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    Shinseki Hero, McChrystal Bum

    Shinseki Hero, McChrystal Bum

    General Eric K. Shinseki was a hero to Democrats and the mainstream media because he publicly criticized the Bush administration on Iraq:

    In a contentious exchange over the costs of war with Iraq, the Pentagon’s second-ranking official today disparaged a top Army general’s assessment of the number of troops needed to secure postwar Iraq. House Democrats then accused the Pentagon official, Paul D. Wolfowitz, of concealing internal administration estimates on the cost of fighting and rebuilding the country.

    Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the recent estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, ”wildly off the mark.” Pentagon officials have put the figure closer to 100,000 troops.

    General Stanley McChrystal has publicly criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the war in Afghanistan. But unlike Shinseki, McChrystal is being portrayed as a bum:

    An angry President Obama summoned his top commander in Afghanistan to Washington on Tuesday after a magazine article portrayed the general and his staff as openly contemptuous of some senior members of the Obama administration….

    The article does not mention any serious policy differences with Mr. Obama, who chose General McChrystal to take charge of a major escalation of American troops and materiel, in hopes of reversing the deteriorating situation here.

    Still, the article seems destined to raise questions about General McChrystal’s judgment, and to spark debate over the wisdom of Mr. Obama’s strategy, at a time when violence in Afghanistan is rising sharply and when several central planks of the strategy appear to be stalled.

    There is a huge difference between Shinseki and McChrystal. The former was critical of Bush, the latter of Obama.

    Drawing that distinction is what’s called journalism.


    Update: Has Anyone — Including McChrystal — Actually Read The Rolling Stone Article?

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    I think the most enlightening fact of this whole episode is how the left wing of this country would place the entire Afghan War, and 90,000 young men and women, at risk just so their president could show the country that he wears the pants. I don't care if you call yourself a patriot. I don't care how many years you served or what your ORB says. If you think that canning GEN McChrystal, the man who ran the ball for GEN Petraeus in Iraq making victory possible, over comments he never made is an appropriate response for Obama then I'd say this President deserves advisors such as yourself.

    TrueBlue | June 23, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    go read the article and respond with a specific example of a quote attributed to GEN Stanley McChrystal that is contemptuous

    Come on, McChrystal's fingerprints were all over it.

    I do agree. The article does not have a specific quote (the biden one comes close). However, his aides outed him. Tough sh!t on him.

    As a 4-star general, he should not even allow that stuff in his inner circle, let alone condone it, which he clearly did. He came of as a perpetual adolescent. I agree that it absolutely sucks to change horses mid-stream, but, if you were Obama, what would you have done?

    There is a world of difference between the two.

    This sentence says it all: "There is a huge difference between Shinseki and McChrystal. The former was critical of Bush, the latter of Obama."

    I don't think "journalism" would mean only drawing that distinction.

    Perhaps being a non-hysterical blogger would mean Mr. Jacobson might be interested to note:

    1) Shinseki was providing his reasoned military advice to members of Congress about the conduct of an impending war. McChrystal was engaged in largely a vanity interview with an entertainment publication

    2) Shinseki was speaking before the war, McChrystal during the war. (Minor point, but Shinseki was speaking outside the theater of combat)

    3) Shinseki did not take petty pot shots at people with whom he was working, McChrystal did

    I greatly admire General McChrystal, but his remarks were beyond outrageous in this instance.

    I think think this post reflects Mr. Jacobson's tendency to see everything in terms of media bias and double standards and damages Mr. Jacobson's otherwise solid analyses. Here he is off the mark.

    **END: Unfortunately, this is going to be a long war. I think McChrystal got it right when he said about this slide "when we understand this slide we will have won the war" image here:

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