Beltway Bloviator Control Of The Military

Via Yglesias, Benjamin Friedman is pretty funny:

Michael OíHanlon [. . .] is for generals respecting the presidentís policy decisions, except when he isnít ó cases where the general is obviously right, in that he agrees with OíHanlon. (To me, this McChrystal incident shows the robustness of civilian control. McChrystal spoke too freely and got rebuked. The Republic seems OK. So does the Army.)

I am for generals respecting the President's policy decisions in all cases, even when the generals agree with me, as General McChrystal does on Afghanistan.

Speaking for me only

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    I keep thinking (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Steve M on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:28:31 PM EST
    about the war in Iraq, and the disastrous post-war period, and what I wish we had known from the dissenters, and what I wish they had said publicly.

    And I think these are very difficult issues, but when I try to think about how things ought to work without reference to any particular war or any particular administration, I have this nagging feeling that "STFU and do as the Commander-in-Chief tells you" probably isn't the optimal solution.  Not for this country, anyway.

    How about resigning and protesting? (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:44:35 PM EST
    People do not resign enough in the US.

    Perhaps (none / 0) (#34)
    by cawaltz on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:00:23 PM EST
    he feels that he can have more influence and impact from the inside. Flipside, if he's that disrespectful then why hasn't he been fired?

    He'll play until he's had enough (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:18:53 PM EST
    We saw it about a jillion times in Iraq.  The generals would go for as long as they could take it, and then they left.  It will be the same thing here.  I did just hear from my husband though via phone. They have been doing nothing except eating, sleeping, and working.  They had no idea of any of this going down yet.  They have had a very good 24 hours though and sound so strong and brave.  He was laughing at the military theatrics of Jones and McCain, and said that I hopelessly wish to instruct people who don't wish to be instructed, but it makes me cute.

    But you can bet (none / 0) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:20:55 PM EST
    That when he does quit the Wingers are going to be all over him....demanding testimony....it'll be completely different than when Generals quit Bush, and Libs and Dems all ran to the bathroom to touch up their makeup.

    Do you see Petreaus as a viable (none / 0) (#46)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:22:58 PM EST
    GOP pres. candidate?

    Yes, absolutely (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:34:54 PM EST
    He fears no bureaucracy, climbs ladders like he's a primate or something, and probably won't try to steal from the Army of One slogan and turn anyone off :)  If McChrystal has to quit, he doesn't have much reason to not retire in a year.  They are on absolutely the same page.  McChrystal is literally a sort of protege and they will have been told to take their ball and get the fluck out cuz Kissinger is running this show now.

    "Cute"? Probably only dares (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:26:58 PM EST
    say that when he is there and you are here!  Does he read TL?

    Never (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:38:11 PM EST
    Reading about politics through blogs and comments, it just po's him.  I guess listening to me is more fun.  But man he gets into some "discussions" at work with wingers that will melt your hair and the whole office.  At his going away party they said he would be very missed at work, and all the loud discussions that he gets involved in :)

    A good friend who disdains blogs (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:48:12 PM EST
    forwarded me a link to Salon.com this morning!  

    Look where that got Sarah Palin. (none / 0) (#35)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:00:42 PM EST
    Friggin best seller (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:39:31 PM EST
    and you can't even buy it yet.  WTF?  The Twilight crowd is out of reading material I guess.

    Well at least not on the NYT Best (none / 0) (#67)
    by sallywally on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 07:11:46 PM EST
    Seller list yet.

    I swear that Bill Maher says that somehow (none / 0) (#69)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 09:07:39 PM EST
    it is already on some best seller list.

    You can purchase it (none / 0) (#81)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 11:45:22 PM EST
    in advance on Amazon. It has sold over a million copies and even isn't in print yet.

    Goes to show you that there are a lot of pi$sed off Joe and Jane Six Packs out there.


    More likely it shows a lot of conservative (none / 0) (#83)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 07:04:08 AM EST
    foundation purchases. this hasbeen the MO in the past for many 'bestsellers.'

    Yeah, Amazon is such a (none / 0) (#86)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 07:41:45 AM EST
    Right Wing organization.

    And the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, when they're not picking on Van Jones, Clinton and Obama are getting on the Internet and buying Palin's book.


    You're entitled to your own opinions, but (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:05:27 AM EST
    not your own facts.

    This is the number one pre-order on Amazon. Just for context, Michale Jackson is number nine.
    pre-order doesn't mean best seller.

    The conservative foundations, such as (at least before a change of direction) the Scaife Foundations, Heritage, the Bradley Foundations and others buy thousands of conservative books. Why? two manifest reasons: to use as gifts to recruit members; and to pump up placement on lists.

    Over the top claims of people looking for conspiracies certainly isn't fact-driven. Check out this article from June 'huffpo'.

    Yet another unrelated reason for buying this work might just be to see what she has to say. Loose cannons are interesting. Purchase does not equal support.

    Of course there are a few members of society who do support Palin. Society also has plenty of flat-earhters and Illuminati-believers as well. there are even people who think shopping at Whole Foods is prudent and supports the environment.


    That will be Madame President (none / 0) (#117)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 04:25:29 PM EST
    to you come 2012. And a million preseller is huge, especially if it is a political book.



    That will be Madame President (none / 0) (#118)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 04:25:57 PM EST
    to you come 2012. And a million presold is huge, especially if it is a political book.



    hehe (1.00 / 1) (#119)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 04:28:31 PM EST
    So you introduce something that has nothing to do with Palin.

    Nice try at refarming.

    And didn't you know that the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy has taken over Amazon?

    Zounds! You are really out of touch!


    Uh. the comment was about (none / 0) (#132)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 09:45:46 PM EST
    Palin's book sales.

    You tried to reframe it into something about law suits by other people.

    And I pointed that out.

    That is all.



    More like Joe and Jane six-hoods (none / 0) (#120)
    by jondee on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 04:30:42 PM EST
    sheets included.

    Still playing the race card, eh? (2.00 / 0) (#133)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 09:46:32 PM EST
    Actually, there are (none / 0) (#141)
    by Inspector Gadget on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 08:36:43 PM EST
    numerous articles stating that her book is a best seller before release.

    And we aren't even out of Iraq yet (none / 0) (#22)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:39:49 PM EST
    And we are setting up Afghanistan to go the same way if all we do is think we can bomb our problems away.  That is exactly how the Bush administration started Iraq off.  They have to put boots on the ground or we have to leave.  This small forces pounding bombs on people almost burned Iraq to the ground before it was turned over to Petraeus and McChrystal.  And that's the reason why McChrystal won't do it...he had to try to fix what it did once.

    Here we go again (none / 0) (#1)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 03:18:52 PM EST
    Obama is doing the same thing with his war strategy that he did with HCR. He's sitting back and letting everyone else shape policy.

    He's had a year to get this together with his staff. He also had a year of campaigning where he could have developed a strategy.

    By allowing the media the generals and Republican's imput to dictate policy, he's opening the door for another fiasco.

    I completely agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:31:55 PM EST
    But you can't do that with wars. I understand that this is how he operates his WHOLE life, and we experience the "process".  But we all have a tax deadline of April 15th.  He has to have the ability and confidence to just step up and do one thing hiding someplace in there.  He already bought this war, now he's just negotiating whether or not it's a success or a failure.  And he is dealing with an EXHAUSTED military.  His military didn't just reset itself when he took office.

    He shouldn't be doing it with anything (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by cawaltz on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:33:13 PM EST
    He seems to want to lead by committee. While that works fine in legislature where you are supposed to work collectively, it's a horrible way for an executive to lead. Someone ultimately has to be responsible for decision making and waiting for plurality consensus(particularly when your opponent has everything to gain from stalling the process)is an absurd approach to executive decision making.

    Surprise! Obama is searching for (none / 0) (#84)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 07:16:09 AM EST
    Middle Ground in Afghanistan.

    WASHINGTON -- President Obama told Congressional leaders on Tuesday that he would not substantially reduce American forces in Afghanistan or shift the mission to just hunting terrorists there, but he indicated that he remained undecided about the major troop buildup proposed by his commanding general.

    Meeting with leaders from both parties at the White House, Mr. Obama seemed to be searching for some sort of middle ground, saying he wanted to "dispense with the straw man argument that this is about either doubling down or leaving Afghanistan," as White House officials later described his remarks. link

    Yeah, isn't it great? (none / 0) (#98)
    by Anne on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 09:11:07 AM EST
    I posted this in the open thread, not thinking that this might be the better place for it.

    And the question I asked was, but what if middle ground isn't how this kind of problem gets solved?

    I can't help but think that while it is a good thing to be able to see all sides of an issue, it just seems to me that without core beliefs, one becomes paralyzed by all the options and unable to commit to a position or make a decision.

    Sure, people will say that Bush was decisive, but he made the wrong decisions.  But they weren't the wrong decisions for him - he knew where he stood on the issues.  What I have worried about from the beginning - and by "beginning" I mean way back during the primaries - was that Obama didn't have enough substance, was so intent on being all things to all people, that he would be incapable of being decisive and would always choose the mushiest position possible .

    Or go with whatever the last guy decided.

    And since the last guy was Bush, we're right back to being subject to decisions we didn't agree with then, on a number of issues, and this has not been good for us or the country and has entrenched and legitimized the policies and the power in the executive branch - and we still have not solved that pesky oversight thing.  

    And Obama's okay with that.  Is it the power he likes or the policy?  

    Regardless, I just do not see how his tendency to seek the middle on everything is going to help us in Afghanistan.  Or anything else, for that matter.


    Agree with your description (none / 0) (#111)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 11:59:53 AM EST
    Obama seems unwilling or incapable of making hard decisions. A bystander, sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see how things shake out without him getting involved.

    Not the kind of leadership this country can afford at this point in time.  One of the many reasons why I did not support Obama.


    Gates told him to cool it (none / 0) (#2)
    by Saul on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 03:20:35 PM EST
    No more public opinions especially  if they are not in lock step with the president's plan.

    But can anyone tell me how you win in Afghanistan?
    Seems to me you would need a super force of troops just to cover the terrain.  Maybe like 500,000.  How much blood and treasure is the U.S willing to sacrifice for eradicating the Taliban?  Seems to me you will have to be there forever, like Korea if you want to be absolutely sure of ridding the Taliban and then that is questionable.

    What will it (none / 0) (#5)
    by Emma on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 03:45:25 PM EST
    take to deny the Taliban and/or Al Qaeda Afghanistan/Pakistan as a safe and effective haven for training terrorists*, launching terrorist attacks, and establishing fundamentalist Islamic states?

    That's the measure of success in Afghanistan, IMO.  Not whether we control Afghanistan or eradicate the Taliban or Al Qaeda.


    without addressing the root (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Illiope on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 03:57:13 PM EST
    without addressing the root cause of terrorism, and the conditions that lead people to join militant extremist organizations, any military strategy will only lead to more terrorism, imo.

    It will take eradication (none / 0) (#10)
    by Saul on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:02:02 PM EST
    As long as they are in Afghanistan they will be  a problem in Pakistan

    Unless the Taliban have an epiphany and change their ways.


    Valid comments/critiques (none / 0) (#36)
    by Emma on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:02:49 PM EST
    by you and Illiope.  They are the unsolvable problems of fighting an insurgency, I think.

    Considering the Taliban gained control (none / 0) (#38)
    by cawaltz on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:11:19 PM EST
    of Afghanistan through Pakistan it appears it would be the other way around.

    This is what General McChrystal has (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:16:41 PM EST
    said indicates a "win"

    "Clearly in counterinsurgency one of your priorities is protecting the population and success is going to be reached when the population sides conclusively, firmly, with the government as opposed to the insurgents or being in a fence-sitting mode. If you've got to protect the population you've got to be interacting with, providing assistance to the population and to the government."

    "Winning the campaign means the government has earned the support of the people. the people have chosen the government over the insurgents. That's a definition of success. So part of the counterinsurgency campaign has got to be fulfilling the capacity of the government so it can provide services and protection to the populace, as well as building the credibility of the government."

    We don't know what President Obama considers job done.


    Maybe McChrystal's (none / 0) (#19)
    by Emma on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:29:13 PM EST
    right.  Maybe "hearts and minds" will work.  It didn't work in Viet Nam, but what the hey.

    What I meant was:  enough of a military presence, conducting attacks, raids, bombings, patrols, etc., so that Al Qaeda/Taliban won't have the space and time to organize, train, and create networks and operations.

    Of course, I don't know what it would take to achieve that level of disruption, or if providing lots of American targets in Afghanistan will effectively end the exportation of terrorism.  

    Maybe getting the majority of Afghanis on the side of America and against Al Qaeda/Taliban will be an important strategy.  I just don't see it.  How does one get a majority of a country's population to side with the invaders and against a portion of the country's population?


    We aren't winning hearts and minds (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:35:57 PM EST
    nobody knows this better than McChrystal and almost nobody outside of Petraeus or McChrystal or JSOC understands that these people have their own hearts and minds and have been terrorized literally TO DEATHS by the Taliban.  Afghanistan has had a functioning government in the past though.  The only thing this General wants is to give it back to them so they can take care of their own damn thug problems.  This isn't about domino theory.  Talk about worn out rhetoric!

    My biggest question is (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by cawaltz on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:19:16 PM EST
    do we have the resources to do this right though? As you yourself have pointed out we are dealing with a military that has been run ragged, and a budget problem that only gets worse the more we pour resources into Afghanistan.

    The whole entire situation just makes me sad. Bush botched this and now we have Obama trying to go back and correct it. Unfortunately rewriting history doesn't always work out well.


    I honestly don't know (none / 0) (#47)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:23:53 PM EST
    I don't know if we have the manpower or we can drum it up.  I know McChrystal has really been working NATO over trying to get more troops committed too.  I don't know if we have what it takes and probably the only people who could look at that seriously is CentCom....Petraeus.  But he can't say anything that the President doesn't want to be said.

    Can't and won't (none / 0) (#61)
    by cawaltz on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 06:11:28 PM EST
    are two different animals. You know that already though. :P  Here's to hoping that Petraeus understands that if they adopt a losing strategy then any political ambitions he has are likely to go bye bye.

    He needs to be very careful about rubberstamping policy because politics dictate it and go with what he hears from people in the field.


    Does McC want to "give it back" to (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:41:28 PM EST
    Karzai and his drug-kingpin brother?

    I don't think we are looking for purity here (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:50:22 PM EST
    McChrystal acknowledges that the government is corrupt at this time to the point that it cannot work.  If we want a real election though we are back to that "boots on the ground" again.  They are trying to sort out how much cheating took place.  They are trying to come up with something valid, but McChrystal knows that the existing government is too corrupt to support the country.  I don't think he worries about Karzai that much right now.  He'd like to provide safety to the people first.  He goes out and talks to the people.  Something I can promise you Jones never thought of lowering himself to doing in his LIFE!  He was recently reported as very troubled when an older village gentleman asked him if they were going to leave his village again unprotected.  McChrystal told him he had no plans of that taking place but the guy told him that he was told that before and then the troops left them and left them in danger again.

    Sounds like (none / 0) (#24)
    by Emma on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:42:58 PM EST
    "hearts and minds", to me.  I'm not the one responsible for the worn out rhetoric.  I'm just telling you what the rhetoric sounds like to me.

    I'm not going to respond to you anymore (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:50:53 PM EST
    Fine (none / 0) (#32)
    by Emma on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:59:15 PM EST
    Okay with me.

    Re: "hearts and minds" meme (none / 0) (#85)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 07:33:00 AM EST
    If you read the unclassified version of McC's report, he specifically wants to move away from a "hears and minds" approach to what appears to be a partnering approach. He and his staff recognized the need for change. Community building and trust building (combined with an increased helping presence-- police, civil affairs, nonmilitary expertise) are far from 'hearts and minds.'

    I'm willing to bet, although this part was redacted or was never mentioned, that he wants a substantial increase in the civil affairs brigades.


    Afghans do not want American troops to leave (none / 0) (#89)
    by star on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:20:20 AM EST
    Afghans are not considering Americans as invaders. thats the OTHER war. here they want and support americans mostly. they know the consequences if americans leave them to Taliban..
    we are there , can make a difference, and should eliminate and break the back of taliban and al-queda infrastructure.. both from Afganistan and pakistan. Otherwise all the brave sacrifices over the last 8 years will be in vain .

    Well, (none / 0) (#37)
    by Emma on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:06:23 PM EST
    the AP reports that:

    President Barack Obama said Tuesday that al-Qaida has "lost operational capacity" after a series of military setbacks and vowed to continue the battle to cripple the terror organization.

    Sounds like he wants the same thing McChrystal wants, then.  But how to achieve it?  Lots of ideas about that, I guess.


    Wanting the same thing (none / 0) (#63)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 06:46:36 PM EST
    has nothing to do with wanting the same strategy to get the same thing.

    If we assume Obama wants to win in Afghanistan he should turn the strategy bit over to McC and P. If he disagrees with them, say so and appoint someone else to develop a strategy he likes.


    Yeah (none / 0) (#66)
    by Emma on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 07:09:37 PM EST
    I think I said this already.

    Wanting the same thing has nothing to do with wanting the same strategy to get the same thing.

    I don't know why Obama (none / 0) (#70)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 09:16:59 PM EST
    wants to fix something that isn't broken.  I actually went to a live Wes Clark blogging once to ask him what the hell I was supposed to do to survive Iraq deployments because they were hell. He gave me this wonderful buck up patriotic talk.  I really just wanted to reach through the computer and choke him.  You know the talk though, we all needed to do our best to stay in the game because we were very very needed...we needed to stay in the mission.  Then Petraeus showed up.  I was so tired.  I thought he was a punk too.  I read what there was of his thesis and pronounced it an over simplification.  And of course it was because every culture is not the same.  But you know what, it all began working, Iraq stopped being on fire with streets full of dead bodies after kidnappings.  We got to point where we could make things safer for everyone and much saner.  Now we just need to withdraw.  Then McChrystal heads into Afghanistan when it is destabilized crazy failing mess.  He begins to rectify things....but now we are going to go with something completely different after the hell we have come through.  We actually have a couple of guys with a strategy that beats anything else we have done and leads to some sanity so that we can leave without having burned everything down.  But that isn't what Obama wants to go for.  In fact, he wants to do something that has already failed us once in a tribal country in the same area of the world.

    Obama is a (1.00 / 1) (#80)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 11:41:21 PM EST
    narcissist. Everything must revolve around him. So I just don't see him agreeing to use someone else's strategies because he cannot share the spotlight,

    MT, Iraq may be more stable now, (none / 0) (#73)
    by caseyOR on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 09:28:27 PM EST
    but I am convinced that once we are gone the whole place will disintegrate. At best, I think we just put off the inevitable.

    It will never be what we want it to be (5.00 / 0) (#75)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 09:36:29 PM EST
    because it isn't our country.  And it always had an undercurrent of violence in its politics.  There will be a void of power as we leave.  It won't go perfectly when that is filled.  We have decreased the chances and size of the bloodbath though.

    Totally agree (5.00 / 1) (#91)
    by star on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:27:21 AM EST
    'It will never be what we want it to be'

    nor it need to be. every fledgling democracy will have difficulties. I am from India and our history went through a horrendous partition and 3 wars in its 60 yrs young democracy. so that is to be expected. but I think our people in Iraq have ironed out a good deal of the process and now it is up to Iraquis to make the most of a post saddam era in their country. Obama is in the right place at the right time to withdraw from Iraq thanks to some good strategy and our Military men and women implemeting it gloriously.


    o'hanlon (none / 0) (#3)
    by Illiope on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 03:35:18 PM EST
    michael o'hanlon is one of the scads of media whores who needs his microphone shoved firmly up his tight ass.

    a blast from the inglorious past--o'hanlon on iraq, circa 2003:

    Saddam is not eliminating his banned weapons of mass destruction voluntarily, and hence we soon will need to lead a military coalition to do the job ourselves. The case is that simple.

    In taking this basic approach, Mr. Bush heeded the counsel of multilateralists, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, the elder President Bush, Brent Scowcroft, James Baker, Tony Blair and many Democrats. It is now time for multilateralists to support the president.

    o'hanlon supports the president when the president wants to escalate any conflict, and sides with the generals if not.

    o'hanlon seems to have serious issues with the idea of a civilian-led military (he, along with his imperialist sock monkeys)

    Different war. But view from those boots (none / 0) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 03:43:03 PM EST
    on the ground re surge in Iraq:  NYT book review

    I'm for ignored Generals (none / 0) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 03:56:25 PM EST
    seeking the need to be rebuked when they can't even get a President's day time phone number to request the sitdown that the President has been dodging for a month.  I'm also for Generals quitting when Presidents tell them that the easiest political solution is to just bomb everyone so that's what we are going to do.  I would tell him that he needed to get a new General too.  And it was pretty funny when McCain had to get on the floor of the Senate and tell everyone that James Jones was allowing politics to influence military decisions.  This allowing politics to influence military decisions is the reason that Jones gave for retiring and not stepping up to command of CentCom when Abizaid left.  Jones got almost nothing done in Afghanistan either when it was his responsibility and when you listen to him talk about how Afghanistan needs the "rule of law" he couldn't sound any stupider about Pashtunwali than he really is.  I don't know how you can be in charge of Afghanistan for as long as Jones was and fail to respond whatsoever to the existence of the oligarch code of ethics that we will never just throw out cuz we want to.  Talk about a Jarhead!  But Jones is a playa Jarhead now who sits on the board of Chevron and Boeing when he's not running around spouting proudly to everyone who will listen that he answers to Kissinger now.  Beltway Bloviator control of the military indeed.

    I just knew this post would you bring (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 03:59:03 PM EST
    you out to play.

    He did too (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:02:01 PM EST
    He missed me this morning.

    I always miss you (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:05:33 PM EST
    But this morning, I was in court.

    Its okay (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:19:05 PM EST
    I was reading up on Jones :)

    Sen. Webb calls McChrystal's public (none / 0) (#11)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:02:52 PM EST
    statements odd.

    Webb, a veteran and former secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, chided the commander of troops in Afghanistan for having traveled to London to make a speech and having given an interview to "60 Minutes" while President Barack Obama weighs how to proceed in that country.

    "At a time when people were meeting in the White House discussing Afghanistan, he was giving a speech in London," Webb said during an interview on MSNBC. "I thought that was pretty odd."
    The Hill

    Why would Webb say this (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:06:39 PM EST
    when everthing that General McChrystal was doing was cleared by the Pentagon?  Webb knows this is how it works too.  Is he trying to point out that everyone BUT McChrystal was invited to the White House to discuss Afghanistan?

    Sounds to me that Webb thinks (none / 0) (#16)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:21:20 PM EST
    that McChrystal stepped over the "chain of command" (or whatever it is called) line in some of his public actions/statements.

    It's pretty much a case of darned if you do (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by cawaltz on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:54:13 PM EST
    and darned if you don't if you sit at top of the food chain. If you say nothing when you have strong convictions against or for a policy you risk looking like someone who is a suck up more concerned with politics then actual policy. If you say something then you look like a disloyal and disrespectful putz who doesn't respect the CiC. I am willing to give McChrystal some leeway. I'm hoping that someone who reached the rank of General understands that his first step was to reach out to the President before putting his ideas out in the court of public opinion. If not, then geez some Congresspeople really dropped the ball in promoting him.

    I think I agree with BTD on this (none / 0) (#48)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:25:07 PM EST
    I think that he should have argued his case with the president. If he has strong convictions against the policy when adopted, he should resign in protest and take his case to the court of public opinion.

    How can you present anything to someone who (none / 0) (#52)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:28:39 PM EST
    refuses to take your calls?

    It's quite possible he did (none / 0) (#57)
    by cawaltz on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:43:21 PM EST
    and the President didn't agree with his position. Based on temperament and history I'd be more inclined to believe Obama is playing politics then McChrystal. I don't think it is likely to have escaped the President or Rahm's notice that public opinion is turning against Afghanistan and wondering how much of our country's resources are going to be poured into a place where we don't live while millions here go without jobs or health care.

    Resigning would mean giving up an inside edge on convincing others within the infrastructure to adopt your position. The military is an insulated community and he would be giving up access to a valuable resource if he's committed to his viewpoint(other military members).


    The Pentagon has been playing (none / 0) (#58)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:46:00 PM EST
    politics in this....McChrystal is part of that organization.

    But Obama has been deliberately (none / 0) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:46:34 PM EST
    ignoring them.

    I think its a little of both (none / 0) (#62)
    by cawaltz on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 06:20:17 PM EST
    to pardon the pun the Defense department is playing defense. I don't believe they are unaware that the public opinion on Afghanistan is shifting and that they will need to fight to keep their resources and argue for more. Particularly when budgets are going to be bones of contention for the next couple of years.

    Approximate cost of wars per month (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by MO Blue on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 07:05:15 PM EST
    The appropriated cost is around $10 billion a month link

    The costs will increase as we increase troop levels. We can't afford health care, we can't afford to create jobs, we can't afford to develop new technologies or fix our failing infrastructures. The states are going broke and cutting services in all areas including education. My friend, a teacher, has 30 kindergarten and 1st graders in classes in a deprived school district.

    The U.S. can't afford to invest in people but we seem to have unlimited funds for never ending wars.


    Bush got his money for his troops (none / 0) (#71)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 09:20:12 PM EST
    Nobody was going to cut the funding for the troops.  Every Democrat signed onto the Petraeus plan in Iraq.  This is the same plan only everything we do now is legal too.

    We're talking about needed increases (none / 0) (#139)
    by cawaltz on Thu Oct 08, 2009 at 07:57:11 AM EST
    since he'd be increasing troop levels there would need to be increased funding.

    Well he has to indicate something (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:26:43 PM EST
    like that or he really shouldn't open and speak out of his otherwise big fat two sided mouth here :)  You obviously have never had to tell someone who outranks you that they effed up, by using a compliment :)

    Funny how Gates (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:45:20 PM EST
    criticized him too. You folks need to stop with the false "Pentagon cleared it" line.

    You missed what Spence reported then (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:52:53 PM EST
    cuz Spence makes it very clear that everyone acknowledges that General McChrystal was cleared for everywhere he went and everything he said.  The press is who made up this rift thing.

    Pelosi is critizing McC too, and, as we (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:00:12 PM EST
    all know, she knows lots of stuff to which we will never ever be privy.

    She knows lots (none / 0) (#39)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:12:36 PM EST
    But that doesn't mean she responds properly to what she knows.  We know that she knew they were torturing people too but she just carried on smiling, and she will admit nothing.  She doesn't want an escalation in Afghanistan, and I'm fine with that so long as we leave then.  Come to think of it, she knew they were torturing people and she walked around with a smile on her face every day.....so just bombing villages that had a couple of troublemakers in them would be fine with her, so long as she doesn't have a bad hair day.

    Ouch. She doesn't like to hear too (none / 0) (#40)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:15:49 PM EST
    much from the peace faction either.  Remember those sofas on the sidewalk outside her home?

    She's one of the signers though (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:25:55 PM EST
    of the NO ESCALATION petition in the House.  She's a big signer.

    She only knows what the (none / 0) (#64)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 06:49:35 PM EST
    CIA doesn't tell her.



    Whether he represents a group (none / 0) (#79)
    by prittfumes on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 10:43:01 PM EST
    or is acting alone (which I doubt), General McChrystal has deliberately challenged the president. So the General probably is not worried about consequences. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall when McChrystal was summoned to AF1 in Copenhagen.

    Michael O'Hanlon, if he had any sense of decency, (none / 0) (#27)
    by KeysDan on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 04:46:31 PM EST
    would switch his interests to ribbon clerking or something that has less potential to damage the national interests. You would think that with his track record (along with his customary and faithful companion, Ken Pollack) on Iraq that rivals that of William Kristol he would be keeping his head down on Afghanistan.  O'Hanlon's "analysis" based on his on-site reviews ('A War We Just Might Win, July 30, 2007, NYT op ed) have the inside scoop and authenticity we have come to appreciate from Tom Friedman's cab drivers. His September l, 2009 epic in the WSJ on Afghanistan, at once, gives and takes away--Afghan police show hope (but they are intertwined with drug dealers), the Afghan army is reasonably effective (but too small), the economy is better (but remains poor). He ends on a high note, of course, in that "all is working in our favor". By the way, I observed Tom Friedman last week as a panelist on the Bill Mahhow and he was not too bad, I must admit. But, then, he did stay away from his weak suit, foreign affairs.

    Pakistan (again) isn't entirely (none / 0) (#43)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:20:47 PM EST
    on the same page as U.S.  {NYThttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/world/asia/06islamabad.html?hpw]

    P.S.  Classmate who traveled the furthest for recent class reunion in midwest is working buidling stuff for U.S. in Pakistan.  He's been there awhile.  I didn't know we were bldg. megacomplexes in Islamabad (which he called a purpose built city) until he described his work.  Now this.

    NYT link: (none / 0) (#45)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:21:35 PM EST
    Pakistan is one of the places (none / 0) (#51)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 05:27:36 PM EST
    my husband could have been sent.

    then both of you are total fools, (none / 0) (#68)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 08:36:49 PM EST
    and shouldn't be allowed near either foreign policy, or the military.

    I am for generals respecting the President's policy decisions in all cases, even when the generals agree with me, as General McChrystal does on Afghanistan.

    i suggest, in your spare time, you both read sun tzu's "the art of war", and then brush up on more recent (the past 150 years) history in that region. a good parallel can be drawn to russia; there's never been a successful invasion/occupation of either.

    you and the general think you know better than a 1,000 years of history in that region? you've both given hubris a whole new definition, and not in a good way.

    it took the soviet union 10 years to finally realize their mistake. we've been there for 8, nearly as long as we were actively in vietnam. apparently, our finest military minds have learned nothing from either of those recent events. i feel sorry for the grunts, given this poor leadership.

    Just watched CBS Evening News (none / 0) (#72)
    by caseyOR on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 09:24:49 PM EST
    Katie Couric devoted the entire newscast to Afghanistan. It was the best presentation on this I have seen to date on American TV (okay, a low bar, I know, but I do think Katie is a better journalist than she gets credit for. She's a d@mn site better than either Charlie or Brian).

    Katie give a pretty good, and pretty accurate overview of our time  in Afghanistan. She pointed out our major blunders ( not going after bin Laden in Tora Bora, shifting resources to Iraq), talked about the dismal history of major powers in the country, discussed the changes McChrystal has already made in the way we conduct that war, and talked with SoS Clinton. Lara Logan's reports from the war zone were, for US media, pretty honest about the situation.

    The big question, as I see it, is can we make up for the past wasted 8 years? And how many years will that take? And at what cost in lives (ours and the Afghanis), and money? And will the end result be worth all that?

    Counter-insurgency is a very long haul. If we commit to this path we could conceivably be there for another 10-15 years. It will require thousands upon thousands of those "boots on the ground." Where are we going to get those troops? How many more deployments can we realistically put our National Guard through? Our regular military? How will we pay for all this?

    We have this choice (none / 0) (#74)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 09:32:24 PM EST
    Or we can leave.  Or we can stay there in a small number as we are at this time and bomb the hell out of what we deem a "problem" and a "threat" to our interests.

    Your are right, MT (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by caseyOR on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 09:45:00 PM EST
    We have a choice to make. And I want us to be clear about the choice we make, why we make it and what it will cost us.

     If Obama decides we go all in then he needs to tell the American people that it means a 10-15 year commitment, major loss of life on all sides, and trillions and trillions of dollars.

    If he decides on Biden's "bombs away" plan, we must be given the same info-- how many years? how many deaths? how much money?

    And if he decides to leave now-- same answers needed.

    As a personal aside, MT, I'm a buddhist, so I don't actually pray, but Mr. MT is in my thoughts every day.


    Agree with you so much (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 10:17:12 PM EST
    on leveling with America.  I bought him a Mala that I purchased from Tibet.  He isn't Buddhist, but he carries it with him on his deployments for luck I guess or maybe to remember that I love him.  He is pretty safe right now.  He's calling moves this time.  I worried about him with this big hit we took, that he'd feel it personally as a failure to protect.  He has felt that way before in some situations, but he was alright.  He said that the guys on the ground were amazing, very Big Boys who were doing fine.

    I'm watching the clips (none / 0) (#78)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 06, 2009 at 10:21:38 PM EST
    It is very good for Couric.  Hillary is going to help folks do the Vulcan mindmeld :)  Couric is asking very hard questions about Biden's plan.  Much better than I would have thought she would be on this.

    The window of opportunity in (none / 0) (#90)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:23:50 AM EST
    Afghanistan may have realistically been closed years ago.

    TheTaliban now has a permanent presence in 80% of Afghanistan, up from 72% in November 2008, according to a new map released today by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS). According to ICOS, another 17% of Afghanistan is seeing `substantial' Taliban activity. Taken together, these figures show that the Taliban has a significant presence in virtually all of Afghanistan. link

    That is 97% of the country. The so called government of Afghanistan controls a minute portion of the country. Formidable obstacles to overcome.

    We are currently spending approximately $10 billion a month. How much more are we willing to spend? Will we invest $15 billion a month or $20 billion if that is what it takes? We are in dire financial straights here at home. Are we willing to sacrifice the well being of people here for no guarantee of success in Afghanistan?


    Hmmm, with the changes you and the (none / 0) (#93)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:41:52 AM EST
    report note, my view (outside of anything to do with McChrystal, statements, etc.) is somewhat different from yours on this being 'lost.'

    the important question is why the increases have occured. Obviously past strategies have failed. Secondly, we haven't been creating a counterinsurgency strategy, and this has led to areas being somewhat forgotten based on cobat operations in the north and east, with limited numbers of engagements in the south.

    COIN strategy could do well to lower the taliban presence. There's a French retired general or colonel who wrote the book on COIN in the 60's...

    Just looked it up, his name is David Galula (GLad I looked it up, I kept thinking 'Taguba,' but I knew he didn't write it) whose strategy for counterinsurgence has been used in what I read of McC's plan.

    A couple of important points-- when the government leading the counterinsurgency seems weak, the number of insurgents grows.

    there are probably only a few (in terms of population percentage) insurgents in the country. By the same token there are only a few Afghanis actively engaged in the alternative, the government, police, military, and some few citizens.

    the others are trying to keep their heads down. Those are the ones a counterinsurgency strategy addresses. Protection, projects, projection. cooperation and ground-up team-building.

    Ah, enough from me for now. I'm out of the military and probably won't be going as a private firm sociologist/anthropologist either. My Peshto is not coming along well enough, and there are no Peshto or Urdu schools in my vicinity.


    The Afghan government is (none / 0) (#97)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 09:09:47 AM EST
    to all extents and purposes almost non existent in most of the country and has been for years.

    when the government leading the counterinsurgency seems weak, the number of insurgents grows.

    The Afghan government does not just seem weak. It is weak and only controlled a small portion of the country for years. As the past election has shown it isn't even supported by the majority of the people of Afghanistan.

    No one, even those who support the McChrystal's strategy, will say  how long it will take to be successful or even if it will succeed. They do indicate that it will be a long term commitment.  If we currently have approximately 68,000 troops in Afghanistan and add an additional 40,000, that would mean a troop size of 106,000. Seems like an insufficient number to recapture 80% of the country. If that number is not enough, how many more are we willing to send?

    Also, the question still remains on how much we are willing to spend on this long term commitment while things continue to deteriorate here.


    This isn't about the Afghan government (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 09:22:01 AM EST
    but about the US government-- while the Afghan government is a stakeholder, counterinsurgency must needs come from the NATO forces, which ultimately means a tremendous burden on the US.

    This type of government for Afghanistan isn't even 10 years old, and it relies on outside powers. If the outside powers leave, the most powerful internal actors will take over.

    I am, of course, writing about the institution of government, not the individuals involved in that government.


    Haven't the most powerful (none / 0) (#101)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 09:44:28 AM EST
    internal actors already taken over in most of the country (80%)?

    The US and NATO are the most powerful (5.00 / 1) (#104)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:04:29 AM EST
    actors. Policies and practices have led to the resurfacing of the Taliban. the Taliban make up only a small percentage of the population, and do not 'control' 80 percent of the country.

    their presence is certainly being felt by residents of those geographical regions at present precisely because US and NATO strategy has not been COIN.


    I don't like to talk like a winger (none / 0) (#95)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:57:50 AM EST
    but sometimes the Left just insist that I act like one....but with as much as we b*otch about the military industrial complex, you do understand that we can't lose militarily.....right?  So are you going to pull everyone out now or send more troops to protect those who aren't Taliban or Al Qaeda?  Just throwing doubt around about everything leaves the game board exactly where it is and all we can do is load up the bombing drones.

    MT, if you're (none / 0) (#96)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 09:03:14 AM EST
    talking to me, then I have no idea of what you're replying to.

    I thought I was posting under MO post (none / 0) (#103)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:03:23 AM EST
    I would think that you are talking (none / 0) (#99)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 09:20:22 AM EST
    to me and not to Jeff.  

    you do understand that we can't lose militarily.....right?

    Actually, I do not share your thinking that we can't lose militarily. In fact, I think we could spend another ten years there and still lose militarily. Armies have had a long history of losing militarily in Afghanistan.

    Even the generals won't say that this strategy will work anytime soon or at all for that matter. If we add an additional 40,000 troops and that doesn't work, how many more do you think we should send? If $10 billion a month is not enough, how much more should we spend? $15 billion, $20 billion - exactly how much?


    MO, going to post here, (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:01:14 AM EST
    instead of upthread, based on how convoluted this is getting, but in reference to control of the country.

    there's a quote, probably made up, but within character, anyway, from Napoleon. One of his subordinates came up with a plan to create fortifications (similar to the Maginot line, but during his era) to guard the frontier. the subordinate wanted pretty much to have a soldier every three yeards.  Napoleaon replied, "What do you want to do, stop smuggling?"

    The US and NATO doctrine is a doctrine of maneuver. Not the establishment of fortified cantonments in every disputed area.

    doctrine calls for movement 'toward the sound of musketry,' if you will, and consolidation of superior firepower at the point of battle.

    OF course, there have to be established bases, logistic sites, etc., but the focus is maneuver and defeating the adversary in battle, not in taking over territory and allocating soldiers to guard that territory.

    In a low intensity conflict, which Afghanistan is (I'm trying to think of any insurgency, up to and including Iraq, that would be considered a medium intensity conflict, although even I could make justification for calling both MIC's as well), the issue is population control politically, because the insurgents don't have columns of soldiers or established bases.

    It is a political battle.  I'd like to put in a paragraph by German political scientist Jochen Hippler, from a 1986 work 'link' , concerning the objectives of LIC. THis will take you to his website, the link directly to the article kept failing. It's in German, but there's a translation function on the page.

    While this was written in 1986 concerning the Warsaw Pact/USSR support of insurgents, it still holds true today:

    "   Medium- and high-intensity conflicts are aimed at the military destruction of concentrations of enemy forces and/or the invasion (or defense) of territory. In LIC, concentrations of enemy forces tend to be an exceptional occurrence - either because they do not exist and operations are only carried out by small groups, or because they cannot be identified or attacked. Firepower is thus of secondary importance. U.S. Air Force Colonel Cardwell comments that generally it is a case of "unconventional, socio-political, enduring and manpower-intensive warfare" and that, consequently, stamina and small-scale engagements not dependent on fire power or technology are of particular importance. "The aim is no longer to conquer and hold territory, but to maintain political and economic access to the Third World by preemptively hindering the Soviets from achieving their expansionary goals."(17)

       In general, LIC situations are viewed as basically political. The proverbial struggle for the hearts and minds of a civilian population, as part of counterinsurgency campaigns, may serve as an example in this respect."

    It's an excellent overview, by the way.

    So-- manpower-intensive and political. Not for fighting, but for building a milieu or concensus among the population that the insurgents will be defeated, and the situation will improve for the majority, who are not involved in the insurgency.

    Again, enough for right now, I'm not writing another dissertation to put it on here! I'll be glad to post more if the interest is there.

    Yes, this is theory, but the application, or not, is Afghanistan.


    Thank you for putting forth your (5.00 / 1) (#109)
    by MO Blue on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 11:16:28 AM EST
    position so clearly. While at the moment, I doubt that we can accomplish the goals you outlined at a price we can afford to pay, you have given me some things to think about. I appreciate that.

    MO, thanks (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 11:21:42 AM EST
    I know a good bit about it, and I enjoy discussing it reasonably. Knowing a good bit doesn't make me the worlds leading expert, though!

    I agree, I don't know if the US and NATO are willing to pay a higher price in casualties.

    Financially, the change in strategy would probably be a wash.

    It's a tough situation whatever course is decided.


    Wow Jeff (none / 0) (#105)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:17:52 AM EST
    I hope there isn't a test involved.  I didn't pay and I didn't realize I was auditing anything :)  Taking into consideration the deployment reality that I have lived for eight years now with a subsegment of Americans you sound positively sublime.  I try to see the brightside in things.  If we decide to just bomb everyone, all this Pashtun literature that Petraeus and McChrystal make every soldier read and then be tested on before they deploy can go into the trash now and I can get a whole area of my house a bit more tidied up.  I try to think about how wonderful it would to not have to Posh or Tune any Wallys around here all the time.  My life would be much simpler.  The paycheck also stays the same.  The weeping PTSD groups at the VA though are going to be a lot lot bigger.

    MT, I had to study this when I was in (none / 0) (#106)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:34:45 AM EST
    the advanced course, or it might have been staff course by correspondence. I'm sure your hubby did too ;-).

    to tell you the truth concerning casualties, there will continue to be casualties. You don't have armed conflict without them, whether from actual combat, from trucks flipping over, even from 18 year olds getting stupid and jumping off of buildings.

    I think I told you early in the summer I was looking to go over there. The need for nongovernmental and nonmilitary social scientists (not blackwater, either) is high.


    And it needs desperately to stay that (none / 0) (#107)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:57:36 AM EST
    way if we are staying in there.  You write better than my husband does :)  He speaks very well though.

    When all this started out it seemed that every casualty hurt.  It's 8 years down this road now and the only people serving are people who know exactly what we are going into and what can happen to us.  I realize though that liberals haven't had to own any of this up to this point, and having eight soldiers go down hurts.  But they were eight soldiers who knew exactly what they were doing there and what could happen.  Nobody over there wants to be a wholesale bombing murderer that I know of though.  It's gross. And I think that would create real damage to so many Americans and Afghans that we can't fix.  It isn't even honorable.  How many people who have been involved in these conflicts for this country want such a thing to be the "solution"?  And who wants to do what has already failed us and done nothing but damage in our very very near past in a very similar conflict?  When I read about surgical bombing in lieu of boots on the ground....I get Rumsfeld flashbacks.  Why doesn't anybody else?  It's the exact same bull$h*t!


    Remember, MT, a lot of folks (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 11:13:20 AM EST
    think all wars are like WWII, or Vietnam, or Iraq, or WWI...
    or actually, a lot of people think wars are just like 'Saving Private Ryan.'

    they haven't had personal experience, and our media has for years told them about the technological wonders the military industrial complex makes.

    Look at all the reporting on the predator and 'smart munitions.'

    Look at the misapprehensions about the role of the military-- ground acquisition and control versus engagement of opposition forces. It's complicated, and for folks who either don't have a background or haven't had things explained, it often makes no sense. Especially the doctrines and strategies.

    A very conservative person with whom I corresponded briefly wanted the US to put up an East-Germany style fence on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to keep the bad guys from coming in. That person is actually a serving officer, just not in Afghanistan. I just hope that his promotion board sees fit to s*itcan his career.

    Heck, if the military was easy, everybody would do it.


    So trufthful (none / 0) (#114)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 12:50:25 PM EST
    All the way around :)  Makes me remember how to use some patience, stay on track, talk about things...talk about all these things.  When anyone tries to dress up inhumane honorless battlefield decisions as a plus for feminism.....well....it gets hard to just not lose it a little.

    Per Huff Post, RNCC says (none / 0) (#82)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 12:58:40 AM EST
    McC should put Pelosi in her place: link

    Wow (none / 0) (#92)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:36:50 AM EST
    What a photo they found.  She looks like her ex just walked in after being disappeared, owing her five years of back child support :)  I don't know what that crap from Debbie Wasserman Schultz is but can you imagine being a female politician and how much the photographers sell such a snap for to the Republicans?  Anyhow on to Wasserman Schultz....

    "It's evidence [Republicans] long for the days when a woman's place was in the kitchen. Now a woman is third in line for the presidency... But it's not surprising, coming from a party that's 80 percent male and 100 percent white."

    I'm fine with Pelosi calling the shots that are hers to call.  But when those shots involve bombing villages for the two bad guys hiding in there, she needs to get off of her Princess duff and go pick up body parts with everyone else when the dust settles at dusk.  It's obviously time that Wasserman Schultz slapped on some body armor and went and looked the people in the eye that she just wants to bomb....because that's easier and leaves more time to not be in the kitchen with.


    And you know what I just love (none / 0) (#94)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:53:21 AM EST
    about reading psycho lefties right now on this....somehow sending more troops that would actually provide security for Afghans who aren't Taliban or Al Qaeda until they can defend themselves is "FIGHTING IN AFGHANISTAN" more than sending no troops and just bombing the ever loving Jesus out of anything that moves out there.  WTF people?  Do they have the foggiest notion of the total bull$hit they are trying to sell the peaceniks?  Does the peacenik Left buying any of this have the foggiest notion what it is purchasing?  Talk about PEOPLE BEING WILLFULLY STUPID IN SUCH A WAY AS TO PUT DUBYA TO SHAME FOR ONLY BEING A ROOKIE AT IT!

    You are doing your best to educate us. (5.00 / 1) (#112)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 12:23:12 PM EST
    Did you ever get that novel read in which the military guy was doing drone stuff from the U.S.?  Can't remember the name of the novel or the name of the female novelist but I did recommend it to you.

    Ellen Gilchrist. (none / 0) (#113)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 12:31:01 PM EST
    I admit that I lost that plan (none / 0) (#115)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 01:10:59 PM EST
    in my pile of plans.  The use of drones has become huge though.  There is a couple that are members of my kennel club and their son does this from the United States too.  He isn't even military, he works for a contractor.  And I think they are great for surveillance.  What an impersonal and inhumane way though to go after the "bad guys" in your life in a population made largely of "not bad guys".  You bomb a few places from a drone on the other side of the world and you tell yourself that you never have to deal with that collateral damage.  In fact, you aren't even sure there was any collateral damage therefore there wasn't any.  You tell yourself you'll never have to look whatever hurt and maim you just created in the eye though.  What a way to lose our humanity.  We have lost a lot of innocence due to 9/11 but refusing to actually have to address my problems directly, see its face, and to so willfully not care who I take out in my desire for blissful blindness, just isn't something I'm willing to do.  It isn't any way to live.

    Any reaction you'd care to share to Greenwald's (none / 0) (#116)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 02:12:37 PM EST
    column today?

    Sorry, cleaning house (none / 0) (#122)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 06:39:03 PM EST
    Must go read it now.

    He is absolutely perfectly (none / 0) (#123)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 06:59:01 PM EST
    right on.  How can everything be on the table if leaving isn't on the table?  And we have Obama attempting to do this middle ground thing like he did with the economy too.  He seeks a middle ground that in the end will blow the most stuff up and lay waste to the most "little people" lives in the end.  The BIG STUFF more important than human beings gets to live on though in perpetuity, having proven its worth.......and the big military industrial complex is encouraged....even Presidentially Commanded to have the exact same conscience about human beings as Wall Street does!  And the military industrial complex will be fed too because even as the Democrats hide their war acts behind bombs, don't think those bad boys are cheap.  They have figured out though how to leave almost no witnesses to their acts of war aggression and will therefore have nothing to atone for or to be held accountable for (they think).  If everything is on the table then leaving is on the table too.

    Totally agree. And then I read (none / 0) (#124)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 07:08:19 PM EST
    the contractors cannot be sued in court for sexual harrassment.  That may change soon though.

    That had better change soon (none / 0) (#126)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 07:16:48 PM EST
    My understanding of the contractors coming out of Benning is that they are covered under the UCMJ now.  Didn't know sexual harrassment was allowed in the military.  But what is the punishment in the case of a contractor?  You can't bust them down in rank, they have none. Getting fired?  Can pay be withheld like it can be with soldiers?  Can you be forced to have to go to counseling :)?

    Chemical castration? (none / 0) (#127)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 07:17:58 PM EST
    And it sounds like they all signed a verbal (none / 0) (#125)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 07:10:29 PM EST
    free for all AUMF....AGAIN!  Are they all nuts....AGAIN?  Nobody has anything to say about what Obama decides to do? And Thank God for insubordinate Generals!  The Middle East would be on literal fire by now without them.  Do we have a list of names please?  Because if Obama goes about this "the Obama Way", when Afghanistan explodes into insane violence we are going to once again be looking for the names?  And we will all be stone cold broke too with nothing to show for it but INSANE war theory! I think about how a few days before my husband left we were at McDonalds.  I looked around me and realized that suddenly I was completely surrounded by giant obese people....everybody.  I couldn't even find an overactive thyroid.  I looked at him and said, wow...EVERYBODY is fat here.  He glanced around and then said, "The whole country is a fat self centered bloated pig....ripe for failure....ready for slaughter".  Him saying that really creeps me out at the moment.

    Cheap food is more fattening. At least (none / 0) (#128)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 07:19:32 PM EST
    that is what my sister used to say when she was living on pasta before it became chic to do so.

    MT, (none / 0) (#129)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:02:32 PM EST
    Obama is the Commander in Chief. He can accept or reject whatever has been proposed. Before any decision has been made, there is little point in gnashing teeth. This administration is not concerned with the gnashing of teeth.

    There have been no charges of insubordination. There have been accusations of insubordinate talk by those who can't make official charges, but no charges.

    Not only does Obama have the right to examine the proposals, he has the responsibility to do so as commander in chief. Ultimately, the decision to accept all, part, or none of the proposals put forth by his theatre commander are COMPLETELY UP TO HIM.

    If Obama rejects elements of the strategy proposal that McChrystal deems essential, he has the right, and even the responsibility to the members of his command, to ask for relief from his position. In the civilian world, it's called resigning.

    If McChrystal resigns, another general or admiral will assume command. This general or admiral might put forth the same strategy suggestion with the same requests for troops, equipemnt, etc., and end up with something less.

    The Taliban insurgency's Order of Battle is NOT what was faced (and is being faced) in Iraq. This also isn't the Mujehadden.

    IT IS NOT THE END OF THE STRUGGLE. Afghanistan simply can't explode into horrific violence unless and until tens of thousands of insurgents enter from Pakistan... and the US controls the air between Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are plenty of hostile forces within Afghanistan, but these forces can only harass the NATO forces.

    The NATO forces, as currently configured, can only harass the Taliban, though. AFPAK can stop border incursions, but not stop indigenous beligerents.

    In other words, there will be no 'flames across afghanistan.' the opfor doesn't have the requisite forces.

    If the situation remains the status quo, the US public will force a withdrawal within three years. I would estimate that casualties would be in the 200-300/year range. Small enough to be tragic.

    Ironically, if the casualties were in the 5,000 pr battle range, the US public would likely flock to the war.

    I hope this is bringing you down. get mad at me. Chew me out. But remember that the responsibility and the decision lies with the presidency.

    Whether just or not, this is a legal war. And there is a commander in chief.

    I also hope you read between my lines. There is a constitution in place. I swore allegiance to it, as did EVERY officer and enlisted person.  Insubordination cannot be allowed at the flag level or the squad level.

    A general who insists on relief is not insubordinte. A general who refuses an order is. Give me a star or two, and a brigade-- hell, just pin those eagles on my shoulders and give me a brigade, and give me an order.

    I'll follow it. If I think it's stupid, I'll follow it in such an incompetent way that the risk from the order is negated.

    Example: "Take your battalion, go to that town, and set up a blocking position. Kill everyone who enters your field of fire."

    First, get 'everyone' defined. In writing.

    then, before you move out, order a complete equipment check. If the equipment is in the States, such as Class A uniforms, dress shoes, etc., make every... and I mean EVERY soldier sign a missing equipment form. And order the S-4 to personally interview each soldier. One S-4, a battalion of soldiers.

    Then question the figures. Order a re-inspection. Allow one or two officers to help.

    None of this is disallowed. Commanders' prerogative.

    At the Joint level, there are plenty more ways.

    This isn't insubordination, according to military doctrine, it's 'incompetence.'

    Any officer who refusing to accept an order can be relieved. Any officer accepting an order and then stepping on his/her d*ck (figurative, of course), may face counselling, may get a bad OER, but still accomplishes the same.

    More after your reply...



    I'm sorry Jeff (none / 0) (#130)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 08:59:47 PM EST
    I don't think you have been reading BTD's writeups about bad General McChrystal.  I said that McChrystal has done nothing insubordinate and it seems that those who can deem his deeds insubordinate have not found him to be.  Truth is though we have had several "unruly" Generals, and in fact a General should appear a bit "unruly" if he strongly doesn't agree with his command.  He would do this of course before he needed to resigned.  Petraeus was told his career was over when he wouldn't stop doing certain things in Iraq, and then later on he fired the guy who hoped to do that to him :)  As far as fresh insurgent problems and controlling air space....we controlled the air space on the Iraq Syrian border and my husband flew it every single day, and we could not stop the flow of fresh angry as hell Sunnis.  The Afpak mountains offer even more hiding places for those coming in.  I don't have the faith that you do that just bombing our problems like we did in the Sunni triangle will lead to any kind of relief for our efforts in the end.  But that's just me.

    MT, as I said in a different (none / 0) (#131)
    by jeffinalabama on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 09:37:10 PM EST
    diary, I am not aBTD sycophant, although he andI have agreed a lot lately.

    I did read th leaked report, and I did listen to the speech and the Q and A. As you said, at least to paraphrase, 'everything has to be approved.' It does, it was. his responses were not, but the media did misquote him. In context, after hearing what He said, I stopped objecting.--I will waarn you, my keyboard is sticking and i have lost my glasses--

    I have questions for you--

    1. have I ever said bombing our problems will solve them? let me it another way, have I ever advocated a strategy with reliance on bombing--- ever? Feel free to add to that surgical strikes to take out 'leadership' of loosely oganized, independent units of fighters.

    2. Do you think that there's only one strategy proposal and only one general that can 'win' in Afghanistan? I would argue that if that's the case, if only one man or woman can lead it, get the hell out, because it makes the opposition's job way too easy. Kill the head, the body will die.

    3. do you think we can stop interdiction of recruits from Pakistan?

    Let me answer #3 first. the problem faced is not from Pakistan or Iran. The problem is from Afghanistan. The Taliban fighters are the insurgents. Al Qaida is a name.

    the Taliban insurgents are homegrown. This is their village-area-etc. But that's not a guaranteed win! If nobody likes them but supports them out of fear, protect the fearful. I think my other posts have answered this one also.

    2--No single person is indispensible. If
    McChrystal died in a helicopter crash from chips in the transmission fluid, someone would take over. If he's the only one who can lead us to victory, i say give up now. Generals are replaceable. As to your concern about a SAC general wanting to pull a LeMay, I would say that there are enough folks around to disabuse that general. Strategy is in flux, but even this president doesn't trust a bomber general in this mission, and certainly not his advisors. Actually, thats also part of 1...

    there are plenty of strategy responses that would fulfill the mission. Why? because each strategy defines the mission. If success was hare-lipping every third son in Afghanistan, it would be a verifiable outcome. EVERY plan defines success and what it neds differently.

    Now, to remind you, because I am somewhat hurt...


     I qualified as a snake-eater (Ranger in 1978, SF in 1983) as enlisted, and,  after commissioning, learned to fly the UH 1, the OH 6,the OH 58, and the UH 60 (which I never flew well... aviation didnt come naturally to me) also. Not the Apache, though... I should say I did fly them. eyesight and BP would preclude me now.

    There will not be a bombing commander of AFPAK unless the NCA decides it. Fire McC. There are still plenty of O-5 and aboves in the Army alone who want the command. Marines and Navy and Air Force also, who see this as a LIC, not as a technology war.

    IF a bomber idiot takes command, write off any chance of success. Victory can be re-defined, but success from the US? not so much.

    More later, perhaps tomorrow.


    McChrystal isn't indespensible (none / 0) (#134)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:00:45 PM EST
    but the only reason you would get rid of him is if you wouldn't go for his plan at all.  My family has been involved in this insanity for eight years though Jeff, and I have been through how many Generals now?  How many old school Generals and Air Force Generals thought that this power or air power was going to do something really wonderful for us.  Yeah, it did something in Iraq...it caused a whole lot of collateral damage that did nothing more than feed insurgency.  That is why McChrystal calls Biden's plan the road to Chaosistan and I for one completely agree.  I have a brother-in-law who was thrilled to "finally" have an Air Force General running Iraq and he went over there and bombed everyone too.  He slept in Kuwait every night and he had to be gone for 3 whole months (it was really hard on him)...and his crew did more damage to our mission in Iraq than they ever did good.  When my husband gets home he has 22 years in and he promised me I didn't have to do anymore deployments that I didn't want to.  He can go back and do this same job every six months if that is what he wants as well.  And it is a good slot, he is rubbing elbows with all the right people now if you want to burnish something.  But if we are going to go back to the early days of just bombing people for our solutions, and we are dumping the Petraeus/McChrystal strategies, then I won't be doing any more of this crap.  They can piss off and kill all the people they want with their short sighted goals, and they will do it without this family.  My husband can come home and teach and I'm just fine with that.  He isn't committed to anything on paper anymore, he's only in uniform because he tries too hard for people who I'm beginning to doubt deserve his service and see him as little more than an idiot pawn in their latest political wimp playing games.  There, now I feel better.

    As far as flying Apaches (none / 0) (#135)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:22:22 PM EST
    my husband has unfortunately very serious RA attacks now (they wrote a waiver)...he still flies so long as he's in remission (they'll just take his word on that).  After his first tour in Iraq he sometimes takes Trazadone to sleep...wrote a waiver for that. I guess they have several instructors who have RA here too, or so he was told.  He wears glasses sometimes for astigmatism, but it's really strange...next physical it doesn't show up.  He does some eye exercise thing on the computer.  They'll write you a waiver now for everything except heroin addiction I think (just joking....but pretty close). And I didn't assume you were air farce, but I don't think very highly of "controlling air space" these days.  It just hasn't cracked up to all it was supposed to be :)

    And I don't believe in (none / 0) (#136)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:41:05 PM EST
    surgical bombings much.  I know that some things are going to have to happen.  But of the plans on the table...bombing from drones is a substitution for boots on the ground.....Hello suicide bombers from hell.

    Also, of all the Generals we have to (none / 0) (#137)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 10:52:06 PM EST
    choose from after dumping McChrystal....who do you think can keep up with his pace thusfar for stabilizing what was out of control with as little bloodshed and blowing crap up?  Like I said before....this family has seen a lot of Generals come and go in these war years. Until Petraeus the only thing that any of them could think of was getting their shot to blow sh*t up while keeping a lot of distance between them and the people that they were driving completey batsh*t crazy.

    And I am some soldiers worst nightmare (none / 0) (#138)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Oct 07, 2009 at 11:36:06 PM EST
    for a spouse.  I mean, you can console my spouse when he gets home sometimes.  He does need it from time to time.  I want real results though. I understand all this commitment, and honor, and courage and mission.  I know that you guys are the social warriors.  I know you guys live by the mission.  But I'm at home alone making the most of phsyical therapy and a single income since we have our precious Joshua who has a lot of surgeries....and I'm a results girl.  I always have been.  I don't think there was a different destiny for me. I understand mission, but I will have something to show for my efforts at the end of the day that is worthy of those efforts or I will know why.  You're a socialogist.  Don't many warrior cultures have a history of old women who held counsel and read them the riot act...told them when they would fight and when it wasn't worth it and told them when they were all really being idiots with erections?  I think I'm a past reincarnation.  And it can't be much of a question whether or not this is a warrior culture.  With the way we pass out health care these days to only the warriors and the breeders and those who are well enough to pay through work in a field requiring excellence, this place is practically Sparta anymore.  I wish it wasn't though.  I don't think our current culture is a very healthy one.