Tuesday, November 3, 2009

If Rolling Stone is correct, then both Generals Petraeus and McChrystal need to go

... because in this country Generals execute the policies of the civilian government, they don't set it.

This article deserves a full read:

In early October, as President Obama huddled with top administration officials in the White House situation room to rethink America's failing strategy in Afghanistan, the Pentagon and top military brass were trying to make the president an offer he couldn't refuse. They wanted the president to escalate the war — go all in by committing 40,000 more troops and another trillion dollars to a Vietnam-like quagmire — or face a full-scale mutiny by his generals.

Obama knew that if he rebuffed the military's pressure, several senior officers — including Gen. David Petraeus, the ambitious head of U.S. Central Command, who is rumored to be eyeing a presidential bid of his own in 2012 — could break ranks and join forces with hawks in the Republican Party. GOP leaders and conservative media outlets wasted no time in warning Obama that if he refused to back the troop escalation being demanded by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander overseeing the eight-year-old war, he'd be putting U.S. soldiers' lives at risk and inviting Al Qaeda to launch new assaults on the homeland. The president, it seems, is battling two insurgencies: one in Afghanistan and one cooked up by his own generals.


First things first: General David Petraeus stands no chance whatever as a Presidential candidate. He would make the McCain campaign appear thoughtful and well organized. Barack Obama's wet dream should be that the GOPers nominate him.

Second things second: General McChrystal has been openly insubordinate and--so far--has not even demonstrated his ability to do anything besides ask for more troops. In fact, since replacing General McKiernan, he actually seems to be losing the war more quickly than his predecessor, despite having thousands more troops under his command.

Third things third: The US military doesn't actually have available the 60-8,000 troops that McChrystal is demanding. At least not without breaking the back of our force rotation.

Final things final: We have no mission in Afghanistan. Even General McChrystal admits there are fewer than 100 Al Qaeda operatives left in the country. We are helping fight out a thirty-year-long ethnic civil war, while destabilizing Pakistan with our ham-handed influence. {Oh, but Al Qaeda could get Pakistan's nukes, the warlords cry. Hey, has anybody actually looked at how unstable and unpredictable the Pakistani government is? They threaten to nuke India roughly every other Tuesday.]

The troops who have continued to fight, die, and be mutilated in Afghanistan are my brothers and sisters, and they are being betrayed by their own Generals, who have now placed their own egotistical stake in winning above what's good for American policy.

6 comments:

G Rex said...

General Petraeus is not General MacArthur, who saw himself as the American Caesar (stealing the book title) ready to cross the Rubicon against Truman. Nobody even knows who Stan McChrystal is, so he's hardly leading a coup. These are two guys who are telling the President they want a decision: get on with it or pack it up and go home. If it's pack it up, say it now rather than spend another drop of American blood, don't fart around waiting for opinion polls to work things out for you.

Airborne!

Hube said...

and they are being betrayed by their own Generals, who have now placed their own egotistical stake in winning above what's good for American policy.

That's a pretty strong statement based on your own title: "IF Rolling Stone is correct ..."

downwithabsolutes said...

General...Betray-us?!?

Chris Slavens said...

As much as I'm for the constitutionally defined civilian control of the military, I'd rather see just about anyone controlling it, as long as it's not our idealistic anti-military leader. Obama could sidestep this situation by making correct decisions. From a libertarian point of view, war should be avoided, but I'm of the opinion that war should be viewed as black or white. Either keep the troops home and remain completely uninvolved, or, if war becomes necessary, wage it correctly. There is no middle ground, no gray area. War is the systematic extermination of the enemy; nothing close to the police work our troops are doing at the present.

tom said...

"There is no middle ground, no gray area. War is the systematic extermination of the enemy; nothing close to the police work our troops are doing at the present."

That's great if you can define exactly who the enemy is. In Afghanistan there is no clearly identified enemy or goal. Who are we fighting? The 100 or so remaining Al Quaida operatives? The Taliban? The Warlords? The Drug producers? The Insurgents? All of the above? The entire country (and two thirds of Pakistan)?

How do we know when we've "won"?

We could just as well pull our troops out and bomb the enemy back to the stone age, except for the slight problem that most of both countries are already there and the bits that aren't are allegedly our allies.

Steve Newton said...

War is the systematic extermination of the enemy;

Actually, that's the definition of genocide, not war.

Two closely related concepts.

I can see how you might confuse them.