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22 June 2010

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cletracsteve

TTG echos my first thought. The chain-of-command should resolve this. McChrystal should NEVER make it to the White House. My real question is why the CIC needs to summon him? Does CENTCOM not have the authority to act (if necessary with directive from higher up)? What aggravates this is that we are legally at war.

Russ Wagenfeld

Firing him might facilitate an exit strategy and serve as a wake-up call for others...

J Morris

Prediction: Obama keeps McC. Then leaks story that he wanted to fire him, but Biden persuaded him not to.

rjj

Fifth question: objective?

Demagogically more can be done with the label "maverick" than with "quitter" or "failure."

"Mad" Mike Adams

I remember back on 03 October 2009 when the Prophet Col.Pat made a prediction:

"I will make a prediction. If McChrystal does not learn to subordinate himself to something other than his vision of what is right and true, he is going to get fired."

snip>

"McChrystal was summoned from England to a 25 minute meeting with the president aboard Air Force 1. He showed up in field uniform? He owns a set of Greens (Class A uniform). He wore it in London to the IISS meeting. The man does not seem to know his place. pl"

From: "A General's Public Pressure" - Ackerman
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2009/10/a-generals-public-pressure-ackerman.html#more

I would prefer Obama fire the entire chain of command and transfer all the Courtney Massingills(sic) to the Alaskan Front. However, like PirateLaddie I don't think Obama has the huevos to take the opportunity.

Lysander

I'm very intrigued by FB Ali's suggestion up-thread that McChrystal is looking to get fired. If so, I wouldn't be surprised if Obama finds a way to keep him in place. Put McChrystal in an awkward photo-op where he apologizes in some humiliating way. Where Obama says something like "The Afghan mission is too important for pettiness" and then...back to duty.

If I understand this correctly, the Afghanistan War is now a matter of assigning blame, rather than pursuing victory. Obama plans on assigning the blame to McChrystal and he wont be wiggling out of it.

Let's face it, if he was going to be fired, why call him to the White House? Why not do it on the spot? IIRC, that's exactly what happened to admiral Fallon, and I don't think he insulted the President or VP.

icr

Yeah, we have to be careful. If this stupid , obscenely bloated empire suddenly collapses it could result in the kind of human disasters that took place in Europe after WW1.

Meanwhile, the BHO administration declares war against an uppity remnant of the historic American nation in AZ.

Thomas

Should the Staffers face Article 88 too?

As the discussion here the past weeks were on the failure of Marjah,that the overall strategy was not going to work, and Stanley was going to take the fall, may this be his way of jumping off? Especially if Richard Bruce and his political cult was offering a nice nomination to contest 2012.

Mike

"Admiral Byng comes to mind. pl"

Didn't Byng get shot at dawn? "Quelquefois, il faut tirer des amiraux pour encourager les autres". A mite drastic, though, surely.

SD

Amazing. Makes me think other episodes such as Gen.Singlaub and Carter.

And episode in the early Clinton era:

"Maj Gen Harold N. Campbell

Article 88 of the UCMJ reads as follows: “Any officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, Vice President, Congress, Secretary of Defense, or a Secretary of a Department, a Governor or a legislature of any State, Territory, or other possession of the United States . . . shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”23

As speaker at the 32d Fighter Group’s maintainers-of-the-year awards banquet on 24 May 1993 near Soesterberg Air Base in the Netherlands, General Campbell referred to President Bill Clinton as “draft-dodging,” “pot-smoking,” and “womanizing,” which were, of course, contemptuous words in anybody’s lexicon. Campbell’s remarks were apparently intended as a humorous preface to his prepared remarks, but some of the attendees thought they were anything but funny and reported them up the chain.24

President Clinton told reporters he was not offended personally by the remarks, but that “for a general officer to say that about the Commander in Chief . . . is a very bad thing.”25 However, the White House was not anxious to see the public court-martial of a distinguished combat veteran on such charges—General Campbell’s war record included one thousand combat flying hours in Vietnam plus award of the Silver Star and five Distinguished Flying Crosses. Offered nonjudicial punishment under UCMJ Article 15 in lieu of a court-martial, General Campbell decided to accept it, receiving a permanent written reprimand and a fine equivalent to a month’s pay. Though told to put in his retirement papers, he retained his major general’s rank"

Many other historical examples of A.F. (Army Air Force) and officers speaking out and the limitations and conflicts here:

The Speech Rights
of Air Professionals
http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj98/fal98/mathews.html
by
Col Lloyd J. Matthews, USA, Retired

----
As for Stan.... How could you not relieve him... and would that not be CENTCOM Petraeus job? Eikenberry was right.

Bobby Murray

[..]"Throughout my long service life in the Department of Defense, first as an army officer and then as a member of the Defense Intelligence Senior Executive Service, there was a phrase in common usage: "I will fall on my sword over that." It meant that the speaker had reached a point of internal commitment with regard to something that his superiors wanted him to do and that he intended to refuse even though this would be career suicide. The speaker preferred career death to the loss of personal honor.

This phrase is no longer widely in use." [..]

Opening paragraph and beginning of 2nd paragraph from "Drinking the Kool Aid"
by W. Patrick Lang, Mid East Policy Journal, summer 2004

http://www.mepc.org/journal_vol11/0406_lang.asp

batondor

Pat,

Now that I've seen the depth of your concern as expressed in the commentary that you added after the initial post, I am all the more confident with my previous contribution as it concerns General McCrystal (though I am wondering whether you would include some of his aides in that demarche...).

On the other hand, I want to be clear that I personally believe that the harm done is just as great, if not greater, for those serving under the General in Afghanistan as for the fundamental matter that you discuss - civilian control of the military. On that point, I am quite confident that President Obama will take that matter in hand directly (unlike his predecessor...).

Regarding David Kilcullen, however, I have had some reservations because I must admit that in the past I have found him to be quite lucid if still all too willing to comply with the relatively grandiose and integrated vision that Petraeus and others cast for COIN. Rather than ask the obvious questions about Kilcullen as an individual, a more general inquiry, however banal, came to mind after I read your post on "The Gizab Good Guys and the Greenies": would you agree that "winning hearts and minds" in the disaggregated sense that you envision is ephemeral - and perhaps futile - if some form of unifying political vision is absent but that the presence of a central objective and/or authority is not enough in and of itself?

I apologize if that second point is a bit off topic, but I kept coming back to it each time that Robert Gibbs returned to a fundamental truth during his daily press briefing: in the end, this is not about General McCrystal or even about President Obama... but rather it is about a difficult mission in a far off land that was never going to be easy but that certainly has not been helped by these distractions...

Howler

A few observations;
This is not the first time McChrystal has been summoned 'front and center' to explain his actions to Obama. You'd think he'd learn.
Lot of talkradio flapdoodle that most of the comments were from staff. Of course, staff invariably reflect the views of the boss.
And last, Rolling Stone? Good grief. Why not Mother Jones?

Cloned Poster

A good General fighting an unfuckable winnable war/coin.
He should be fired, but let's look at the long-term picture, he's just expressing views that are understood by anyone who understands Afghanistan is a basket-case idea.

Patrick Lang

All

I don't think he is looking to be fired. He is a typical egomaniac and thought Obama could be intimidated. we w ill see if he was right.

Yes. Everyone quoted in the interview should be subject to Article 88.

Batondor

All human experience is ephemeral. If we were willing to stay in Afghanistan for a hundred years and spend a trillion dollars there, then I would be interested in having a 'political vision" for the place. pl

Jackie

Bright and early this morning when I read about this I was 150% that Stan the Man had to go ala McArthur. On further reflection, I want his bratty, sassy staff members gone, too.

I'm sure Obama has the spine to take him out and has a responsibility to do it so the military knows who is in charge.

Synoia

Admiral Byng was tried for cowardice in the face of the enemy.

If he'd slagged off the crown, it would have been tries as treason.

Brian Hart

There were a number of gold star families that were against his nomination because he lied about Pat Tillman and got away with it.

This isn't the first time McChrystal dissed the President in public either.

That he seems willing to snark at most everybody he has to work with in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US civilian government demonstrates to me a great weakness in character as a leader.

He has to go.

Frankly its also time for Sec. Gates to go. I respect Gates immensely and appreciate the work he did to clean up Rumsfeld's mess and put some integrity and common sense back into that position.

But the reality is that McChrystal should not have been put in this position and when problems unfolded last fall the Sec of Def or Petraeus should have hauled him in.

Now President Obama will have to do it.

Ten Americans died in Afghanistan in the last few days. I would not want to be one of those families, that got a knock at the door yesterday and who turns on the TV today to witness McChrystal's insubordination.

GregB

Many interesting happenings in Afghanistan.

Do we know what went on politically in Russia in the run up to their decision to get out of Dodge/Kabul?

It's just a number of issues seem to be coming to the fore at this time.

Do these matters portend a grand unraveling?

*General Petreaus has his fainting moment in front of Congress.

*The NY Times runs the piece on the reported gold mines and lithium bonanza in Afghanistan.

*Reports that the business formerly known as Blackwater just landed a 100 plus million contract.

*Reports that the head of Xe/Blackwater may be moving to Dubai.

Now this McClusterfuck.

Interesting times.

William R. Cumming

Well I was not familiar with the exact wording of ARTICLE 88 but looks somewhat amended after time I served when the company grade officers were practically in open rebellion agains the President and his lackeys in the ARMY of 68-70! But hey let's see PL if your are correct and been a while unless I am wrong to see a flag rank court martialed. Of course "contemptuous" is a very poor word to have chosen for employment in the UCMJ IMO! Also where is the Chain of Command on this one? How about court martialing all who knew about it and remained silent?

Nancy K

General McChrystal is an embarrassment. President Obama needs to put him in his place and let him know who was elected President of the US and who is the CIC. If Obama is unable to do this, I agree with others that he is a 1 term President.
Perhams McCrystal feels he is the man for the job.

BillWade

Karzai and his brother think McChrystal is the greatest thing since sliced cheese, maybe McChrystal can become CINC of the Afghan Army.

Adam L. Silverman

Greg B: I would recommend this paper by Dr. Grau:
http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/Withdrawal.pdf

It should provide some of the answers, or at least lead you to new questions, regarding your question about what went on with Russia's pull out of Afghanistan.

Adam L. Silverman

Lysander: ADM Fallon's situation is one of those "its the same, but different". It seemed pretty clear that ADM Fallon was doing what COL Lang described in his MEPJ piece as "falling on his sword". The interview he gave, and the criticisms he leveled, were really focused on the Bush Administration's positions towards Iran. Unless he eventually comes out, or one of his senior aides does, and explains why he did what he did, it will always be up for speculation, but from the interview, to follow up interviews about what he said, to his retirement he pretty clearly stymied the pursuit of military movement regarding Iran.

Phil Giraldi

The real problem is that senior officers are now obsessed with plotting their own careers rather than actually achieving something. It is true both at DOD and at the CIA, where I once rested my head. I love the awards and other accolades the system showers on the senior ranks. I watched Audie Murphy in To Hell and Back over Memorial day. At the end, he was shown in his dress uniform with all his decorations (he was the most decorated soldier in WW2). He had a couple of rows. Petraeus and company have row after row after row of decorations which probably include a medal for something like handling power point presentations really well.

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