Friday, November 20, 2009

Should Obama Fire Gen. McChrystal?

By Ray McGovern
November 20, 2009

It is not too late for President Barack Obama to follow the example of Harry Truman, who fired the famous Gen. Douglas MacArthur in 1951 for insubordination. Then, as now, the stakes were high. Then it was Korea; now it is Afghanistan.

Read on.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The military men only know that their "jobs" are military actions.
There is no way the Generals are going to advise shutting down their operations, no matter what the "facts on the p-l-a-n-e-t" are, never mind the facts "on the ground", that tiresome term they tout so religiously.
We know they don't always deliver "facts" that are facts, a la Pat Tillman's death etc. where McChrystal had no hesitation in lying on official forms.
So, I'm not impressed with their credentials and their bullying tactics are quite detestable frankly.

President Obama is in a position to be a great man, but if we let him get bull-dozed without standing with his back, we will fail our country.
Real people, whose taxes pay to decimate Afghanistan and put our soldiers in danger of death are tired of the dark ages policies that make these facts so.
Stop the damn occupations and bring our men and money home. We need the money for actual necessities OVER HERE.

B/R said...

I agree with both the assessments of Ray McGovern and Anonymous. Hearing Ashraf Ghani contend that the Afghani people still welcome American peacekeepers with flowers is something I would like to believe, but he, too, wants to exert power in Afghanistan and cannot do it alone, despite whatever best intentions he might have for his homeland. The lessons of Vietnam are not for learning. And just as China should not have been "our war" under Harry Truman, Afghanistan need not be our endless U.S. albatross today.

boredwell said...

Finally, a voice of pragmatism and reason. By all means, the president's coming off as lily-livered. I would have sacked McChrystal from the get go. Afterall, he orchestrated the Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman farces. Why agree with anything the self-serving, self-righteous general says?! Look, we are infidel invaders; Karzai's government is weak and obstructive; the terrorists continue their incursions; the country is vast and remote and the people impoverished. How can COIN protect them AND win this counterproductive war? We are wasting time and money and worst the lives of our troops. Let's end this quagmire now, Mr President. Begin with making McChrystal redundant.

FBO said...

As a Danish citizen I agree very much with Ray Mcgoverns description of Mr. Rasmussen; it is utterly disturbing and disgraceful that he as a former Prime Minister in Denmark ever got appointed the seat as Nato General Secretary. As former leader of the centre-right coalition govt. for many years, his popularity in Denmark was never high. He is genuinely pragmatic and intelligent but also great admirer of the neocon movement, depriving the Danish society of most of its once sympathetic features in the aftermath of 9/11.
I am not at all proud of Mr. Rasmusen being a Dane and head of Nato; to me he is totally deprived of human dignity AND should be held accountable for engaging Denmark in the "War on Terror" on false premises.

libhom said...

Of course he should fire McChrystal.

chmoore said...

My take on Afghanistan is that it's a war most likely being fought over economic control of the fossil fuel reserves in the wider area there, as well as their transportation to markets.

I don't personally have the resources to prove this, but I'm surprised how little attention is given to the fact that the whole area is a hotbed of pipeline contruction and contracts - not hard to find on petroleum and natural gas industry/trade websites.

That in itself doesn't prove that's what we're fighting for; but c'mon, does anyone really believe we're doing all this to promote democracy, or defend the homeland against terrorists?

As far as I can tell, the homeland is currently protected by the border patrol and the coast guard, while our honorable soldiers get sent out on fool's errands, to muck up the world at the bidding of armchair strategists who've never had to execute actual missions themselves, or bury the results.

Increasing troops will do only one thing - create the need for them to stay, and generate future requests for even more. Let's just back the f*** out, come home and build ourselves a sustainable alternative energy future of our own. Then later, we could level the trade imbalance by selling the results of that back to the Chinese.

John L.Opperman said...

Far too often, in both corporate and military ranks, incompetent toe-suckers are kicked upstairs to get them out of the way of the real performers.
Even those who Truely know their narrow specialties are downright ignorant/stupid of common everyday sense, Re: George Herbert Walker Bush's amazement when he "discovered" the magic marvel of supermarket checkout price-readers. That's not an isolated case. Many if not most "leaders" are totally isolated from normalcy. This applies to generals as well.
~John L.

Bill from Saginaw said...

When General Douglas MacArthur's back channel contacts and partisan manuevering with key Republican politicians were discovered by the Truman White House, Harry had the cajones to sack an immensely charismatic public figure, risking intense political backlash in the process. Despite a great flurry of Cold War sabre rattling and demagoguery from the right wing of the GOP, the old soldier came home, took his victory lap, and did simply then just fade, fade away.

MacArthur's insubordinate foray into partisan politics while on active duty, and Harry Truman's courageous response upholding the principle of civilian control over military policy decision making, should guide Obama as he grapples with the decision that inevitably must be made on Afghanistan. What's different in today's political climate is that guys like Petraeus and McChrystal brazenly wear their partisanship openly on their uniform sleeves, while a chorus of pundits and civilian politicos delight in recasting life and death public policy issues as a personality horse race contest: will the good General will be given the tools he needs to achieve victory, or will the General will be cravenly stabbed in the back? Stay tuned.

The most enduring legacy of the Bush/Cheney era may well turn out to be the overt entry of prominent active duty soldiers and career professional spies like Robert Gates into the daily give-and-take sandbox of beltway partisan politics. If Barack Obama does not recognize the enormous dangers in letting guys like Petraeus, McChrystal, and Gates frame his policy options and then tag team up with the GOP's right wing, then the Rubicon has already been crossed.

Bill from Saginaw