Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Commander in Chief VS. The General
"The entire COIN strategy is a fraud perpetuated on the American people," says Douglas Macgregor, a retired colonel and leading critic of counterinsurgency who attended West Point with McChrystal. "The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense."
For the most part I tend to shy away from the "it story" of the day...figuring you can read about it anywhere, but McChrystal-gate is just way too nuanced (and quite frankly: juicy) to ignore.
First, don't just figure you have the gist of the article because of all the news reports you've seen...go read it for yourself (I realize it's 6 pages, but worth the time investment).
The first thing that I was glad to hear was that McChrystal had voted for Obama. Now I don't have to have any sympathy for him and/or his plight and I find it easier to think about current events when I can remove emotion/empathy from the equation. He, a General, thought Obama would make a better Commander in Chief than John McCain. Just...Wow.
While reading the article, you definitely get the impression that Joe Biden is the punchline of a running joke with the General and his aides. If they said everything that they did in front of the Rolling Stone reporter...imagine what they say when no one is around...
"The general's staff is a handpicked collection of killers, spies, geniuses, patriots, political operators and outright maniacs. There's a former head of British Special Forces, two Navy Seals, an Afghan Special Forces commando, a lawyer, two fighter pilots and at least two dozen combat veterans and counterinsurgency experts. They jokingly refer to themselves as Team America, taking the name from the South Park-esque sendup of military cluelessness, and they pride themselves on their can-do attitude and their disdain for authority."
And that brings us to the "source." How many times have I blogged about Rolling Stone over over the past 6 years? Like the time I looked up EVERY SINGLE Rolling Stone cover published from 2000-2008 and reported back to you that there had been 7 covers featuring a political figure -It is supposed to be a MUSIC mag after all- and only one of the 7 was a Republican...a cartoon caricature of George Bush in a dunce cap with a headline that read Worst President Ever?
So now this glaringly (admittedly?) left-wing MUSIC magazine will determine the fate of the war in Afghanistan? A MUSIC magazine reporter is trusted enough for the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES summons the top General to leave the war and come back to the White House to be scolded. I guess because Obama was featured twice of those seven Rolling Stone covers... Robert Gibbs said O! was 'angry' when he read the article. I can only imagine the temper tantrum that resulted in an immediate flight home for McChrystal.
This is one of those 'The Onion' moments where reality is kookier than anything a bunch of former D&D geeks could dream up...A General to be removed during the time of war because of a MUSIC magazine.
But ya know, at the end of the day I gotta say...McChrystal, you voted for him.