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03 October 2009

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Sean McBride

Isn't McChrystal just another neocon op? One of his key advisers is Frederick Kagan. The lead think tank promoting an expansion of the Afghanistan War is the FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative), which some observers havetagged as PNAC 2.0 -- the usual neocon suspects.

Farmer Don

"He lost that fight to Eisenhower and spent the rest of his long life brooding in the Waldorf Towers."
When he ruled post war Japan he also lived in the penthouse of the tallest building in I think Tokyo.
Also reminds me of Lord of the Rings, or Howard Hughes in Vegas.
A craving for the dramatic

JohnH

It's hard to begrudge a man who wants the resources to do his job. Many of us have been placed in untenable situations by bosses who refuse to provide the minimum required for success.

If McChrystal feels he's being set up for failure, he should just quit...or be fired.

Unfortunately, it seems he's being egged on by authoritarians in the conservative movement, who would not be at all averse to a military coup.

Clifford Kiracofe

Well McCh. may believe he has the backing of enough of the US foreign policy establishment that he is not concerned.

His year with the imperial grand lodge of US foreign policy, the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, may have induced some delusions of more than grandeur.

Noting that the resident Council of Foreign Relations "expert" on Afghanistan is among the pro-escalation types with grandiose strategic ideas, McCh. may feel he has some support in the councils of The Council.

Meanwhile, Max Boot, the Russian Neo-Con, pens this article for the Wall Street Journal (naturally) which is of course carried at the Council on Foreign Relations website:

"If his experiment succeeds, future commanders can build on the precedent to provide the kind of cultural and linguistic skills that we will need to win the long war against Islamic extremists."..
http://www.cfr.org/publication/19653/general_mcchrystals_new_way_of_war.html

For Boot: "Mr. Boot is a senior fellow in national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is currently writing a history of guerrilla warfare":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Boot

Paul

McChristal's disdain for Obama is obvious: just look at McChrystal's posture in the photo. On top of that he shows up for a meeting with the Commander in Chief in his jungle bunny garb. Perhaps Obama is not sensitive enough to this kind of thing.

William R. Cumming

Law Schools teach law primarily by the case method and Socratic Eluskus [sic]! The latter being questioning before adoption of a position. In many ways this training reinforces passive-agressiveness. This is the President's background and real professional training. Bottom line is analyze and analyze some more but then make a decision. From what I have heard about his pick-up basketball play those who have no "fear" of consequences with the President may end up getting bitten harder than they thought possible. It is interesting so far, however, that is surface calm and restraint, which brought him to the Presidency may indicate intense self-control and maybe something else. Still too early to tell for sure but it will be interesting to find out what the President really believes requires intestinal fortitude of over his opposition which appears to be growing. Personally I think he is poorly advised so some purging after the 1st year looks like could be useful signalling technique to shape up or ship out so to speak. No real administration or personal contacts with the President so all the above just IMO!

Harper

Colonel,

The IISS speech really does seem to be totally over the top, as well as his appearance on Sixty Minutes last Sunday, where he made a similar pitch for a major troop buildup. The level of tolerance for this behavior was, I guess, telegraphed, when the McChrystal report was leaked to Bob Woodward and posted on the Washington Post website, in what seems a pretty blatant effort to impose a decision upon the President. Is there even an investigation into the leak?

The day after the McChrystal report was leaked, Fred and Kimberly Kagan delivered their "private" proposal for a 45,000 troop buildup in 2010, backed by the American Enterprise Institute. No mention was made of the fact that the Kagans were on the McChrystal team that drafted the report, in the first place. Was the Kagan plan part of the same coordinated leak scheme as the delivery of the McChrystal report to Woodward? Isn't this reminiscent of the AEI "surge" plan in Iraq, which was a counter to the Iraq Study Group? Same players, same modus operandi, same intent.

Fortunately, I understand that there is skepticism among to the national security principals around the President over the McChrystal report and recommendations. As I understand it, Biden is the most outspoken voice, challenging many of the underlying assumptions and assertions of "fact" in the McChrystal report; but Gen. Jones, along with Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates, are also skeptical (contrary to today's newspaper leaks) about any troop buildup, so long as there is no clearly articulated strategy, mission and exit plan. And the lack of credibility of Karzai, who will likely be ratified as President, adds to the mess. And the so-called Afghan Army is actually a revival--in new uniforms--of the Northern Alliance, which waged civil war versus the Taliban/Pashtun tribes. 70 percent of the officers are Tajiks, and the desertion rate among the Pashtun soldiers runs between 45-60 percent.

One factor that is left out of the equation too often, is the issue of "sticker shock." With an estimated $23 trillion already sunk or pledged for the bailout of the banks, with unemployment skyrocketing as never before, and with a commercial real estate blowout far worse than the housing bubble blowout, on the immediate horizon, can we afford another multi-trillion dollar war with no clear strategic purpose? I know there are alternative proposals, other than a total pullout or a total escalation, that need to be considered. With the apparent positive developments in the talks in Geneva with Iran, there are possibilities of regional security cooperation, to contain the Taliban problem, without a 400-600,000 strong coin program.

N. M. Salamon

ALL
Either the people who promoted/advancing Gen McChrystal never heard of the Peter Principle, or Gen Mc\Chrystal is being set up by his immediate boss, Gen. Petreus, for taking the dive as the sacrificial atonement [for the admitted impopssibility of winning in Afganistan sans 500 000 troops, which is not in the cards]. Gen Petreus is protectiong his flank, for failure is under his watch. The only pertinent question is what the pay off would be from the neocon backers of General Petreus!

Harper is right, the populus and the politicians [sans neo-cons] know thzt there is no war possible oif OFFICIAL UNEMPLOYMENT IS 10%, whereas the unofficial unemplyment rate is past 17% today.

The rest is posturing.

J

Colonel,

It's all about 'brazenness' of the far-right crowd/Neocons that have burrowed themselves into the Pentagon over the past 8 years. It is 'them' that are the cheerleaders of disarray for anything other than 'their agenda' which is to keep U.S. in an AFPAK quagmire.

ritamary

McChrystal was always the wrong person for this job. McChrystal was involved in the cover up of NFL player-turned-Army Ranger Pat Tillman's death in a case of friendly fire. Why were early reports of Tillman's death covered up, why were his clothes and field journal burned and destroyed? Why did McChrystal approve Tillman's posthumous Silver Star, a medal given for combat? What was McChrystal's involvement with abuse and torture of prisoners at Camp Nama?

Obama gave McChrystal a promotion with these questions unanswered. Was Obama oblivious to McChrystal's record or is Obama's judgment just so poor? Not one better person was available to take total control of US operations in Afghanistan?

Fred

It's a bad idea to grow a wishbone where one needs a spine. I'm beginning to wonder which one Obama has given the passing events of the continued Wall Street welfare, national health care and now the resurgence of the neocons.

Hopefully someone will put a copy of the Constitution in McChrystal's morning briefing papers. If his conduct continues Obama should fire him. Let the neo-cons howl. They haven't won a war since they invaded Grenada. They are damn good at impeaching presidents. Lets see if they really want President Biden.

The points made about current US economic conditions are well made; however, none of the neocon elite are affected due to their personal wealth or sinecures inside the conservative think tanks or other such organizations.

Brian Hart

The one thing McChrystal could do to help the war effort and the one thing he is good at per Iraq is assassination. Kill OBL and Omar. Just do it.

With the posturing for troop levels he won't get because American can't give them without a draft or taxes. Add to this the silence of Petraeus who is setting up Obama to lose Afghanistan while Petraeus poses as the victor of Iraq..?

Why doesn't McChrystal get to the dirty business at hand of killing OBL or Omar with his special task forces? Do it. Just do it McChrystal.

Sidney O. Smith III

Photograph says all, which is too much.

If McCrystal is monkish, then some abbot of the venerable George Marshall order needs to yank McCrystal aside and tell him in no uncertain terms that the state is getting ready to excommunicate him for committing grave errors if he doesn’t change his ways.

In civilian language, it is sometimes referred to as a “come to Jesus meeting” -- a phrase I never quite understood. Perhaps I am too patriarchal, but a more apropos phrase, at least to me, is that if McCrystal acts, not to mention dresses, like that again in front of the POTUS, a constitutional and civilian YHWH will smote thee while the world laughs.

Petraeus as the Byzantine boss. I don‘t know as it is beyond me. But I have an increasing respect and admiration for the Greek Orthodox Church, ’specially with its take on the original sin business, among other things. I don’t know how they would defrock Petraeus but defrock they will and certainly can do. Can’t help but believe they would do so partly in honor of Our Lady of the Sign -- an icon that says all but points to much more too.

par4

Treason and sedition are in the air.

alnval

Col. Lang:

The character and kind of conflict that we assume exists between President Obama and Gen. McChrystal truly makes me sympathetic to Henry’s problems with Becket. The parallels are compelling. Becket’s legalistic and virtually unbending reliance on orthodoxy to cope with the problems of governance after Henry made him Chancellor must have given Henry fits. Becket also believed that his power base as Archbishop of Canterbury gave him the latitude to ignore Henry’s wishes. Moreover, Becket was intimately connected through his family with the merchants of London and is believed by many to have been more loyal to his mercantile interests than he was to the King who made him Chancellor.

Should Obama end up defrocking McChrystal one can only hope that the parallel does not require Obama to do public penance at the Pentagon.

fasteddiez

Perhaps a George Marshall oportunity is at hand.
Promote B.Gen McMaster to 4 star (His Qualifications....most importantly, he wrote "Dereliction of Duty.") Then, give him the Af/Pak portfolio. Platoons of Army Generals will have to retire.

For a Coup de grace, shitcan Petraeus and replace him with someone like Mattis or Cartwright.

Jon T.

How does Mr. Obama play hoops (for W. Cumming)

My guess is straight up, hard nosed, full bore and full of humor and perseverance both.

Body language in all the photos I've seen between these two is tense with The General appearing to want to establish dominance and The President saying "Listen, I can be a tough guy too. I'd rather talk it through though and hear you, and others, on this and then we'll come up with a plan."

N'est ce pas?

WILL

The Byzantines done themselves in far more than the Seljuk Turks. When Romanos IV Diogenes lost to and was captured by Alp Arslan at the battle of Manzikert in 1071 he was set free and given generous terms. It was his fellow Byzantine relatives that blinded him, reneged on the treaty, and wound up losing the Anatolian heartland. That was the beginning of the end of the Eastern Roman Empire. Thus when the term Byzantine is used pejoratively it refers to such deviousness and not to the Orthodox Church.

A question about employment. When all the reservists and National Guardsman come back, can the economy absorb them? Right, I know by law their employers are supposed to have kept their jobs open. How long has these GWOT been going on? Since 9.11.2001?

Bobo

I would hope all would give McChrystal a little more time or rope to see if he can find/agree on a middle ground as that is the political direction we are heading with our Afghanistan strategy. I look at his meeting with Obama as a moment of absolution of his past sins setting a clear path forward.

To me the man is a soldier of the finest kind not adroit at the political gamesmanship he has been trying to play and actually may have been duped in a minor way.

His assessment did not say much as to his CT intent and most likely was redacted. Hopefully he can enhance this aspect, which seems to be his forte, in his battle plan for Afghanistan

Babak Makkinejad

Clifford Kiracofe

I think you are conferring too much prominence on CFR. Its hay days were 1940 and 1950s.

CFR seems now to be a hodge-podge of people with a variety of ideological agendas; with few being analytically capable of approaching reality with dispassion. Just look at that fellow, Max Boot.

ex-PFC Chuck

As I recall, when the increased commitment of forces to Afghanistan and McChrystal's appointment to command the operation was announced by President Obama last spring, he used language that tightly delimited the mission's scope. But when McChrystal arrived in Kabul, he'd hardly been on the ground long enough for his boots to get dusty before he was talking to the press about a nation building project far beyond what the commander in chief had said. It sure looks like the general went over there to play the role of the camel's nose under the edge of the tent.

Regarding General Petraeus' political future, if any, I am reminded of his wife's comment quoted in a biographical piece I read about him a while back. It was to the effect that "Well, if he decides to run he'll be doing it with a new wife." Of course, many a political wife has said something similar but then resigned herself to the inevitable.

Richard Armstrong

The photo of McChrystal meeting with his Commander-In-Chief wearing his Class 3 uniform instead of his dress greens really shocked me.

I guess things have really changed in the Army since my discharge.

When one is having a formal meeting with their Commander-In-Chief I think it is the epitome of arrongance not to wear one's dress greens.

I'll bet my bottom dollar that when he speaks to Congress (and he will) that he wears his greens and all of his fruit salad on his chest.

matter

McC should be fired. Immediately. Is it going to be Obama? Or is it going to continue to be Obambi?

What a giant disappointment so far.

Clifford Kiracofe

"In a speech in London on Thursday, Gen. Stanley McChrystal publicly intervened in the debate over Afghanistan...."

So was this authorized by the White House? Did NSC clear and authorize this? Was this run through the Department of State for clearance?

Or can imperials pimps from the Pentagon just prance around the world in uniform giving provocative speeches which bear directly on our foreign relations?

Stanley The Pimp (apologies to Frank):

Frank Zappa:Willie the pimp lyrics

"I'm a little pimp with my hair gassed back
Pair a khacki pants with my shoes shined black..."

arbogast

Here's the lead paragraph in the story in today's Times about the deaths of 8 Americans in Afghanistan in a single action:

"Insurgents besieged two American outposts in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, American and Afghan officials said, killing eight Americans and two Afghan policemen in a bold daylight strike that was the deadliest for American soldiers in more than a year."

Do you know what "Insurgents" means? It means we don't know who the [rhymes with truck] killed our soldiers.

We're fighting "insurgents"? C'mon. We're sending young men and women to be killed by "insurgents"?

This is insanity.

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