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22 June 2010

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Walrus

Three Australian special forces died last weekend in Afghanistan, and Two Australian infantrymen and a sniffer dog died the week before.

..In a war theater run by this collection of assclowns and REMFS?

"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."

McChrystal must go, but first he can write letters of apology to Eikenberry, Holbrook, the French Government and Vice President Biden.

If Obama is merciful, McChrystal can tender his resignation in person and be allowed to make a public apology at a Whitehouse Press Conference.

Walrus

Too late. McChrystal has resigned.

arbogast

America wants its leaders to "get tough".

McChrystal, lacking the opportunity to get tough on the enemy, gets tough on the President. The President must now get tough on him.

It's all a distraction. A distraction that will undoubtedly end, as planned, with the opening of the third front in Iran, as Obama gets tough on the Iranians.

All the while, the housing market, so called, continues to collapse, unemployment continues to rise, and the rich get richer.

I wonder how long this can last?

peg

i wonder if this is true:

General Stanley McChrystal submits resignation

http://www.stuff.co.nz/nz-newspapers/west-coast-6013/news-6662/3842692/General-Stanley-McChrystal-submits-resignation/

it says it's a Reuters link -- but Reuters own website doesn't have it posted yet

peg

from CNN blog:

[Updated at 4:41 p.m.] Gen. Stanley McChrystal has submitted his resignation, Time magazine's Joe Klein told CNN, citing an unnamed source. CNN is working to confirm Klein's information.

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/22/latest-mcchrystal-developments/

J

Report: Gen. McChrystal has submitted resignation; White House denies

.... "So we could have a situation in which the resignation is there, and it's up to Obama to take it or not."


Stormcrow

Ah.

CNN just told us (4:41 PM update) ..

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/22/latest-mcchrystal-developments/

"Gen. Stanley McChrystal has submitted his resignation, Time magazine's Joe Klein told CNN, citing an unnamed source. CNN is working to confirm Klein's information."

Not yet confirmed, but tentatively, it looks like I was indeed wrong. :)

ike

"back to duty"?
I have no military background, but I'm sure I get it about this mess; seems drop-dead easy.
Even if CIC decided against CM or cashiering these guys, it seems to me that there is no way that they should be allowed to continue duty in AfPak.
I think that should apply in a corporate environment as well.
Yikes, what a cohesional nightmare.
President Obama has done several things in his term that have caused me to think less of him in step-wise fashion; if he doesn't s___can these guys fortwith, whatever I think of him afterward, it ain't likely to be much. (Unless I hear some explanation that I can't imagine.)

Cynthia

Tillman’s mom weighs in:

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0610/Tillman_mother_sought_to_warn_Obama_of_McChrystal.html?showall

markf

I agree with those above whose primary concern is avoiding the COIN swamp in Afghanistan. (I do admit to having no good read on how disruptive the lack of discipline is). I personally fear that giving the COINistas the smokescreen of a McChrystal’s firing would be a political blunder. It would be too easy for them to blame all Afghanistan failures on command disruption, lack of political will, etc. The firing would become an excuse for extending the deadlines which they are currently failing to meet.

I hope that President Obama will see his duty first and foremost as being a political leader. Commander in Chief is only one of his duties. He should, like Lincoln, be willing (not happy) to take what he must in terms of crap from his generals, in order to keep his eye on the country’s long run interests.

Bobo

My view is that McChrystal should of been dealt with by Petraeus already. By not dealing with this Petraus, having allowed this situation to rise to the Presidential level,needs to fall on his sword also, if he is healthy enough.

Now why have Casey, Mullen or Gates not also grabbed this wise ass SOB by the neck and tossed him out on his rear end. He has already had his three chances. This guy may be the greatest soldier on earth but he is tone deaf and his actions are not those of a good leader.

If anything comes out of this hopefuly our soldiers on the ground will get the military support they need in times of action.

Norman Rogers

Being allowed to resign is a privilege he pissed away while riding on a bus from Paris to Berlin while drinking with his staff and a reporter.

This is the man who took away current release films from the REMFs in Afghanistan and tried to instill some austerity by taking away Burger King.

Yes, there is a God, and she has a delightful sense of humor, doesn't she?

B. D. Warbucks

pl,

Looks like Stan and his boys fell in love with their plan.

Always a bad sign.

Talk about "The Man Who Would Be King" . . . . Stan reminds me of the Sean Connery character Daniel Dravot.

But since this IS America, Stan will probably recover to host several action/adventure television shows on History/Discovery channels and have a line of men's outerwear he endorses and models. Of course he will be on the talking head circuit, as well as all over Fox. Oh . . . and lots of military-industrial complex members will want him on their board for the coolness factor.

But I wonder whether his ego and constitution can stand not wearing BDUs? Methinks Stan has not planned for transitioning into the civilian lifestyle, especially in so abrupt a manner. Will a palatial estate in Pinehurst and legions of adoring SOFophants close by keep him sated? Or will he yearn to be part of "The Game" like all the other military celebrity spokesmodels that crowd the airwaves?

graywolf

McChrystal should be fired - for stupid.
Rolling Stone?
Hellooo....
If he can't figure out something this obvious, what kind of general is he?

kao_hsien_chih

No question that McChrystal should be fired, but will the American public be able to appreciate why he has to be fired and why the threat of caesarism is so dangerous to the preservation of liberty in this country? MacArthur, as I understand it, was far more dangerous a man after he was fired. Only after Richard Russell made him look like a supercilious megalomaniac did the political threat that he posed dissipate, or so I heard. Will anyone in today's politics be able to success defang our would-be Caesars (both McChrystal and Petreus) should they get funny ideas?

charlottemom

When I heard this story reported this morning, I knew this was the place to view thoughtful commentary.

Col, yes McCrystal must go no question. My questions are these: 1) who/how many is he representing (obviously there are other officers sharing & communicating his POV.)
2) how does this impact Petraus?
3) is this a bigger issue -- begining of a mutiny among officers -- or merely McCrystal acting on ego

John Minnerath

Lack of judgment, stupidity, ulterior motives?
It doesn't matter, General McChrystal violated Article 88 of the UCMJ, an important tenant of our law of civilian control of the military.
He's been pushing it for a long time.
He has to go and it's the Presidents job to do it. His Staff can be dealt with through regular military channels.
It's unfortunate, but, that's the way it is.

Fred

Meanwhile in the Red Sea, on the way to the Persian Gulf, the US carrier task force and 1 Israeli submarine - war load unknown - tagging along. I wonder what kind of respect the Navy brass has for the CIC. I think Israel's is zero. Hopefully no Ollie North influenced guys are still around.

Margaret Steinfels

Fire McChrstyal and Co., not only for bad judgement but for incompetence. They've lost a war that they said they could win. It wasn't true when they promised, and it is not true now. Karzai's support is proof positive.

Cynthia

Apparently McChrystal and his aides were taking a bus across Europe at the time, due to the volcano in Iceland, and Rolling Stone got extra time with them as a result, by taking the bus with them. There was a good-sized stock of McChrystal's favorite beer on board….

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/how-mcchyrstal-and-co-blew-the-rolling-stone-profile.php?ref=fpa

Lysander

Thanx, Adam Silverman, for the info re:Fallon. He struck me as more of a gentleman officer than McChrystal, but I don't really know.

Funny thing about Fallon, I recall when he was made CENTCOM chief the buzz was that it was in preparation for an attack on Iran. The logic being it would be a primarily naval war. When he was fired, it was because he opposed the always-in-the-future war with Iran. I would love to know how close the Bush admin was to ordering an attack. My guess is not very.

But then again, speaking of guesses, mine regarding McChrystal returning to duty to be the fall guy seems to have been way off the mark.

David E. Solomon

Colonel Lang,

I completely agree that McChrystal should be fired. The real question (which will hopefully be answered tomorrow) is whether or not President Obama is self confident enough to do just that.

The evidence presented in his first year and a half in office appears to make that an unlikely prospect.
However, we shall see.

I believe that if he doesn't have enough gumption to fire McChrystal we will be safe in assuming that he is really nothing but another middle level corporate hack.

Tomorrow will be his last chance to prove otherwise.

Adam L. Silverman

Sir,

Apparently one of the new projected themes, for lack of a better term, is that President Obama should take the resignation letter, bank it, dress McChrystal down, and then send him back to Afghanistan to finish the operation he asked for. I've seen this on two different cable networks tonight, and its in a few places on the Net. The Telegraph (link below) claims they're looking for replacements that can get quick Senate confirmation. Because the only thing we really need to fix this whole mess is a Senate confirmation process with a majority caucus that doesn't understand the concept of party loyalty and a minority party that perfected the concept, especially when in opposition!
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/100044536/breaking-general-stanley-mcchrystal-tenders-his-resignation/

robt willmann

Even though this mess presents the issue of disrespect by a military officer toward civilian authority, I smell a rat.

The Rolling Stone article, and the mass media's reporting of it, is markedly different from the love fest that was Gen. Stanley McChrystal's appointment and his promotion of an escalation of the Afghanistan war.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is found in Title 10, United States Code, Chapter 47, beginning with section 801. Article 88 is Title 10 U.S.C. section 888, and currently states--

"Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

The Secretary of Transportation had been on the list, but was removed in 2002.

I found only one court of appeals opinion from 1945 in the statute's annotations, and there was a law journal article on Article 88 published in 1986 in volume 33, page 1189 of the UCLA Law Review.

Something nasty is going on behind the scenes concerning Afghanistan policy.

One group, revealed today to include television and at least one large newspaper, most likely wants McChrystal out.

A Washington Post article says that Michael Hastings, the author of the Rolling Stone article, is a freelance journalist who has written for the Post, and that the newspaper got the article from Hastings "several hours" before Rolling Stone placed it on the Internet. The Post further says that "Obama was alerted to the article Monday evening when an upset Biden called him and advised him to read it", and, "the article surfaced on the eve of the president's monthly meeting with his top advisors on Afghanistan, which is scheduled to take place Wednesday and includes Biden and many of the other advisers whom McChrystal or his staff mocked."

What a coincidence.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/22/AR2010062200813.html

(The Post article is the 7:05 p.m., 22 June 2010 version)

When McChrystal was first appointed for this job, the usual neocon suspects and mass media seemed pleased, and he sailed through the confirmation hearing without any of the detail of his West Point history or his alleged tolerance of abusive interrogations and complicity in the false explanation of Pat Tillman's death being trumpeted in Congress or the media.

When McChrystal agreed with the escalation of the Afghanistan war as desired by Robert Kagan and others, "his" report was leaked to the press and the "60 Minutes" CBS television program did a shameless puff piece on McChrystal which also promoted the war's escalation, in the obvious effort to bulldoze president Obama into adopting that policy.

The media's massaging of parts of McChrystal's anatomy duplicated that done to Gen. David Petraeus, who got a flattering cover story in Newsweek magazine.

But something has now gone sour. The theme of the Rolling Stone article is that McChrystal is an uppity character who has been so since his days at West Point. Provacative, tantalizing quotes are selected, mostly said by others, directed at certain people -- vice president Biden, Richard Holbrooke, Senators McCain and Kerry, retired Generals Jim Jones and Karl Eikenberry, and the French.

Immediately, television and the Washington Post crank up the volume and the game is on.

One interpretation is that the media is again trying to steamroll president Obama by thinking he does not have the guts to fire McChrystal, and if he does not do so this time, he will never be able to and the crazy Afghan COIN program will go on.

On the other hand, this sudden media attack looks like what was done to Howard Dean after he won Iowa in the Democratic primary in the 2004 presidential race.

If the Washington Post and television media did not want to zap McChrystal, the Rolling Stone article would have been ignored or explained away.

This looks like a mass media hit on McChrystal.

Why?

Is the policy going to change from COIN and to do so will require pushing McChrystal out?

Or is he viewed as no longer reliable on the party line by some and they want him gone?

Or has he diminished the role of people like the despicable Richard Holbrooke, the "special" envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Holbrooke helped initiate the aggressive war against Yugoslavia/Serbia during Bill Clinton's administration by using the old ploy of making Serbia an offer it had to refuse. And do not forget his positions at two Wall Street money broker firms -- vice chairman of Credit Suisse First Boston and managing director of the now defunct Lehman Brothers -- and at the taxpayer bailout queen American International Group (AIG), where he was on the board of directors from 2001 to mid-2008. You know, when AIG got into those garbage securities and other junk paper. It was "unclear" whether the issue of the sleazy "retention" bonuses paid to AIG people ever went before the board of directors on which Poor Richard sat.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/19/obama-envoy-richard-holbr_n_177161.html

McChrystal did rip his pants with his comment about Biden, even in its context of joking about post-speech questions. The Rolling Stone article claims that McChrystal wants to listen to opinions, so I will give him one.

"General, you need to get out of that command while the getting is good. Tell president Obama politely that this incident has created an unnecessary distraction and embarrassment for him, you again apologize for it, and believe that it would be best for all concerned that you be transferred out of the position of commander in Afghanistan. You will assist a new commander with any orientation to the area, and wish to continue your life of service in the U.S. military. General McChrystal, you were quoted in the article that you would die for the guys on your team and they would die for you. I believe that. But you need to understand one thing clearly. Those policy people outside like Robert Kagan, Richard Holbrooke, and assorted neocons: they will not die for you, and they will not die for this country. Those media people who smiled at you and rubbed your back and whispered sweet things in your ear: they left in the middle of the night and you just woke up in a cold bed. If the president wants you to stay, respectfully decline, and say that you are a soldier, you have erred, and you want to make the transition in a way that puts the president in the best light with the public. This is a vicious political game, General, and people over whom you have no authority hold all the cards. This is now about your survival. Discretion is the better part of valor."

arbogast

Oh, Lord, oh Lord.

This from the NY Times:

"All of this is a huge distraction at a time when no one involved in the Afghan war can afford to be distracted.

Instead of answering questions about his media strategy, General McChrystal should be explaining what went wrong with his first major offensive in Marja and how he plans to do better in Kandahar. Instead of General McChrystal having to apologize to Mr. Holbrooke and Mr. Eikenberry, they all should be working a lot harder to come up with a plan for managing relations with Afghanistan’s deeply flawed president, Hamid Karzai. "

Come again? Huh?

Our national interest has been perverted into keeping American shleppers in the Middle East to protect Israel and borrowing trillions of taxpayer dollars to protect financial frauds at home.

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