the homefront. Military commanders operate well within a military context, but I don't view them as having any superior understanding of the problems of everyday life here at home or any superior ability to construct practical policies to deal with them. Moreover, war strategy is a far cry from foreign policy.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  262. Aaron Russo

    Maybe...but probably only if it were Colin Powell. Powell wouldn't even need to be in the same party as I am and I would make sure I cast my vote for him. Petreaus is to be admired and has done a fine job under some questionable leadership. The difference is Powell actually removed himself from the situation when he realised the Bush administration was engaging in suspected criminal activity. That gains him top honors in my book. How many people would shuttle their own career in order to do what you know in your heart is right?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  263. alex

    yes I would vote for a president with military back round granted he/she actually had some combat experience not just an over glorified army clerk

    chandler az

    October 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm |

    The position of the office of President is "Commander In Chief." Therefore, and always have thought it should be a "Pre – Requesit" to have served the United States of America by serving in one of the five branches of the military. If you care so much for our country then you should have SERVED!!!

    USMC – CPL Darrell F. Martin II

    October 5, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  265. George A Blankenship, Sr.

    I think we should have a president with enough experience to make military decisions.When he doesn't, he should have sense enough to listen to his military advisers.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  266. Nathan

    It is a civilian government for a reason. The president should lean on his military advisors, but people should remember that the founding fathers understood that in a republic, the congress and senate decide when to go to war and when to pay for it. It is a check and balance to keep the president from becoming a military dictator. With the influence of the Joint Chiefs in the White House, having a "military" commander-in-chief is redundant and unnecessary.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  267. Shannon/Orange CA

    You bet I would vote for a member of the Armed Services in a heartbeat. To argue with one member's statement that mlitary people don't have experience with the economy. Tell that to a Commander who is working on a very tight budget for his Battalion and told once again he has to cut back but provide the same level of operation on a lesser budget.
    IF anyone has experience to lead this country, it would be a member of our military. Fully prepared for any circumstance, mentally and physically steadfast! That's what we need...not another POTUS who can't think without his million czars. Military folks think on their feet!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  268. retiredAF

    Colin Powell in a heartbeat. A man of integrity, intelligence and compassion. All sadly lacking in virtually any politician today. I would vote for a hooker before I would vote for a career politician. If I want to get screwed at least I want to know up front what it will cost me !!!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  269. Arthur Soller

    Hey, we elected an ex-CIA chief to the Presidency! A member of the armed forces does not mean pro-war inclinations; it means: if you are told to go to war, you go.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm |
  270. Tiff of Lithia Springs

    So long as they are not war mongers. You would think that people who have been to war are wiser about the tool of war.

    And also, about your Olympics commentary. We had the Olympics in 1984 in California. In 1996 in Georgia and 2002 in Utah. The whole continent of South America has never had one at all. Has anyone thought to consider that. I would have like the small useless victory for Obama but really that's an experience we have to share with the rest world and we have had one in this country for the last 3 decades.

    US citizens and on occasion even myself needs to get over ourselves sometimes.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  271. Roland

    Most top military advisors have higher education as well as an understanding of how the military forces of other countries work. This goes beyond the scope of what our past three Presidents had and with that said I would prefer someone with extensive military and educational background and a multi facet life with years of experience both military and civil.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  272. brian

    I will vote for anyone who runs against this incumbent!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  273. Rob

    Hello – afterall it is commander in chief.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  274. CAVet

    How can a president with no military experience run a war on two fronts? I am a veteran of 10 years. I fought in both, and it takes a military mind who has experienced combat to know what is really happening in the minds of his/her troops and know the mind of the enemy. This question is like having a banker run a trama center. It will work if the person has a good mind for organization and multitasking but it would work better if that same person was an ER Doctor. A military member like Gen. Petraeus has worked with personnel issues, budget, and healthcare. Not on the national level but in an organization that conducts buisness worldwide.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  275. steve

    hell no Jack......
    i'm way, way past sick of this suppossed permanent state of war. who invented this malarky anyway? bush and his war profiteers aided and abetted by his oil pals?? notice how when you oil's removed from the equation do we seem to make actual progress internationally.
    part of what obama brings to the table is that we TALK to people, we'll negotiate and we'll LISTEN. we dont go off like 2 year olds on steriods and no sleep acting like war-mongering jerks, invading whoever and whatever country we damn well feel like only because WE CAN!
    obama is correct in dealing with iran in the way he is. the list goes on; iraq, pakistan, china, n korea, former soviet union etc etc. now if we can only get a nuclear-free mideast by getting the liars and war-mongers in the govt of isreal to admit the worst kept secrtet in recent modern history. i say let the iaea inspect DIMONA right after they leave tehran!!!
    these are successes in the making, not failures. if war is your only response at the end, your "victory" is a hollow, phyrric, nihlistic one that suits noone but the war profiteers.
    and to paraphrase either hanz or framz; hear me now and believe me later; if pakistans incursion into the tribal regions succeeds and we find the charred remains of our pal osama (he'll never be taken alive) you'll look at this question a year from now and be amazed by how much things have changed and for the better not just for US but for the entire peace-loving world. if you add in a victory on health care, it'll be game/set/match for obama and you wont see another repuglican in the white house for another 19 to 23 years. and THATS what scares the nihlistic party of no......

    October 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm |
  276. Nick, Phoenix, AZ

    Colin Powell ??!!!! Are you all kidding me ???

    He's the one who helped LIE us into Iraq!! Yes, LIE!!!

    During the spring of 2001, I heard him make a speech in Egypt on CNN where he said that Iraq was not a threat to its neighbors let alone the US. How quickly that changed. So which time was he lying?? I'll bet on the 2nd time.

    He and the rest of the bush crime family should ALL be thrown in prison and throw away the key!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  277. Joe Kirk

    Not unless I decide to throw in the trash the parting, ultimately ominous, good, sound advice regading "the military-industrial complex" about which Eisenhower warned the citizens of this nation as he left office.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  278. Robert Donalson

    I would neither vote for nor against on the basis of military history alone. The Presidency requires multiple skill sets, a breadth of experience and great personal maturity. We do the office and the country a dis-service when we expect any idealogical litmus test to tell us enough about a person to consider them seriously for such leadership.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  279. Harriette

    The president commands our national military, so heck yeah I'd vote for a military man. In fact, that's the only kind we should vote for, then we wouldn't have to worry that our president is off trying to make his hometown the new olympics instead of sending back-up troops to our soldiers in Afghanistan. Geez...where is the man's noggin?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  280. Austin in Warner Robins, GA

    Military experience should be a prerequisite for the Presidency. Our men and women in uniform are excellent role models and our senior military leaders (contrary to some respondents) have all the necessary experience (and more) to lead this nation. Is it not a coincidence that our greatest Presidents were former military men?

    October 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  281. Ty (USMC Vet)

    Just because one has a military background does not immediately make that person a "war monger." Every sovereign nation has to deal with war, which requires its leaders to understand all aspects of war. Obviously, there are men or women better suited for the job than others. Of course war "does no good," but the history of all nations is a history of victory and defeat on the battle field. Are we supposed to lay down our arms and allow anyone to walk accross our borders? War is a given, so give me somebody who has a deep comprehension of war, and a strong respect for America and its citizens.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  282. Michael T

    I couldn't possibly consider any qualifications until I know where the individual stands on other issues. Military experience was great when the nations of the war fought for land and borders, that isn't the case anymore.

    I vote based on who has the most solid path forward for the country. Clearly, that's no republican, and only a handful of Dems are worth our spit. Time for the Bull Moose to resurface methinks.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  283. Andrew

    General Petraeus would have my vote, he would be a great president.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  284. Ralph Sato

    Gen Eisenhower had the prestige of leading the Normandy landings and the European theater. He avoided politics until public demands for his leadership became too persuasive to keep from running for president. As president, Eisenhower had the confidence of both parties because of his moderation and wisdom. By contrast John McCain was a political personality for several decades before becoming a presidential candidate. His prestige as a POW in Vietnam was overplayed during the 2008 campaign and he made some big mistakes such as caving in to the Christian right-wing fundamentalists, admitting his lack of interest in economics at a time of crisis, and picking Sara Palin as his running mate. It is not so much a question of whether the American public is tired of military leaders running for president but more a matter of personality and leadership style.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  285. Ron


    President Dwight D. Eisenhower became very popular after the Korean War (1950 – 1953); President Franklin Roosevelt was the hero of WWII (1939 – 1945).

    Having said that, General Petraeus may run for U.S. president in 2012, but he probably will not be successful because the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq will no doubt be unsuccessful. The truth of the matter, the indigenous people of both countries do not want us in the region. I served in Vietnam during 1968 and 1969. I perceptively noticed while serving there, the indigenous people didn’t want us there either…

    Thus, I would not vote for a military commander in 2012. I would give President Obama more time to guide America to its full potential.

    Ron / Austin, Texas

    October 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  286. CraigieB

    No and hell no. War is obsolete. The only reason we have war anymore, anyway, is to give people who can't find work in the private sector something to do and, of course, to transfer wealth from the taxpayers to the war profiteers.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  287. Falling

    I don't know if the US has necessarily rejected military men in leadership. I think there is a vast difference between being vet like Dole, Kerry, or even a respected vet like McCain and being a respected general that has had a say on public policy and is involved in grand strategy- like Ike and Grant. Powell and Petraeus have a vastly better chance of being elected then a grunt that fought bravely.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  288. Walther Shmit, Oregon

    What we need is a strong leadership figure, like Mugabe. Maybe that would make Glenn Beck happy...

    October 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  289. Diana, Illinois

    We have taught our children and grandchildren that even they could become President so of course I would consider voting for a military man. What has President Obama brought with him to the White House in the line of experience. He has never even held a real job along with many from Congress. But he has brought his training from his communist friends. Is that really what this country wants? Isn't that what we have always fought against?? Bring me any man or woman who is interested in tax cuts, balancing the budget, putting people to work, and the defense of our country.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  290. Richey in Birmingham

    Yes I would vote for a military commander for President, as long as his record shows that he is no war monger. But is a time of war we need someone in office that understands what at stake. That way our men and women in the military will know they will get the tools and men it takes to do the job. And not depend on a politition that is worried about his image, insted of our soilders. God Bless our Men and women in harms way.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  291. Ken

    While I would not vote for a president soley for military background, I do believe military service should be mandatory for all US presidents and vice presidents. After all they are the commander of the US forces and should have some idea what they are asking them to do.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  292. Aaron from Kentucky

    As far as I've seen Jack, i'm still voting for Obama in 2012, until i find sufficient reason otherwise. I think you're all writing him off too quickly, especially the manner in which he sacrifices his own political capital for any gain he determines worthy. The reason his political capital is spent is because there have been so many worthy causes lately. He hasn't had the luxury of holding onto all his chips. Don't underestimate the power of a martyr, political or otherwise.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  293. Bonnie Boyce

    It depends ENTIRELY on where we stand with respect to these two wars come 2012. It's simply too early to commit. The economic crisis drove my vote in 2008. Hopefully, both wars will be but painful memories by the 2012 presidential election

    October 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  294. Pam

    Colin Powell is incredible and I agree that the more heard from him the better. I can not see, however, a military officer who served within the last five years running for President. It has nothing to do with how strong that a military leader might be but folks, a military man needs time away first in order to readjust his focus from the mindset he or she has required in military service for their country. I am military myself and the military life is great but a country should not be run the same way that the military is.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  295. Jean Rohrer

    No! Eisenhower warned us against the military-industrial complex. Generals fight the last war–and rarely successfully. Military folks do one thing well–fight wars. They don't much like civilian control, nor any who disagree with their "nuke 'em" attitudes. Colin Powell was lambasted for saying we couldn't win Iraq. MIlitary rulers abound in the world; many of them as tyrants or heads of juntas. Such leaders bode poorly for their citizens, favoring war and war machinery above consumer/domestic programs.
    I am a Viet Nam vet. I won't vote for anyone who's main claim to fame is military service, not even Ramsey Clark, whom I admire. Certainly not McCain!

    October 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  296. Joel Harvey

    Different subject: We just arrested terrorists who trained in al-Quida training camps in Pakistan who actually bought explosive making stuff. Remember 9/11 when people were critical of Clinton for lobbing cruise missles after the African attacks and the Bush administration for completely disregarding the warning of the C.I.A. experts on Bin Laden. Didn't Obama say he would chase the evil doers into Pakistan if the need arose? Why are we afraid or unwilling to briefly incur into Pakistan and quit trying to nation build in Afganistan.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  297. Steve NY NY

    Interesting how many folks would choose Colin Powell. Shame he did not run this past election. Perhaps he felt too close to the prior administration.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  298. Anne in Houston

    I'm not wholly against it...but you haven't mentioned military culture in general. Military mean and women are trained follow orders, they don't question authority, and they avoid reflection while carrying out their duties...
    That's why they make excellent soldiers and why vets are often desired above others in private companies.

    But does that mindset lead you to be a better leader, who contemplates, weighs potential outcomes carefully, and negotiates between parties rather than try to fight them? I'm not convinced it does.
    Take Mc Cain...even amongst his own ...the highest praise he can give to Palin after reflection on his campaign was not that she connected with voters (which she did help him do – whether or not you liked her), but that she helped him "gained in the polls"...essentially, the best thing he can remember about it was "we winning for a while there". He always framed the Iraq war in terms of "winning" or "failure"...when in all honesty it wasn't really about either....it was about finding an excuse to secure an oil rich region before China or India could get to it...
    I think the military culture and the personality it encourages isn't what the majority want in leader right now...

    October 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm |
  299. Bernie

    I would if their political views were my own. I'm not one of those individuals that votes for an individual because they are a democrat or a Republican. I think to many individuals get caught up with this and miss the big picture. Hell, look at what Obama has done. To many People voting for him because he was black. Color does not make a man or a woman; it's what's on the inside and what they bring to the table (Experience).

    October 5, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  300. anglerred

    Would I vote for veteran because he/she is a veteran? No. No more than I'd vote for a candidate because he/she shares my skin-color and/or cultural background.

    However, would I PREFER a POTUS to have military experience in this era? Yes.

    October 5, 2009 at 6:36 pm |