Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Firing McChrystal Is Not Enough

Firing McChrystal Is Not Enough

by Tom Andrews

It's not enough to fire General McChrystal for his latest public act of insubordination. It's time to fire the entire Afghanistan strategy. How can Congress possibly appropriate an additional $33 billion to a General who does not believe in the mission, the Commander-in-Chief or the administration officials he so obviously holds in contempt? The answer is obvious: it can't.

Obama & McChrystalThere are two possible explanations for this latest McChrystal rip at the Obama administration in the soon-to-be-released issue of Rolling Stone: either he is out of control, cracking under the pressure of a failure with his name all over it, or he has decided he needs to engage in a new round of media manipulation to weaken the hands of the administration figures he disdains and blames for setbacks to his strategy. Either way, the President needs to fire McChrystal now. But he also needs to recognize that this latest debacle is further evidence that it is time to fundamentally change course. If he is unwilling to do so, Congress needs to say "no" to the administration's $33 billion Supplemental Appropriation request when it hits the floor of the House this week or next.

McChrystal's closest advisors speak openly in the article that they do not believe the war in Afghanistan is winnable. Here is how McChrystal's Chief of Operations told Rolling Stone's Michael Hastings that the war in Afghanistan is going to end: "'It's not going to look like a win, smell like a win or taste like a win' said Major General Bill Mayville, 'This is going to end in an argument.'"

As Hastings writes: "So far, counterinsurgency has succeeded only in creating a never-ending demand for the primary product supplied by the military: perpetual war." And that is what key figures in the military have in mind, notwithstanding the president's commitment to begin withdrawing US troops in July of next year. According to a senior military official in Kabul: "There is a possibility that we could ask for another surge of US forces next summer if we see success here."

Another surge? Without a clear exit strategy from Afghanistan - and 96 Members of Congress are demanding one by co-sponsoring legislation sponsored by Jim McGovern in the House - senior military leaders are conducting operations in Afghanistan as if escalation, not withdrawal, could very well be in the cards. And why not? McChrystal backed the administration down before, why not again?

McChrystal began his campaign of public pressure on the Obama administration by leaking his demand for 40,000 additional troops to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post when President Obama was reviewing his war policy. Then there was the public repudiation of Vice President Biden and his preferred strategy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. When asked if he could support a presidential decision to rely on a counterterrorism approach to defeating al Qaeda in Afghanistan, as Vice President Biden advocated, McChrystal replied "The short, glib answer is no."

McChrystal publicly threatened insubordination if the Obama administration did not toe the line and give him exactly what he was demanding. It worked: he not only kept his job, he got everything that he wanted.

Where has McChrystal's strategy led us? What he once described as a "model" operation in Marja, General McChrystal now describes as "a bleeding ulcer." The Pentagon's latest quarterly report to Congress on the war confirms that the insurgency in Afghanistan is expanding its operations and increasing in sophistication. Efforts to strengthen the Afghan National Army have been stymied by "high attrition and low retention" of recruits. Meanwhile, according to the Pentagon report, the insurgency has a steady and growing supply of fighters: "A ready supply of recruits is drawn from a frustrated population where insurgents exploit poverty, tribal friction and a lack of governance to grow their ranks."

McChrystal has become increasingly worried about the consequences of Americans paying attention to the failing war. A Senior Advisor to McChrystal told Rolling Stone, "If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular."


Congress needs to pay attention. They can start by heeding the advice of Andrew Wilder of Tufts University, who told Hastings that handing over the cash McChrystal wants for his failing operation in Afghanistan will only make things worse: "Throwing money at the problem only exacerbates the problem."

It's time to stop the manipulation, the insubordination and the military dreams of endless war in Afghanistan. Fire McChrystal and then fire the strategy.


jadedj said...

What would Harry Truman have done? Rhetorical question that.

Sue said...

we can only hope, that is all we have at this point. This fuckin war is now one month longer than Vietnam.....If Obama does not end this war before his first term is up I will NOT vote for him and hope a real progressive runs against him...

Tao Dao Man said...

"You are remembered for the rules you break."
Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur.

It is not just Mc Chrystal and his mouth. It seems most of his staff have a mind set that this can not be won.
In sales one has to believe in the product you sell.
Same goes for war.
Mc Chrystal is no MacArthur. This is more of a redux of Westmoreland, and LBJ.
I do not really care what he thinks of Biden, or Obama.
I want to know what he thinks about the Afghan people. One can only imagine what a black/ops specialist thinks. Pat Tillman's mom wrote Obama a letter warning him, about Mc Chrystal and his promotion.
Remember it was Mc Chrystal who was in the middle of the Pat Tillman killing.

Tao Dao Man said...

I guess you will not be voting for Obama then in 2012.
Do not be shocked if the republican candidate in 2012 comes out against this war.

jadedj said...

Sue these are shocking words coming from you...but, I am in total agreement, Obama better get his shit together on this one.

Tao Dao Man said...

Here is my take on the die hard Obama supporters.

Blind Faith was a rock group.
Now it is the dems last salvation.
They absolutely refuse to hold his puppet strings to the fire.
Because he is a dem.
Israel shot an American citizen 4 times. Once in the back of the head [execution style].
And Obama does not say one fucking word.
Shame on Obama and the dems that do not speak up.

jadedj said...

You are absolutely correct. I can't argue with one word of it.

James Gundun said...

Hate to bear bad news, but McChrystal isn't going anywhere. Washington pressure to fire him is public relations 101; he isn't going anywhere and neither is Obama's surge. They're past the point of no return. Now the war will go poorly, but that won't be enough to end up. Rather, more cause to escalate.

I'm expecting another PR spectacle where the White House scolds him, then turns around and claims every issue has been resolved - without any change to US strategy. Also expecting more leaks from the Pentagon if the White House tries to make a scapegoat out of McChrystal.

Will make the war that much harder to control, though Obama doesn't have any to begin with.

Tao Dao Man said...

JG: Obama must, and will fire him. They can not turn the page on this one.

Have you seen this?

Sue said...

I try really hard not to be one of those democrats who condemn the president. But when it comes to these wars I am not giving Obama an inch, A real progressive like my last post on Alan Grayson, is who I will vote for. Yes I do say some things on my blog about Obama and my support for his 2 terms, but here I can express my anger a little more. Thanks RZ! you too JJ!

James Gundun said...

Who will replace him? It doesn't make any difference. If Obama is going to fire McChrystal he should also order an immediate withdrawal. Otherwise he's just turning McChrystal into a scapegoat for the White House's own mistakes. It smells like a set up too. Something doesn't feel right.

Tao Dao Man said...

JG: I was also thinking the same thing. Timing is everything. I think the set up that you are smelling is this.
We must be down wind from Kandahar.:-)
Kandahar must still be answered.
Plus there is the new wikileak tape that is suppose to break any day. I think it will break right before they vote on the extra 33 Billion.