2013-09-16  8:42:08   www.gct-online.com  

Friction between America’s military and its civilian overseers is nothing new. America’s 220-year experiment in civilian control of the military is a recipe for friction. The nation’s history has seen a series of shifts in decision-making power among the White House, the civilian secretaries and the uniformed elite (精英). However, what may seem on the outside an unstable and special system of power sharing has, without a doubt, been a key to two centuries of military success.

In the infighting dates to the revolution, George Washington waged a continual struggle not just for money, but to control the actual battle plan. The framers of the Constitution sought to clarify things by making the president the “commander in chief.” Not since Washington wore his uniform and led the troops across the Alleghenies to quell(镇压)the Whiskey Rebellion has a sit-ting president taken command in the field. Yet the absolute authority of the president ensures his direct command. The president was boss, and everyone in uniform knew it.

In the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln dealt directly with his generals, and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton handled administrative details. Lincoln, inexperienced in military matters, initially deferred (顺从) to his generals. But when their caution proved disastrous, be issued his General War Order No. 1 — explicitly commanding a general advance of all Union forces. Some generals, George B. McClellan in particular, bridled at his hands-on direction. But in constitutional terms, Lincoln was in the right.

His most important decision was to put Ulysses S. Grant in charge of the Union Army in 1864. Left to its own timetable, the military establishment would never have touched Grant. The relationship between the president and his general provides a textbook lesson in civilian control and power sharing. Grant was a general who would take the fight to the enemy, and not second-guess the president’s political decisions. Unlike McClellan, for example, Grant cooperated wholeheartedly in recruiting black soldiers. For his part, Lincoln did not meddle in operations and did not visit the headquarters in the field unless invited.

The balance set up by Grant and Lincoln stayed more or less in place through World War I. Not until World War II did the pendulum finally swing back toward the White House. Franklin Roosevelt, who had been assistant Navy secretary, during World War I, was as well prepared to be commander in chief as any wartime president since George Washington.

1. According to the author, the system of power sharing between the White House and the generals _____________.

A. is unstable and strange

B. is a guarantee for American military success

C. has caused a series of quarrels

D. undermines the bases of American military power

2. The phrase “the uniformed elite” in paragraph one most probably refers to ___________.

A. outstanding soldiers                   B. officers

C. officials                          D. generals

3. According to the passage, Washington ___________.

A. struggled with the congress only for money

B. lived up to the code of the constitution that the president was “the commander in chief”

C. looked more like a general than a president

D. did much more than he should as a president

4. Why was the putting of Grant in charge of the Union Army an important decision?

A. Because Lincoln was inexperienced in military affairs, he had to do so.

B. Grant whole-heartedly believed in Lincoln, and their cooperation proved to be a none-such.

C. All things considered, Grant was somewhat better than McClellan.

D. The decision to put Grant in charge of the Union Army was not against the constitution.

5. In the last paragraph, the author implies that __________.

A. Roosevelt was better prepared to be a wartime president than Lincoln

B. in the Second World War, the relationship between the White House and the generals was intense

C. both Lincoln and Roosevelt were good wartime presidents, although their actual way of dealing things might be different

D. George Washington was actually the best president


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