Obama's Truman-MacArthur Moment
Journalist Michael Hastings has given Rolling Stone magazine a graphic account of the arrogance, disarray and ineptitude that distinguish what passes for President Barack Obama’s policy on Afghanistan. For those of us with some gray in our hair, the fiasco is infuriatingly reminiscent of Vietnam.
In blowing off steam to Hastings, NATO/U.S. commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his top aides seem to have decided that, at this low point in the Afghanistan quagmire, political offense is the best defense for a military strategy sinking from waist to neck deep.
In interviews with Hastings, McChrystal and his team direct mockery at many senior-level officials of the Obama administration. For instance, one of McChrystal’s aides refers to Obama’s national security adviser James L. Jones as a “clown.”
Members of McChrystal’s inner circle also quote the general as saying he was “pretty disappointed” with an Oval Office meeting and describing Obama as “intimidated” by McChrystal and other generals.
Commenting on the controversy Tuesday, Obama said McChrystal and his team had shown “poor judgment” but the President added that he wanted to speak with McChrystal directly before making any decision on firing him.
Two administration officials who are spared harsh criticism from McChrystal’s team are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who were considered key supporters of McChrystal’s insistence last year that Obama boost U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan to about 100,000.
In praise for Clinton, one of McChrystal’s entourage told Hastings, “Hillary had Stan’s back during the [last fall’s] strategic review.” Another aide added, “She said, ‘If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.’”
As for Gates, McChrystal spared his boss from criticism perhaps still expecting support from the chameleon-like Pentagon chief, who will first want to check the surrounding foliage before selecting the best camouflage color.
However, in a statement on Tuesday, Gates said McChrystal had committed “a significant mistake” in the handling of the Rolling Stone interviews.
In Hastings’s exposure of the backbiting over policy in Afghanistan, the bottom line is best articulated by a predicate adjective beginning with the letter “f” and ending with “…ucked-up.”
Some variation of that vulgarism is used repeatedly by the macho McChrystal and his pseudo-macho staffers, whom Hastings interviewed at length.
Hastings’s copious quotes make it seem as if everyone but McChrystal and his merry men are responsible for the fecklessness on Afghanistan.
But their comments also betray a realization that their particular brand of can-do, cut-and-paste counterinsurgency has brought what Thomas Henry Huxley defined as tragedy; namely, “the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.”
Defeat in Afghanistan
Anyone who hasn't read Dereliction of Duty should do so now. So many Vietnam comparisons start to sound trite, but Afghanistan truly is becoming Vietnam due to its vague objectives and manipulative domestic politics. Wars are more often lost because of poor political leadership, not the military's fighting ability.
Then the question must be asked
When will Obama have that enlightened moment that LBJ had.
The one where he knew he would not, and could not run again.
Perhaps after Kandahar.
So you think Barry's about to have his Harry (Truman) moment? I'm not sayin', just askin'...
Yeah, the arrogance, disarray and ineptitude in the Obama White House is pretty disgusting.
Obama is no Truman:
Harry Truman was no effete metrosexual unfamiliar with basic military terms. He was a combat veteran of WW I, serving as an artillary Captain in France.
Having said that, the president is perfectly in his rights to fire the general. Hopefully, the American people will wake up to the travesty that is Obama's Afghanistan policy.
Shit or get off the pot, Mr. President!
VIG: Mc Chrystal is no MacArthur. Mac Arthur was an American icon.
Mc Chrystal does not set policy.
Obama's decision will be a political one. Not one based on strategy. Obama has not shown that he wants to leave Afghanistan. On the contrary. The withdrawal plan for 2011 is bull shit, and we all know that.
Kandahar will be the pivot point, not Mc Chrystal. Personally, yes I do believe he will fire him. The hawks will start swarming over that. Will Obama get the 33 Billion that he wants?
Lets stop with the Truman-MacArthur references...
Obama is no Truman and McCrystal couldn't hold a candle to MacArthur.
MacArthur was fighting Truman over military strategy...McCrystal was gossiping and whining like a damn teenage girl.
If McCrystal represents the best of the best then we need to pull out of Afghanistan and cut the military budget in half...
When the generals who are directly responsible for a war have time to give interviews to Rolling Stone and have a public relations advisor on their staff then this crap has to stop...
If the military had any sense then the joint chiefs should have court martialed the little sack of shit...
So you fucked up a war and then go and decide to piss on everyone else in an interview...
Real character there....and really a disgrace to everything that the military attempts to sell themselves as...
Pack it up, bring them home, and let the generals show off by having annual parades...
Well TAO, you've shown yourself as another commentator who's never been in the military.
Any veteran will tell you that the banter the Rolling Stone reporter recorded a quite common. To think otherwise is naive.
Their mistake was letting the enemy in the tent. THAT is what causes me to question General McChrystal's judgment.
You are also no judge of military capability. McChrystal's military skills put Mac's to shame.
As for the derogatory references to McChrystal, give it up. He could kick both of your asses, so stop with the pussy bullshit talk about "little sack of shit."
Did you just get done watching Platoon?
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