Monday, June 28, 2010

McChrystal’s Deliberate Step

General Stanley McChrystal’s critical comments about Pres. Obama and his administration concerning the war in Afghanistan, as reported in the Rolling Stone magazine article. “The Runaway General,” were likely not careless slips of the tongue. The same can be said for the words of his staff.

General McChrystal is by all accounts not a careless man. Rather, he is an accomplished tactician. Agreeing to a magazine interview and delivering the words as he did was certainly a tactic with grave personal consequence. It is absurd to think that McChrystal did not know that he’d most likely get sacked.

McChrystal’s message is that the Afghanistan mission is in jeopardy due to American civilian political ineptitude. And, that falls squarely on the shoulders of Obama.

When McChrystal was given the job of commanding the Afghanistan operation, he learned by meeting with Obama that the president lacked depth.

“Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn't go much better. "It was a 10-minute photo op," says an adviser to McChrystal. "Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his fucking war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed."”

Generals are interested in expeditiously winning the conflicts that are imposed upon them by politicians. Politicians are interested in maintaining power for themselves and their party. The disparate goals are often in conflict.

“Last fall, with his top general calling for more troops, Obama launched a three-month review to re-evaluate the strategy in Afghanistan. "I found that time painful," McChrystal tells me in one of several lengthy interviews. "I was selling an unsellable position." For the general, it was a crash course in Beltway politics – a battle that pitted him against experienced Washington insiders like Vice President Biden, who argued that a prolonged counterinsurgency campaign in Afghanistan would plunge America into a military quagmire without weakening international terrorist networks. "”

Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings wrote,

“McChrystal steps away from the circle, observing his team. "All these men," he tells me. "I'd die for them. And they'd die for me."”
If you are not a warrior, perhaps you don’t understand how serious McChrystal was when he stated, "I'd die for them. And they'd die for me."

Some writers are depicting McChrystal as reckless, shooting himself in the foot. Others characterize Obama’s firing of McChrystal as heroic. Both characterizations are incorrect. Obama fired McChrystal because McChrystal was insubordinate. McChrystal was insubordinate because he chose the route of the whistleblower.

It didn’t take any guts to fire McChrystal, but it sure did to sacrifice your career by standing up and declaring in effect that Obama and his administration are incompetent to lead this country in a time of war.

As a top general, McChrystal was no longer in the position to literally die for his comrade warriors. But, what he was able to do was to deliberately fall on his sword to help expose the feckless politicians who send his warrior comrades to die.

Uu-ah General McChrystal. Warriors everywhere need leaders like you!

Link in this Blog:
The Runaway General

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