Was The Rolling Stone Article The Excuse, Not The Reason?
Gen. Stanley McChrystal was relieved of command in Afghanistan after an article in Rolling Stone magazine.
The article widely was described as evidencing McChrystal’s insubordination by criticizing the political leadership, but as I demonstrated, such explanation did not make a lot of sense. There were almost no comments attributed directly to McChrystal, and most of the sensational comments were by unnamed subordinates of McChrystal.
While McChrystal rightly could be criticized for allowing a reporter for Rolling Stone (who allegedly violated the ground rules of the relationship) to get so close, and perhaps for permitting an inappropriate atmosphere in his command, the scenario of the firing still made no sense to me.
Now the picture may be coming into focus, and the Rolling Stone article may have been the excuse Obama was looking for to fire McChrystal, not the reason.
At least that is what is alleged in an article in The Independent, which maintains that a devastating assessment by McChrystal of the bleak situation in Afghanistan precipitated McChrystal’s termination:
Sacked US General Stanley McChrystal issued a devastatingly critical assessment of the war against a “resilient and growing insurgency” just days before being forced out.
Using confidential military documents, copies of which have been seen by the IoS, the “runaway general” briefed defence ministers from Nato and the International security Assistance Force (Isaf) earlier this month, and warned them not to expect any progress in the next six months. During his presentation, he raised serious concerns over levels of security, violence, and corruption within the Afghan administration….
It was this briefing, according to informed sources, as much as the Rolling Stone article, which convinced Mr Obama to move against the former head of US Special Forces, as costs soar to $7bn a month and the body count rises to record levels, because it undermined the White House political team’s aim of pulling some troops out of Afghanistan in time for the US elections in 2012. In addition to being the result of some too-candid comments in a magazine article, the President’s decision to dispense with his commander was seen by the general’s supporters as a politically motivated culmination of their disagreements.
For most of his first year in office, Obama neglected Afghanistan and focused on passing the Democratic health care bill. Everything else took a back seat.
That neglect, about which I posted earlier, wasted precious time. During that first year, Obama also sent a message of weakness, both through his apology tours and the setting of an artificial withdrawal date.
If the account by The Independent is accurate, then Obama has put politics ahead of the war effort.
This is one of those “it better not be true” scenarios.
I Hope Rolling Stone Is Happy
Now They’re Just Starting to Ask Questions About Afghanistan?
A War Plan Designed By Committee
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Sadly, you are going to be right on this. Obama has no sense of connection to anyone but himself so he does not "get" the anguish his death dealing policies have on the soldiers and their parents. McChrystal was frustrated and a true warrior. I know where he is coming from. Been there, done that.
However McChrystal wasn't lying. Here is my photo essay of our current leadership.
The guy voted for Obama. He may have a good record, but he voted for the caliphate.
Sometimes when one tries all the open avenues to be heard and fails, desperation causes mistakes, or are they?
I haven't heard anyone compare this to Vietnam in years…. but an Army can not move forward with it's hands tied behind their backs.
But then, the Viet Cong didn't want to come to Cleveland and kill us either.
No one should compare the last war to the next for any other reason than tactical reference. Vietnam is not Iraq, Iraq is not Afghanistan. (which is where they are making the mistake here)
McChrystal committed the sin that he accused Jones of doing, living in the past. SF guys think that with enough time and money they can "secure and hold" land by winning over "hearts and minds." It was a theory they practiced in Vietnam with limited success.
But this isn't Vietnam. We aren't fighting communists. We are fighting a bunch of lightly organized tribes, each only worried about their own way of life. I have people over there and that is the consistent theme I hear coming back.
Everybody says that Afghanistan cannot be conquered. That is a lie. It has been conquered over and over and over. The trouble comes when you get it, you don't know what to do with it! It's like seizing a porta-potty. Now what? Do you make is a third bedroom, a foyer, a lawn ornament?
If the ore deposits are as big as they say, maybe that will cause the interest to peak and remain, short of that we are going to be playing "Whack a mole" for years. My buddy put it best when he said that we aren't fighting against the current generation of half retarded, ninth century, tribal members; but for the next generation of kids that don't know there is a better life outside the tribe.
That is a twenty to thirty year commitment. Even then, in the end we may be left with a somewhat better educated, poor, high desert land that looks like a porta-potty with some plants growing out of it, sitting in our front yard.
It is what it is.
I have no argument with Archer52. I believe that Obama owes the country a clear and rational explanation of his war aims and their projected benefit; as well as the cost of the alternative. I just realized that I typed "clear and rational". Oh well.
But, back to the McChrystal kerfuffle. I have felt since people actually started reading the RS article, and thereby putting the lie to the first hysterical pronouncements, that there were clearly differing options for the Regime. The whole thing could have been shrugged off; or it could be used as pretext for dumping McC. Clearly, they chose the latter. Why? I don't know; but I am confident that it was more complex (and sinister?) than what we have been told.
My 25 years of Navy service spanned the whole of Viet Nam. I really thought we would never get ourselves into another situation in which we were muddling along without a clear sense of purpose, led by political buffoons who were not committed, but couldn't figure how to lose without appearing to lose.
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