McChrystal's Contempt

The American commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, has, as Barbara Morrill points out, committed contempt towards officials, in violation of Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, by speaking contemptuously of his civilian authority as quoted in an article in Rolling Stone. The NYTimes reports that McChrystal, who has issued a public apology, has been ordered back to the United States:

An angry President Obama summoned his top commander in Afghanistan to Washington on Tuesday after a magazine article portrayed the general and his staff as openly contemptuous of some senior members of the Obama administration. An administration official said the commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, would meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House on Wednesday “to explain to the Pentagon and the commander in chief his quotes in the piece,” which appears in the July 8-22 edition of Rolling Stone.

The President would be justified in dismissing McChrystal. At the very least, McChrystal should receive a public rebuke from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Speaking for me only

< Peru: The Rights to Remain Silent and To Counsel and the Insanity Defense | President Obama: No Decision On McChrystal Until Meeting >
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    looks like this was a pretty big (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:37:14 AM EST
    error in judgment. I think he'll get more than a rebuke. His press aide has already resigned.

    Pat Tillman's mother (5.00 / 4) (#3)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:41:23 AM EST
    according to Politico just now, tried to warn Obama about McCrystal when he was under consideration for the job.

    So did Military Tracy. (5.00 / 10) (#4)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:43:39 AM EST
    Yep (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:49:51 AM EST
    Shown himself to be a controversial figure (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Untold Story on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:13:58 PM EST
    from the get-go.  Fire him and then clean up.

    Glad this is getting some attention (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:44:40 AM EST
    This wasn't a few low rank guys messing around in the barracks. The command structure of a military for a democratically elected government has to show public respect for the leaders the people have chosen. This is the only way the system can work, and why it is a law.

    No win situation for Obama (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by magster on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:48:52 AM EST
    If he fires McChrystal, the Repubs will rally around McChrystal.  If he doesn't fire McChrystal, senior level insubordination will only get worse.

    I vote for firing McChrystal, abut predict Obama will keep him.

    Truman (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by robotalk on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:18:13 PM EST
    MacArthur.  Can be done.

    Should be remembered that (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by brodie on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:42:27 PM EST
    Truman had the backing of 3 powerful and famous generals in sacking MacArthur:  Geo Marshall, Omar Bradley and Ike.  And in the end, once the furor had passed and Mac given his parade and speech, not many Americans actually were enthusiastic about implementing what the General had advocated for -- use of nuke weapons to use against China, killing tens of millions and probably triggering WW3.

    Afghanistan isn't quite Korea, and McChrystal isn't close to being as famous and respected by the public as MacArthur was.  Basically at this point after 9 yrs, people want to be done with it, and concentrate on more pressing domestic problems.


    McCain, Lieberman and Graham (none / 0) (#72)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:10:42 PM EST
    have issued a statement that McCrystal acted wrongly.

    That is pretty much permission to fire him--coming so quickly as it did.

    Lieberman, McCain and Graham have gotten Obama to go their way on Afghanistan.  If they really want that policy to continue, they will have to suuport Obama.....If Obama is undercut by the military with impunity, he might reconsider his policy.


    Lieberman would never change his opinion (none / 0) (#85)
    by magster on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:47:27 PM EST
    to score cheap political points in order to undercut a Democratic president either.

    Patton (none / 0) (#146)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:42:00 PM EST
    If Obama really means to start (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:55:25 AM EST
    winding down Afghanistan effort next summer, doesn't seem like McC will be all that interested in helping.

    How stupid does this guy have to be to (5.00 / 3) (#14)
    by tigercourse on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:55:23 AM EST
    say those things to a reporter in the middle of a freaking interview? He was running the war effort? No wonder it's going so very well.

    Having a Col. Kurtz moment (none / 0) (#49)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:57:51 PM EST
    I think he's McSnorting some crystal (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Dadler on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:22:25 PM EST
    Don't you really WANT to cause a confrontation like this when you yap like that to a reporter? If not, you're either dim as the dark side of the moon or you're high. Or both.

    Gibbs on (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:24:51 PM EST
    President has not yet spoken with McChrystal and McChrystal will take part in tomorrow's situation meeting.  The commander does not usually participate in these conferences from Wash.

    Insubordination?  90,000 of bravest in Afghan, full support, get strategy right is Pres focus.  Agree with strategy (?) and committment.  Pres will speak with General and will speak after that meeting.

    Job safe?  more after that meeting.

    Insubordination? Pres looking forward to discussion.  Reaction to Pres said 'not engaged'?  Mc will have Pres full attention tomorrow. As Gates has said, McChrystal has made an enormous (Gates emphasis) mistake. Confidence? tomorrow.  Why no conversation yet? no calls either way.  Alone?  yes.  Distinction not over policy but personality conflict?  Pres, most believe personality aside, implement new strategy, personalities should not distract from war effort, set aside differences, Removal an option?  won't pre-judge, Pres anxious to talk.  Every option is on the table.  Previous leaks a firing offense, isn't this worse?  Magnitude, greatness of mistake profound.  Owe those who serve our very best.  McChrystal necessary?  Our efforts bigger than one person, born out on military and civilian side.  Not a military solution.

    Surprised, angry?  I gave him article last night, he was angry.  ? Angry.  Resignation? not that I'm aware of. Will accept resignation?  wait till tomorrow's meeting.  

    Msnbc: Called offf field tantamount to asking for resignation?  Shaming? Could have gotten info teleconference?  Is this about humiliating Mc? What bothered Pres most? distracting from enormously vital mission and our forces.

    Bush fired, Gates fired, why would you have this handled by WH and not Gates who is capable of handling it?  enormous effort, Pres believes in opportun to discuss.  Already had woodshed moment after London, how many times to the woodshed?

    People in harms way make of Commanders comments about P,VP,Eiken,Jones?  readers understand as Gates said... enormous mistake.  Moth/fath send kids half way around world need to know where they're sending children is capable and mature enough and action leads to national security.  General Cred with troops? better ask those serving.  Gen Mc fought bravely, long time, can't take away but clearly enormous mistake in judgment.  Targets of comments have chance to call him to task?  has already made calls to those at table, can't predict meeting.

    Tapper.  Commands structure capable and mature? are you saying Pres questions Mc capabilities and maturity? you have my comment

    Respect for chain of command? Do apologies matter? sure. How? Pres speak with others in team about confidence in structure will not pre-judge conver, not fair to Pres of Mc.  

    Karzai wants to keep Mc, important?  confidence in entire team important.

    Mc capability and maturity now open to question? article brings up questions the Pres would discuss.  Policy, how concerned is Pres soldiers trapped by rules of engagement? has been will be discussed.  Civilian deaths impact on mission.

    Describe Pres, were you with him while he read? no, he heard about existence, I took it to residence, he came back to WH a couple of times.  Who did he call?  Jones, chief of staff, nat sec team.  Foreign leaders? just Karzai.

    I'm gonna have to say (5.00 / 5) (#25)
    by AlkalineDave on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:29:42 PM EST
    that this is pretty insubordinate. Even some of the most conservative Marines in my unit are admitting so.  While I have some admiration for the way McChrystal responds at the unit level, this repeat cannot be ignored.  I do not even let my junior Marines speak ill of the President publicly.  A General has to know better.  He should be sacked.  Robert Gates sacked Admiral Mullen at CENTCOM for less.  The replacement is what's going to be interesting, and I know who'd I'd like to see. :D

    Ok, who? (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:46:09 PM EST
    C'mon, tell!

    The intellectual side (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by AlkalineDave on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:55:08 PM EST
    would like to see Petraeus hand over most of the daily tasks at CENTCOM.  He's more effective as a Theater Commander in my opinion.  I mean this is a guy who's closest advisor in Iraq was a British pacficist.  He's intelligent and looks at things from all angles.  However, I doubt he wants the job.  Hell, he didn't want CENTCOM after Iraq.  He was lobbying heavily to take over EUCOM.

    The Marine side of me would like to see General Mattis.  He's a well read, experienced General who gets along quite well with Petraeus (who would then be his boss as CINC at CENTCOM).  I know his candid comments on killing were a bit controversial, but Marines don't typically shy away from the nature of what we do.  And no, I'm not saying he should have said it's a hoot to kill terrorists.  However, General Mattis is an impressive warfighter.

    Those are the two on my wishlist.  I would love to hear if anyone else has input.


    I forgot about Mattis (none / 0) (#54)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:10:32 PM EST
    My husband has said that Mattis could handle this mission.

    As well as (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by AlkalineDave on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:32:06 PM EST
    something like this can be handled :-\

    He should be fired. (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:29:56 PM EST
    No ifs, ands or buts.

    He would then be free to criticize Obama until his heart's content. Whether his criticism is correct or wrong has nothing to do with that.

    On the human side, he voted for Obama and his frustration just boiled over. Sadly, it infected some of those around him who don't have the fall back resources he does.

    The "infected" (5.00 / 4) (#37)
    by magster on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:23:05 PM EST
    among McChrystal justify McChrystal's firing.  McChrystal has created an environment where it's not just him being insubordinate, but his entire staff.  All the anonymous aides working for McChrystal talking smack about Obama and Biden and Jones is worse than McChrystal making the statements himself in an unguarded moment to a reporter.

    All General's aides can (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:08:44 PM EST
    be insubordinate asses with a few beers in them.  They see some crazy stuff, saw some really crazy fights between their superiors and other Generals, and the State Department.  We usually corral them indoors though and keep them confined to a chair at the kitchen table when they are losing it :)  We definitely don't let them outdoors running wild and naked and declaring themselves TEAM AMERICA.

    or talking to Rolling Stone! (5.00 / 2) (#91)
    by ruffian on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 04:14:25 PM EST
    Maybe McC was being honest (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by brodie on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:33:35 PM EST
    with Obama in saying he voted for him, and maybe not.  Frankly, the macho frat-guy McC, formerly very cozy with the Bush-Rumsfeld crowd, doesn't strike me as your typical Obama voter.   I suspect he disclosed as an Obama voter, once the election had been decided, for personal career advancement reasons.

    And it does appear he's surrounded himself with a large group of military sychophants who don't seem to have much respect for many in the Obama admin.

    He probably needs to be either fired or eased out with some sideways "promotion".


    If Obama doesn't fire McChrystal (5.00 / 5) (#74)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:13:12 PM EST
    he will lose the respect of the military.

    Obama will have to jettison the cautious, consensus-building mode and make a command decision.


    translation: (none / 0) (#42)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:34:35 PM EST
    I hope he's fired and is then given his own right wing talk radio slot sandwiched in between Rush and Dr Weiner..

    Sadly, for the erstwhile denizens of planet wing nut, he wont be fired and after some retraining in how to sit, rollover and fetch, he'll go back to his post and start concentrating harder on performing the duties entailed in his job description.


    I think I and the American people are sorta entitled to some explanation or something to that effect vis a vis this article in Rolling Stone magazine."

    McC: "I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it! I'd rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!"

    The very blanket of freedom HE (5.00 / 1) (#63)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:39:50 PM EST

    Wow.  That's some real arrogance there.

    Now, arrogance in a general is probably a good thing, but where that general directs that arrogance is something that has to be considered.

    Making out the freely elected President like he some sort of enemy is not exactly a productive thing to do on any level - even if he's got a point - not saying he does - but breeding contempt for civilian leadership amongst the ranks of the military is not a good thing.


    I think his diet could be just a little low (5.00 / 1) (#67)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:51:06 PM EST
    in lithium, in this instance maybe he should drink the water HEH!

    Quote from a movie (5.00 / 1) (#110)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:53:16 PM EST
    not from McChrystal, I believe.

    ..and by the way.. (none / 0) (#32)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:58:37 PM EST
    I'd just like add in passing that, if you've never gotten a blowjob from a superior officer..well, you're just letting the best in life pass you by..

    Huh? (none / 0) (#34)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:12:39 PM EST
    line from an earlier (none / 0) (#35)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:15:22 PM EST
    portion of the same film..

    Im a fair guy, but this f*cking heat is driving me crazy, su.


    We are now seeing why (none / 0) (#45)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:41:02 PM EST
    we need Universal Military Service and ROTC in all the universities.

    We have, and are creating, a volunteer force that doesn't understand the civilian side and a civilian side that does not understand the military.

    It's happened before.


    How about just a higher (5.00 / 1) (#47)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:46:14 PM EST
    quality educational system with a reemphasis on civics?

    Rather than that "massively centralized", "big government" military junta project you envision.


    Nice Non-Sequitur (none / 0) (#51)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:05:31 PM EST
    Why not add more since you are on a roll:

    this incident shows we need a national sales tax and to seal the Mexico border.

    About as relevant as what you said.


    Not a non-sequtur. (5.00 / 2) (#61)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:34:21 PM EST
    There are real questions to be asked about the downsides of an entirely self-selected military force.

    First among them would relate to questions of equitable burden for our national defense across the classes within our society; but another good one would be about what happens when a force is culled and groomed sufficiently to create a majority view that may be antethetical to the principles of this or any other democracy.


    I like the idea (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by jondee on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:54:12 PM EST
    of scaling down the global Leviathan by two thirds, utilizing the freed up man and woman power for a new type of civilian conservation corps - with all the same benefits and incentives currently available to military personnel - rather than spending time and energy trying to figure out more equitable ways to continue feeding the beast with it's endless enemies and endless wars.

    Disagree (none / 0) (#70)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:58:17 PM EST
    Using McChrystal's insubordination to call for Universal Service as a fix to future insubordination, moral, etc, issues is a non-sequitur, imo.

    This is an old saw of ppj's, one of many. IMO, he injects these saws every time the general subject arises, even if it has zero to to with the topic.


    The burden problem is a real problem (none / 0) (#89)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 04:04:04 PM EST
    when you have a psycho like Bush doing what Bush did and stop lossing people and the general population not caring enough to vote him out.  That abuse is temporary though, you can only get away with it for about 24 months and then you have imploded your own military.  There is a flip side though that comes with insisting on a shared burden, all of the soldiers I know have said that they DO NOT WANT TO SERVE NEXT TO SOMEONE who doesn't want to be there body and soul.  It is dangerous.  It puts everyone's life in danger when someone isn't fully committed, trains to the fullest extent out of personal drive, and spends a lot of time feeling sorry for themselves, is stressed out and not even wanting to be there.  They are not good soldiers and they are dangerous to themselves and others when real danger is present.

    I see both sides of that issue. (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:02:47 PM EST
    Thing number 1: Some people don't know they'd like something until they try it.

    Thing number 2: when the military was completely self-sufficient - catering, guarding bases, and all the rest for itself, there were places for people who were not going to perform well on a battle field and I think a more equitable representation of the American psyche, class, religion, ethnicity etc.  It bothers me that we do not have a more accurate representation of the American experience within the ranks anymore.

    Thing number 3: I totally get why anyone wouldn't want me to be on the front lines with them.  In a debate, most say I'm a great ally - but where it comes to guns and all that - totally not my thing - I'm afraid of sparklers - fireworks scare me.  Totally get it.

    But the question is whether or not we can find a balance that is better than what we have right now.


    I dunno the answer to your final (none / 0) (#97)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:14:41 PM EST
    question.  I do have one thing that I would like to see happen, only one chapel on post that is nondenominational and NO CHURCHES representing any specific faith on posts or bases.  I think if the military wants to go worship something specific, they need to join civilians....otherwise I think some people can get real coo coo.

    And on the military hiring out for (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:22:59 PM EST
    everything other than their trained Killers....well, I think my husband would agree with you.  And unfortunately "contractors" usually vote Republican because they think the Republicans will always fund their jobs so that we have a "strong" military.  They will always vote for the warmongers, it is how they pay their bills.  Unfortunately though, when soldier are in actual danger who did the contractors vote for this go around?  The person in my opinion most likely to get the largest number of human beings killed.

    Draft? (none / 0) (#136)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 08:29:58 PM EST
    My problem with an all volunteer military is that it allows Americans and politicians to hide from the realities of war.

    I doubt if politicians would be such hawks if they had to return to their districts and tell their people that their son and daughter were being shipped off to war.

    Sad but true, the public and the media are more interested in what celebrity got a DUI than they are about what is happening with either war.


    First, soldiers don't fight for (none / 0) (#137)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 08:51:49 PM EST
    the King or Prez.. they fight for each other. That is true at the squad/company and crew level and has been that way forever. And at that level the man must be accepted. I have seen people who you would think would be a perfect fit be rejected and vice versa.

    Secondly, UMS, in my view would be used to create a ready reserve. Two years of training and then X years in active reserve and Y years in inactive reserve.

    The "all volunteer" force would be there for longer enlistments with more training, better pay and benefits.

    But, at the bottom, you would get more people from more places familiar with more respect and understanding.

    At some point, as a society, that is important.


    good for Obama (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:58:27 PM EST
    wish Bill Clinton had reacted this way with Colin Powell - somewhat different situation i know - but Powell was also insubordinate & that matters in a democratic republic

    glad "no drama Obama" is playing against type here

    Bill had a tougher (none / 0) (#38)
    by brodie on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:25:01 PM EST
    situation with Powell than Obama with McChrystal.  Bill was just a 43% president who'd just taken office a few days earlier, and was backing a liberalization program probably not supported by 43% of the public.

    CP was holding the public majority's postion on gays while personally, with his bipartisan Ike qualities and fame, he was probably more popular than Clinton.

    Sometimes a president, as with Clinton, just has to accept the situation (up to a point) and get the best deal possible, which I believe happened with DADT.

    Obama though has more leverage here, and McChrystal is no Powell on the popularity scale.  Nor is standing for a tough Afghan position a winner with a public tired of the longest US war in history.


    agree that Clinton (5.00 / 4) (#57)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:25:18 PM EST
    had a tougher situation w/Powell - that's why i pointed out that is was different

    but the insubordination of a general toward the CIC is not something that is supposed to be dealt with on the basis of polls or on the basis of what kind of "deal" can be struck

    the job of soldiers - even & especially generals - is to follow lawful orders, ultimately the orders of the CIC, a civilian

    if soldiers did not follow orders - again, ultimately civilian orders - we could easily have a military dictatorship

    & btw they impeached Clinton anyway didn't they


    I don't disagree that (none / 0) (#68)
    by brodie on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:54:39 PM EST
    there has to be clear civilian control of the military brass, but I'm trying to point out these things are not always so clear cut and easy to decide.  

    External factors play a role -- the president, after all, while CinC, is also a politician in addition to being the head of gov't.  In the case of military control, he may determine that in a Powell incident, the harm done to his overall ability to command respect among the armed forces would have been greater with an immediate sacking than with the course he chose.

    Kennedy chose similarly with the insurbordinate Gen LeMay -- someone who enjoyed strong backing in the ranks and among enough people in Congress to matter.  Lincoln in his time chose not to immediately ask for the resignation of the blatantly insubordinate Gen McClellan, who among other disrespectful things, refused once to see Lincoln at his house at the appointed hour and place.

    Now, while I wasn't aware Clinton had gone on to ask Powell to stay on after all that (or was it before?), he might well have been thinking, Better to keep this potential troublemaker and dangerous political rival with broad support inside the tent rather than out.  In the end, Clinton and his team felt he'd dodged a political bullet when Powell left but decided not to run, but the decision not to fire him was probably a wise one.


    interesting historical perspective (5.00 / 2) (#84)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:45:10 PM EST
    thanks for that

    i have very firm beliefs about the need to punish insubordination from military commanders & may be a bit of an absolutist about it - on some level i do not care about the politics - guess that is why we have politicians including the CIC


    Given the circumstances (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:28:31 PM EST
     you describe and the possibility that the agenda of the new Clinton presidency would be derailed (if not the presidency, itself) overlooking General Powell's insubordination may have been necessary.  However, it did not seem necessary for President Clinton  to go beyond that and prevail upon General Powell to postpone his previously announced retirement.

    Not the first time Gen McC (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by DFLer on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:03:21 PM EST
     has "jammed" Obama. Some good reporting on this by Jonathan Alter here and here.

    We are truly frigged up now (5.00 / 2) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:32:30 PM EST
    What to do?  The whole mission is formed around COIN and McChrystals leadership, and the dude does not sleep, barely eats...works literally 24 hours a day and sleeps standing up.  We really have no idea what we are in for if a human being actually takes over this command....seriously :)  Everything is going to be clusterflucked because McChrystal micromanages everything but that is also his gift and his genius in an almost impossible COIN strategy. We have only a handful of commanders who would sign on for the command if it involves COIN and the rest of them are all the old fashioned bang bang shoot em up and let God sort them out sort.  And Obama has been letting, wanting, desiring, McChrystal and nonfriends to handle this Afghan thing for him.  He hasn't had a hand near any switch.  He doesn't want to get dirty from the war.  I'm okay with them making the Biden jokes though because Biden did just want to bomb everyone all to hell and Eikenberry did totally screw over McChrystal mostly because he is jealous.  But you don't say this crap in front of reporters and you don't call yourself TEAM AMERICA unless you have been completely running your own show and the President doesn't want to hear from you much.  That has always been Obama's way though hasn't it?  BP is handling it, McChrystal and Holbrooke are handling it, Geithner and Summers and Bernanke are handling it.  McChrystal did run camp NAMA though and black sites all over Iraq when that other President was fine doing such things, and he did it very well.  He can lose site of where the lines and the boundaries are if he doesn't have a leader leading him.......such a typical soldier in that respect.  HUGE past character flaws in the midst of an actual military diamond.  It is a tragedy in a way, a brilliant man......probably the hardest working person I'll ever know of.

    Paragraphs, MT (5.00 / 2) (#111)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:54:26 PM EST
    For God's sake, please, some paragraphs!!

    Sorry (none / 0) (#150)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:55:08 PM EST
    to bed with me :)

    Very helpful comments, MT (5.00 / 2) (#148)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:17:18 PM EST
    Your description of McC's intensity, etc. pull together other national comments in a very convincing way. What a portrait...almost the definition of a tragic character (the gem with the marked flaw.) People keep talking about McArthur; yet, seems to have the temperament of a Patton.  In any event, somewhere in these kinds of crossroads we may find again that noone is indispensable. Sic transit gloria.

    rock and a hard place (none / 0) (#52)
    by CST on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:06:45 PM EST
    no one to replace him, and if he stays, no respect for the chain of command.

    I wonder if BP is happy about this article leak...

    The most interesting part of the article to me is where they talk about the fact that at the end of the day, Afghanistan is irrelevant at this point to the battle with Al-Queda who is now basically all in Pakistan (building schools in Arizona to stop the drug war in Mexico).  One part of me feels like we owe it to them to take out the Taliban anyway, and if we don't, we will just leave a breeding ground for tommorow's Al-Queda.  The other part of me wonders... what's the point if we're just gonna lose it all anyway?


    I forgot about Mattis though (none / 0) (#55)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:14:48 PM EST
    until AkalineDave said something.  We were all talking about six months back about what would happen if we did lose McChrystal and Mattis came up as a solid replacement that would be capable of pulling this mission off.

    Mattis is set (none / 0) (#62)
    by AlkalineDave on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:35:03 PM EST
    to retire without a new assignment.  General Amos being tapped as the new Commandant sort of signified his departure.  If General Mattis was assigned Afghanistan, I'm sure he'd take it.

    My husband was around (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:46:45 PM EST
    McChrystal some when he was there.... not during off hours though.  No partying TEAM AMERICA :)  He said he was worried about the General a little though.  I don't know how long we can expect anyone to stay at this command considering the level of stress and daily, hourly, by the minute commitment it requires and the emotional drain of mission planning and troop deaths.  And the mission planning is often so tight, and losing some of the special forces soldiers even ate my husband's lunch a few times because you are in constant contact with these guys via communications and BAM, bad day and someone gets killed and you were just planning this stuff with him yesterday or you couldn't get air support to him in time.  He said that it did scare him how tired and how thin McChrystal has gotten lately.  Perhaps we should have had Mattis already preparing to come in to take the command.  So far no General has been able to deal with the level of stress forever that goes hand in hand with COIN, and it is too much to ask and McChystal would be the last one to know he needs down time.

    So, reading that article, it seems like (5.00 / 2) (#56)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:17:49 PM EST
    whenever ol' Stan particularly screwed up, he got moved up the ranks, instead of down - or out - so I don't see much meaningful punishment coming McChrystal's way; maybe a sternly-worded lecture, followed by some sort of public apology.

    Although...Obama doesn't take kindly to being disrespected, and there sure was plenty of that in the article, so, who knows?  Yes, Obama could ask for and get his resignation, but maybe McChrystal is better left in charge of Afghanistan "in case" there's a need for a fall-guy.  

    Guess we'll see soon enough.

    Make him deliver and abject apology (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by observed on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:44:18 PM EST
    AND fire him.

    Yuck. (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:49:27 PM EST
    So much in that article supports my complete loathing of those aggressive, macho, militaristic, violence-glorifying @ssholes.

    Makes my skin crawl.

    It seems to me that this a classic (5.00 / 2) (#69)
    by KeysDan on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:56:57 PM EST
    case of the wrong person for the position.  The Rambo qualities may be just what is needed for behind the scenes, special operations, but not for overall Afghanistan operations--operations that require a range of attributes, all of which seem absent.  The macho cartoon qualities were, apparently, successful in wrangling additional troops and new support for what always seemed like a harebrained military campaign. However, faced with inevitable set backs and failures from a fundamentally flawed operation, his frustrations seems to be aimed at those who should have known better than to listen to him.  Of course, McChrystal has to go, where and how far remains to be seen. But, I do hope that the spotlight on McChrystal does not eclipse other aspects of the Rolling Stone reporting, such as the quote attributed to a senior advisor of the general: "If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become less popular." Or," even those closest to McChrystal know that the rising anti-war sentiment at home doesn't begin to reflect how deeply f---d up things are in Afghanistan." This, in my view, is what should be the glaring issue.

    WaPo Headline (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:11:26 PM EST
    Is Gen. Stanley McChrystal someone the president can afford to fire?

    Too big to fail?  

    firing gen. mcchrystal (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by cpinva on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:18:32 PM EST
    represents no great loss to the operation in afghanistan. he was a mcclelan/westmoreland clone, with no original plan to close out the game.

    hilts will, no doubt, be providing us with multiple examples, to support his so far exampless assertions.

    probably not, his sort never do.

    Obama's was a fool (2.00 / 1) (#135)
    by pluege2 on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 08:25:22 PM EST
    to listen to McChrystal and other pro-war all the time morons. Nothing good can come of obama's Afghan policy. McChrystal is a nonsensical distraction.

    Obama is getting what he deserves (1.00 / 3) (#71)
    by hilts on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:01:26 PM EST
    Obama is a nailbiting, thumbsucking coward who governs with his tail between his legs.  He doesn't deserve any respect whatsoever. Kudos to McChrystal for speaking the truth about the gutless weasel in the Oval Office.  Obama is the whiner in chief.

    The day generals get to push around the (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by tigercourse on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:21:48 PM EST
    President is the day the last nail is pounded into the coffin of our Democracy.

    Nobody with the talents to be (5.00 / 4) (#79)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:25:31 PM EST
    able to start a computer and spell could actually believe this IMO.  This really has to be someone signing on just to see if someone's head will explode.

    Apparently (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by sj on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:20:17 PM EST
    ... you haven't dipped your toe into some of the more toxic comment threads in other websites.  The commenters at Big Orange are brilliant and articulate by comparison.

    It appears that a lot of people who able to start computers do so just to post that sort of claptrap.  It could be his/her own head exploded a while back.


    So Red State hit the Orange :)? (none / 0) (#103)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:32:27 PM EST
    It's such a na na na na boo boo strategy.  Is everyone reminding them that McChrystal voted for Obama?

    This isn't about - or shouldn't be about - (5.00 / 5) (#86)
    by Anne on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:50:32 PM EST
    Obama; this is about respect for the office, respect for the chain of command, respect for the role of the military; if McChrystal has lost that respect, and if he is a man of honor, he should have resigned rather than play Rambo for Rolling Stone magazine.

    Whatever weakness McChrystal perceives in, or disdain he has for, this or any president is not properly addressed by putting that disdain on display in the media; I'm no military expert, nor am I a fan of armed conflict, but even I know and understand that this kind of insubordination risks much, much more than anyone's tender feelings.


    Obama has earned any contempt military has for him (1.00 / 3) (#147)
    by hilts on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:43:03 PM EST
    Obama is a stumbling, bumbling, clueless windbag who has treated the top military brass like dirt so he's earned the enmity of McChrystal and others

    Old soldiers never die, they just (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:36:27 AM EST
    fade away.  Will McChrystal address Congress?

    Does the U.S. military really need to contract for a press rep.?

    What will be interesting (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:44:36 AM EST
    Is while I think McChrystal is gone - has anyone so far has disputed the truth to his statements?  I haven't read so, but I may have missed it....This is really a test for Obama - to see how he well he controls the military and the relationship between the administration and the military from here on out.

    Clown consensus (5.00 / 3) (#16)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:57:15 AM EST
    Military guy says 'most likely' Mc will go and rightly so, but that the people on the ground will say he is right.

    Seems to be quite the eff up all around with diplomacy pushed out of the way by McChrystal and the troops not knowing what they are doing there.


    Note....diplomacy has not been (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 04:43:07 PM EST
    pushed out of the way by this General.  That is not the beef that Holbrooke has with him.  It is Holbrooke's lack or working diplomacy.  Holbrooke does not care about people or human rights, McChrystal has learned that if he doesn't care about it every day all the time he will lose.  Holbrooke can't see the big picture.  He often chooses to play factions against each other simply to make something look good for the moment but it never leads to any longterm peace.  Holbrooke is not interested in solving any longterm problem and thinks that we simply go to bombing more often and we can scale back troops and leave soon.  COIN strategy calls for long term goals that lead to long term peace though.

    Keep in mind that Holbrooke has been (none / 0) (#93)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 04:54:39 PM EST
    all about the drug war in Afghanistan too.  Yet even most soldiers that I know will tell you directly that the poppy is not our enemy but by making it our enemy we will makes lots and lots of other enemies.  Holbrooke is so devoid of actual real problem solving skills, he was another one who had to literally be fought off of this war on drugs thing.  War on drugs in Afghanistan won't solve anything but don't try to tell that to Holbrooke or Gates or any of the civilian leadership.  Its almost like you have to bury someone dear to you before you realize that this war on opium thing is completely meaningless.  It's nothing but knee jerk, gives everyone something to demonize that our culture loves to demonize and is very comfortable demonizing.  As hard as it is for anyone on TalkLeft to believe or understand, it has been the military that has led the charge to end this crazy war on drugs thing in Afghanistan.  The "diplomats" couldn't have been more fecked up about all of that.

    Seems like the kind of thing (none / 0) (#21)
    by robotalk on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:20:16 PM EST
    that might not have wholly been an accident.  I think the Afghan. strategy is a loser and McC knows it.

    Doing what he accused others of (5.00 / 4) (#24)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:27:22 PM EST
    In the article he went after others for their attitude without noticing how toxic his and the people he has chosen to surround himself with are. Absolutely toxic.

    Does Obama have the will of Truman? (none / 0) (#7)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:46:59 AM EST
    Good question (none / 0) (#9)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:49:09 AM EST
    Of course, would McChrystal get the outpouring of love and public support that MacArthur got?  

    McChrystal in 2012?


    Petraeus. (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:52:20 AM EST
    An all-military ticket (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:53:32 AM EST

    or Patraeus -McChrystal?


    McChrystal will never be on the ticket (none / 0) (#50)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:04:05 PM EST
    NEVER.  He has no social acumen out of uniform that is reliable and he fricken tortured people.  We know, we have evidence.  If he is tossed off this mission though or leaves I'm keeping a close eye on Petraeus. If Petraeus isn't going to see his COIN strategy bear fruit in dealing with the threat of Islamic terrorism, I can promise you he has other plans :)

    Man I have always wanted Holbrooke gone (none / 0) (#59)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 02:29:29 PM EST
    He is a filthy dirty bastage in my opinion when it comes to caring about human rights and his job.  But it is really really wrong for me to find out that my dreams may be realized because a General is publicly putting off answering his email and tells everyone he is dangerous animal because the rumor is he is getting fired.  Eikenberry did totally screw McChrystal simply because he is jealous.  Jones was the one who "leaked" the Obama/McChrystal fight last year to the press........and he is a retired General, but he is also crazy jealous of McChrystal and Petraeus success to the point he should be declared insane.  And Joe Biden did only want to bomb the hell out of everyone and McChrystal did positively stand in the way of that and say that if that was the mission he wasn't preforming it.  But McChrystal and his aides cannot make "Bite Me" jokes about Biden in front of the press, not while still serving and in uniform.  The Biden plan was inhumane and insane though.

    Blame it on the volcano (none / 0) (#13)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:54:34 AM EST
    Familiarity comes with long periods of access.  The reporter says he got the extended time because of the airline shut down.  He couldn't fly out and was allowed to hang out with everyone and that's how he got all of this.

    Apparently not, no (none / 0) (#108)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:50:24 PM EST
    Rolling Stone editor in charge of this piece says some of the juiciest stuff came early, that the reporter called him something like 5 hours after he'd gotten there to relay what he was getting and his utter astonishment at what they were so freely saying to him.

    McChrystal voted for Obama (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:01:25 PM EST
    according to Rolling Stone.

    So McC is a purity troll? (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:08:50 PM EST
    Interesting (none / 0) (#75)
    by MKS on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:15:58 PM EST
    One wonders how sincere that vote was--did he want to be with the winner....

    Did anybody who was in uniform (none / 0) (#95)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:05:47 PM EST
    and votes not :)?  I mean, I know a lot contractors around here and GS employees who voted McCain but I'm not sure if your ass was actually in danger of being shot who I might know that voted McCain :)

    Quite the article (none / 0) (#29)
    by CST on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 12:46:31 PM EST
    personally, I think anyone who is at the top level of military command needs to have some measure of respect for the diplomatic process as well.  It's part of the job.

    COIN is dependent on diplomacy (none / 0) (#36)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:22:29 PM EST
    McChrystal's COIN strategy includes diplomacy.  It's HIS strategy, why is his attitude so off?  Go in, clear out trying to kill as few civilians as possible, and rebuild.  The job is to support a system until it's strong enough to stand on it's own.  That is diplomacy.

    Teebee keeps telling me it's going to be at least another 10 years.  sh.t


    His attitude goes OFF (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:39:44 PM EST
    when he is alone too much with his own ego I guess.  He can torture people a little.  He can torture a soldiers family a little too hiding the actual circumstances of death if it benefits his mission.  He can make fun of the French (but the whole military does that) and do it in front of a Rolling Stone reporter when he's the commander of the Afghanistan mission.  And if the Rolling Stone reporter hears that the U.S. military jokes that ISAF stands for "I suck at fighting", they need to hear that joke from the grunts.......not the aides to Generals.

    COIN is not just McChrystals strategy though (none / 0) (#48)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:53:36 PM EST
    Petraeus gave birth to it in its current form, and then was given the Iraq mission to use his strategy with when we just about lost Baghdad.  McChrystal did Petraeus' dirty work back then though and became a true COIN believer.  McChrystal did run the surgical assassinations that went hand in hand trying to shore up Baghdad though......and in the end it did but a lot of innocent people died too most likely.  McChrystal is actually Petraeus' COIN protege though, and now Mullen.  They are part of a "faction" in the Pentagon, one that has been extremely successful too in military terms and it makes a lot of the old school Generals insanely jealous because they bought into the law that you must destroy a village to save it and designed a whole career around it.  Now these a-holes are proving that is not always true and the military can address problems in many different ways.  The groundwork though for Afghanistan all runs through McChrystal, because he could do it that way.  Lesser "soldiers" will not be capable of doing this though, he isn't human in those terms and he does inspire a fierce loyalty in many...even me in a way.  If anyone has sacrificed it is him and his wife and kids.  I would have had to divorce him by now.

    Obama's McArthur moment (none / 0) (#39)
    by Saul on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 01:25:05 PM EST
    I'm pretty sure he's toast.   He will appear tomorrow as ordered to WH with a resignation in hand.

    According to Joe Klein (none / 0) (#77)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:19:49 PM EST
    McChrystal has submitted his resignation.  It is not clear whether or not the President will accept it.

    Conversation (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:26:31 PM EST
    It is clear the Pres wants a face to face conversation first.  Alone.

    I think McChrystal should be placed (none / 0) (#82)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:36:05 PM EST
    elsewhere where he can continue to benefit the mission and the command given to someone else.  It isn't the end of the world, happens all the time.  Nobody expects anyone to be superman other than a few people determined to be superman.  I'm no Joe Klein fan, but Joe Klein has said recently he witnessed McChrystal being very frustrated with the progress in Afghanistan in ways.  He also said that he doesn't think McChrystal is sleeping enough, so other people are seeing an exhausted McChrystal.  

    Yeah, the RS article (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by brodie on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:57:42 PM EST
    seemed to imply that McC was making something of a macho superman show of his only needing 4 hrs of sleep a night, and eating only one meal a day.  Might have caught up with him (the pressure to put on a macho show, I mean).

    Frankly, I've never met anyone who needed so little sleep regularly (and not make up for it heavily on the weekends, for instance, or snuck in some regular long daily naps while telling everyone else he was busy in the office studying the books).  Thomas Edison bragged about not needing more than 4 hrs sleep, but it eventually came out that he also tended to shut the door and blinds in his office for long 2-3 hour afternoon stretches.  

    And I tend to doubt the veracity of the one meal a day part too.  Probably sneaking a few snacks in there when no one's looking, and/or downing enough brewskies to make him forget about the hunger.

    Not a healthy situation to have a man in charge of leading the war effort who feels he needs to put up a macho front and who probably isn't personally constituted to carry it out.  Signs of an insecure man, or someone insecure about his position who's setting up a built-in excuse should failure occur.



    I have said that McChrystal often looks (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 04:07:46 PM EST
    like a piece of old barbed wire to me, and I guess that was during better days :)  I'm not sure what the next transformation is after you have gone beyond that.

    Are all the soldiers (none / 0) (#124)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:05:10 PM EST
    in Afghan & Iraq utterly exhausted?

    Sorry (none / 0) (#125)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:05:50 PM EST
    meant to write:  Aren't all the soldiers in.... wholly exhausted?

    McCain demands new team (none / 0) (#81)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 03:30:18 PM EST
    McCain states that if Pres fires McChrystal he needs to dump the ambassador etc and get an entire new team over there.

    Whole new team?

    He goes out in style (none / 0) (#96)
    by diogenes on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:12:59 PM EST
    Afghanistan and the proposed pullout are fiascos.  this way McChrystal gets himself fired and when the whole thing collapses in 2014 or so he will say "I told you so".  Only those with very subtle military knowledge will know otherwise.  

    How sad that the only thing some people (5.00 / 1) (#98)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:17:10 PM EST
    want is someone in the military to demonize and blame for a war that a majority of the American people voted for.

    How about that. (5.00 / 1) (#101)
    by lentinel on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:30:52 PM EST
    do you figure that a majority of the American people voted for the war in Afghanistan?

    Obama didn't lie about that (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:41:44 PM EST
    He campaigned on it and people voted for it.

    Everyone (5.00 / 1) (#106)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:46:36 PM EST
    Campaigned on it, at least all the major contenders.

    A large majority of America was behind beginning the war in 2001. As of June 7, 2010 the Afghanistan war is the longest war in US history.


    Hmmmmm (none / 0) (#109)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:52:06 PM EST
    So nobody is going to get voted in as President of the United States if they are going to sit back after the country has been attacked and do nothing about it?  I know lefties like to talk about how many years the Afghan war has been going on, but actually there wasn't much going on at all.  We were bare bones there for years, just taking up space and doing reflexive defensive bombing of obscure targets when were about to get overrun.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#113)
    by squeaky on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:05:42 PM EST
    Collective punishment of Afghanistan people is a great idea to pay back a bunch of Saudi terrorists who set up camp in the mountains. But hey, war is good for the economy, and we had to shoot at someone for blowing up the WTC. Saudi Arabia is our $$$Friend.

    I do not know what the solution is, but blowing up people with drones, air raids, and troops on the ground, does not seem like a good idea to me.

    And I believe that the Opium is being used to benefit US somehow. It does not make sense otherwise. For a lot less money than we are spending on the WOD we could buy the entire crop and process it into pain medication sorely needed in the third world. And/or we can replace all the crops with pomegranate, build a vital infrastructure of local agriculture etc.

    Winning hearts and minds does not seem to be a strong point or those who are trained to kill, aka the military.


    The Biden plan collective punishment (none / 0) (#114)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:25:41 PM EST
    on the Afghan people and once again squeaky, the failed state of Afghanistan is what enabled and empowered Al Qaeda.  It will become their home base again if we leave it a failed state because it so easy and so profitable.  It's so sad to witness your racism and hate of Saudi Arabians :)

    The Biden plan is collective punishment (none / 0) (#116)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:27:05 PM EST
    of the Afghan people...not the McChrystal plan, and once again squeaky, the failed state of Afghanistan is what enabled and empowered Al Qaeda.  It will become their home base again if we leave it a failed state because it is so easy and so profitable.  It's so sad to witness your racism and hate of Saudi Arabians though :)

    Wow, I totally agree with you... (none / 0) (#120)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:51:41 PM EST
    That's a first.

    You guys know nothing about (5.00 / 2) (#122)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:55:46 PM EST
    how soldiers conduct themselves in Afghanistan and are so knee jerk anti military, you would all turn all this over to Biden and his buddies and bawl all day long about all the dead people being indiscriminately blown to hell.  Do you guys ever actually have a goal or make an actual effort that provides actual safety to anyone at all that is a real flesh and blood person?

    Wha? (none / 0) (#126)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:05:57 PM EST
    I disagree with Biden and his unmanned drones approach.  Biden is no peacenik here.  But I think we are starting to look a lot like the soviets.  I just don't think this is a winnable war.  I don't think that's a knee jerk response to a war that's lasted nearly nine years.

    Not even really a war (none / 0) (#132)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:23:37 PM EST
    It's not even a war.... it's a military occupation with a non-existent goal, or if you prefer the fantasy that we are building 'them' up until they can stand on their own (whatever that means) an unachievable one.

    We are 'at war' with an undefinable ideology.  More and more are finally asking WTF are we doing.  Finally.


    Exactly. (none / 0) (#133)
    by masslib on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:25:32 PM EST
    It's not knee jerk to recognize a lost war nearly a decade in.  

    Then take your ire out on the politicians (none / 0) (#134)
    by Rojas on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 08:10:42 PM EST
    asses like biden, schumer, clinton, obama....

    Knee jerk anti-military (none / 0) (#130)
    by waldenpond on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:19:38 PM EST
    oy... look, the military has a function... shoot and get shot at.  The military is not going to remake Afghanistan.  Diplomacy will help, but it is just not going to happen.  Buying off Afghani warlords does not eliminate Pakistani Al Qaeda.

    Want special troops to follow Al Qaeda around to keep them from organizing? Sure, that'll help.  Bombing Al Qaeda with drones can work.  This country has a slew of agencies and policy to attempt to keep people 'safe' but come on, it's not difficult to bomb a train, school, mall etc. It's going to happen.

    Do you guys ever actually have a goal or make an actual effort that provides actual safety to anyone at all that is a real flesh and blood person?  I'm guessing it would be inappropriate to outright laugh at this?


    MT (none / 0) (#153)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:10:22 AM EST
    Bombing Afghanistan (and then Iraq) doesn't necessarily amount to doing anything about the attack on 9/11, imo.

    Some serious soul searching about an arrogant and imperialist foreign policy might have produced the results we were looking for - a diminishing of hatred towards us.

    I know you'll call me a "lefty" - but I don't think either of these wars can be justified on the grounds of making us safer - or even of avenging 9/11.


    Sorry to say that a lot of people (4.00 / 3) (#127)
    by Cream City on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:10:46 PM EST
    and usually pretty smart and politically savvy people who voted for Obama but they did not think that they voted for ongoing war in Afghanistan.  Goddess knows what they thought they were voting for -- supposedly packed stadiums? -- but I know many who now are ticked that Obama did not pull out of Afghanistan (as well as Iraq) pronto.

    That, of course, is not Obama's fault on the face of it, as he made no such campaign promise.  I certainly heard him say that there were good wars . . . but then, I actually listened to him, a lot.  I do know that those I know who voted for him, and that is many, all kept telling me that he was antiwar, based on one of the most famous speeches of which there is no real record!

    I tell ya, this all is gonna be one great history book one day.  But for today, it's a problem for the prez.  Not one that he can't surmount, of course, because so many of those who voted for him will do so again, based on the "but the other side is worse" argument -- meaning, Obama remains Not Bush, Not Cheney, Not McCain, Not Palin, etc.

    Those voters just didn't listen well to know that Obama also was Not an Antiwar Candidate.  So it goes.


    Very well said as often only you can (none / 0) (#151)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:17:38 AM EST
    I heard him say we would be having some more war, mostly because that would directly impact my life.  I figured I should take his word for it and prepare :) I was surprised when many were upset about the troop increase in Afghanistan. I honestly didn't think there were other "real" choices after I heard his campaign speeches time and again and we all voted for him :)

    It's (none / 0) (#152)
    by lentinel on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 06:06:50 AM EST
    difficult to say that we all voted for the since on this issue, as with many others, there was no significant difference (if any) with McCain. Hobson's choice with respect to the wars.

    It seems to be that a significant number of Americans did not bother to vote for either of them.


    Yes, I'm one (although I voted) (none / 0) (#156)
    by Cream City on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 12:38:19 PM EST
    and after all the hoopla of the Greatest Campaign Ever, it was so interesting to see that it was not the greatest turnout ever.  We will see who comes back this year to the polls. . . .

    McCrystal Resgins! (none / 0) (#102)
    by Saul on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:31:40 PM EST
    According to CBS

    Perhaps another (none / 0) (#128)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:12:31 PM EST
    form of insubordination, in that he was asked to report to WH.  This way, McC controls the script, when CiC should.

    False report (none / 0) (#139)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 09:00:12 PM EST
    No link, so I don't know where it came from.

    I do not think Obama will accept resgination (none / 0) (#104)
    by Saul on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:41:25 PM EST
    He will tell McCrystal how unhappy he is but he will keep him on.

    It is starting to sound like that is a (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 05:47:06 PM EST
    possibility.  This is getting really weird.  What really should happen is that he is at least relieved of this command.  Then I feel bad and remember some of the amazing things that he did do along some really horrifying things.  He can be placed somewhere to assist Mattis.  We do have a COIN commander though who can do this most likely as well as it can be done in Mattis.  In any case, if the President is serious about leaving in 2011 it is the perfect time to reassign the command........with its updated decided upon mission.  If Obama keeps McChrystal, that also tells me he is going to lose the 2011 leaving strategy because we all know that isn't possible on the road we are on.

    To what extent can he be demoted, MT? (none / 0) (#112)
    by observed on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:01:48 PM EST
    I think the best punishment may be to keep him in the military, but humiliated and powerless.

    I'm not sure that he would be "demoted" (none / 0) (#119)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:44:05 PM EST
    Most likely it would be what would appear to be a "lateral" move :)  But he wouldn't be in command of Afghanistan.  I just told my husband that we were talking about Mattis on here and now the News has talked about him as well this evening. He started laughing though because he has always liked Mattis, but in the youthy Mattis career Mattis voiced some MAJOR Frig ups too that ended up in print.  He is a talented leader I guess who would just plant his foot squarely in his mouth.  My husband says that some of the best soldiers have such a hard time being gifted politicians, nobody expects the President to pick up a weapon and body armor and run into the bullets but today's best Generals must be able to do that as well as know when they must actually dump all that and transform themselves into something bordering on Presidential, or they can literally shatter their careers.

    I've been wondering (none / 0) (#115)
    by Jen M on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:26:39 PM EST
    What office he is going to run for.

    I just talked to my husband (5.00 / 2) (#117)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:35:00 PM EST
    on the phone and he was talking about releases to the press because they made several when he was there in the area that he worked in.  He was shocked that this article somehow got cleared, and so many things that are said off the record by everyone (In Sandals And Flipflops) somehow became On The Record.  I told him that McChrystals press person was fired today and it was a civilian for some reason and my husband said, "Oh Snap, Bingo....that was where it all went so very very wrong."  The final copy had to be cleared by someone, and I guess that was the someone and they had no concept of what they were doing :)

    Tell your hubby that snap hits back (none / 0) (#123)
    by Cream City on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:00:18 PM EST
    at McChrystal, too -- he didn't have to hire a civvie, and it was McChrystal's decision (due to his "weakness" in public, per the link) to not go with a PIO in the military.  So sayeth the former wife of one, and I know many more, and they include many with great expertise and experience in media for which corporations compete when the guys get out.  

    But McChrystal determined that he wanted a civvie for his outsider's viewpoint -- although that then would put more onus on McChrystal as an insider to ensure that it was a military viewpoint.  Plus, as well you know, a PIO cannot quit like this, adding to the perception of major problems by and for McChrystal -- and on the eve of his comeuppance at the White House, fer pity's sake.  If he had req'd a PIO, he or she could only get fired/reassigned by his military superior, McChrystal, who then would not be so left in the lurch by this.

    In sum, another mistake by McChrystal, another use of a contractor, essentially, instead of a military officer.  At this rate, by morning, another of McChrystal's mistakes may surface . . . so now we get to wonder just how many more he made?


    He does like gifted outsiders (none / 0) (#129)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 07:14:35 PM EST
    I had heard that he culls all sorts of talent from all over, and the article does talk about some of that....and the IT people really have become an amazing component when hunting Al Qaeda. He was one of the first that were open to what lie behind that door.  He isn't afraid of creative problem solving. A civilian in charge of your press though?  That is pretty crazy.

    Michael Yon is making accusations now (none / 0) (#145)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:25:18 PM EST
    that a General McChrystal aide tried to feed him information about Eikenberry before April 15th of this year. I'm trying to keep in mind that Michael Yon is very bitter right now about having his embed pulled, and he did not make this accusation until today......but I don't fully understand WHY Michael Yon has gone on the record to say that he doesn't trust McChrystal as far as he can throw him either.  It is obvious that Yon is upset at the new ROE, and he says that soldiers have one hand behind their back now and can't protect themselves and are being killed shamefully.  He also says that he has had three "friends" killed at the start of this year and blames that on McChrystal's failure as a leader and his failing strategies that won't allow soldiers to protect themselves.  I wish I knew more details about what he is so upset about but he has been places that required security clearances and he was once upon a time a very very trusted by the military freelance journalist.  I don't anticipate that he will talk about anything he shouldn't talk about.  But he does claim that someone in the McChrystal crew tried to feed him smearing info on Eikenberry months ago.

    McChrystal and Obama (none / 0) (#118)
    by norris morris on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:39:55 PM EST
    Unquestionably Obama's strategy whatever it may be has been flawed. Nevertheless the CIC cannot be criticized publicly by an insubordinate General, or a General who cannot control his staff.

    Allowing his staff exposure to Rolling Stone was simply stupid as we all know the media will do anything to get a story.

    Mc Chrystal knows the military code well that makes his exposure [or his staff's] to Rolling Stone unsupportable.

    He has to go. There can only be one CIC and we remain a democracy because we can vote out or in our CIC. But while in office, our President as CIC rules the Chain of Command.

    I can't say that he shouldn't have ever (none / 0) (#121)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 06:51:59 PM EST
    exposed himself to Rolling Stone.  They cover many things in the military and have been well thought of.   I'm very open to them being in the war zone and covering whatever they would choose to cover.  Someone approved though what was on the record and off the record and someone approved the final copy.......and oh hell what a mess.  When I was reading the article I wanted more meat about what happened during the McChrystal interviews.  If anything, I'm sure the General thought the writeup would be about the interviews he was giving.  There is precious little in there about the interviews though.  The journalist gives his take on how unsuccessful COIN is without giving any real evidence at all, and says nothing about what the General thinks about COIN.  Sadly, McChrystal has been very honest with his take on our success there and has said that it is a toss up at this time in his opinion.  I sort of wanted to read about that, but none of that was in there.  This is not the interview that Stanley McChrystal thought he was giving :)

    Bit of a correction (none / 0) (#138)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 08:58:00 PM EST
    No one in the General's camp was allowed to "approve the final copy."  Not done, ever, by any mainstream journalist.  The very most would be a few unclear or complex quotes read back for verification, but I very much doubt even that would have been done here.

    How is that so? (none / 0) (#141)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 09:13:26 PM EST
    Did you read someplace that no one in the General's camp was not allowed to approve final copy?  That just isn't done.  Mainstream journalists do sign on to be "censored" though.  Michael Yon does it all the time and he gets to go everyplace imaginable.  I have been shocked some of the places he is allowed to go into and photograph.  But he would never print anything that destroyed military cohesion ever. He is an old soldier.  He just couldn't do it, his soul wouldn't ever allow it.  Heh, I just signed onto Michael Yon's blog to find out if he had been in Afghanistan lately and he has been having "issues" with McChrystal.  What the hell has been up with McChrystal?  Now I must go read more at Michael Yon's blog.

    Don't need to read it somewhere (5.00 / 2) (#149)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 11:21:33 PM EST
    I've been in the business.

    If it's an "embed" and the article is to cover aspects of military strategy, etc., that's one thing and the journalist/newspaper might agree to it.  But no way, nohow would a personality profile like this, away from the battlefield, be done with any sort of pre-approval of copy.

    And if by some chance it were done, it would be stated right up front in the article.

    It's simply not something that's ever done in reasonably respectable journalism, both for practical and principled reasons.


    Apparently Michael Yon had been (none / 0) (#143)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 09:19:13 PM EST
    critical of General McChrystal around April and he had his embed cancelled.......bummer.

    I love this - I hope Obama fires him and then watch Afghanistan and the great military strategy for winning fall apart. And if Obambi  doesn't fire him then he will be the  wimp-in Chief.

    You couldn't ask for more proof that we elect PR tested  empty suits that are way out of their depth when they get into this office. I am not sure we will  ever get a president with a brain again.

    Oh, they understand the mission (none / 0) (#142)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 09:17:20 PM EST
    but no one I ever knew went out and said, "We're gonna do this mission, what ever it was, for the Prez."  They do it because they said they would do it and they do it for each other.

    Whenever my husband (none / 0) (#144)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jun 22, 2010 at 10:07:17 PM EST
    sees his President even for some sometimes goofy speech in the past, no matter how much of a schmuck I may think the dude is my husband is at attention so forcefully you would think his spine is going to snap.  He literally lives, eats, and breathes that extreme loyalty that is so excessive I sometimes wonder if he needs therapy.  The President is who the American people have chosen.  To him that is huge, absolutely enormous in the scope of what this person stands for and the importance militarily that that person holds in their very hands if the nation is ever in trouble.  It isn't just mission Jim, not hardly, it is about the Constitution and the structure and lifeblood of the Democracy.

    I never said this was an Obama thing (none / 0) (#154)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 09:26:35 AM EST
    It really has nothing to do with Obama or any other President. Or King or Dictator or Dear Leader.

    And it has nothing to do with "respecting the office." See my comments re McChrystal should be fired. The question was, "Why do they fight? Why do they lay their lives on the line?"

    Again. They do it because they said they would and they do it for each other.

    And that's a good thing. What we cannot have is a military that can decide who they will fight for.

    The lack of a man on a "white horse" is critical to our democracy.


    They do it because they said they will? (none / 0) (#155)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jun 23, 2010 at 10:21:55 AM EST
    That holds no water for me.  We are putting people into the ground.  Half the military did quit us when they realized that could be them.  A new group has enlisted while we are still putting people into the ground regularly, but some of the kids have an immense problem with what they signed up for and can't wait to be done with it while others become only more firmly committed.  It has very little to do with "because they said they will".  It is something much much more profound than that Jim.

    I think we are talking past each other (none / 0) (#157)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Jun 24, 2010 at 09:24:17 AM EST
    Those who stay do their jobs. Those who go do their jobs until they go.

    Those who do not do their jobs are rejected by their associates.

    Good leaders know this and facilitate the process.

    Those involved in the day to day know the mission. They know the risks. They fight or fly or whatever they do because they "said" they would do it and because they know their "mates" depend on them.

    They have no "Grand Leader."

    Sorry to remove the romantic part of war and death from your view, but there never was anything romantic or glorious about it.