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General McChrystal-Some Perspective on Recent Events

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posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 10:43 AM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

The death of a warrior - physically or politically, is always a sad event, particularly when he has served so honorably for so many years.  However, GEN McChrystal's increasing challenge of the political estate, measured or unmeasured, has reached a level that can no longer be countenanced. He got a warning in Copenhagen last October from the highest member in the chain of command, yet he has been unable or unwilling to contain his ego and self assurance.  We simply cannot imbue young officers with the principle of civil control over the military on the one hand, yet, have it violated so publicly and repeatedly by such a senior military commander on the other.   The Rolling Stone article (link below) is the latest representation of the violation and is the talk of Washington and NATO capitals today.  We saw the problem brewing with his challenge of Eikenberry's position last summer; then watched it continue with his close and undercutting relationship with Karzai for the past few months and the increasingly combative relationships with Eikenberry, Holbrooke and VP Biden.

The representations in the RS article, if accurate, show a leader whose ego is out of control and whose closest staff advisors are unable (or unwilling) to provide grounding.  Some will say McChrystal's situation is the reason why those from the special operations track, trained to improvise in unstructured environments, don't adjust well to the more structured and political hierarchy of the Army, in which consensus building and political relationships become important factors.  Others will say it is an occasional illness that has appeared throughout history resulting from the allure of power that is synonymous with generalship.  Regardless, GEN McChrystal has served the nation too long and too honorably for anyone to feel anything but sadness.

The course of events of the past few months in AfPak have made it increasingly clear to the Administration that it would have been better siding with the majority opinion of the foreign policy community last fall instead of the military command structure when deciding whether to embrace the McChrystal nation building strategy versus an exit strategy.  Now the US is mired more deeply in the conflict and we find a major objective of the government we are supporting is to prevent us from finding any exit ramp.  One would have thought that realization would have diluted the bravado of the nation building supporters rather than fueled it.

Beyond the situation in which the US is mired and the ability to wrestle any intermediate stability in Afghanistan, I am concerned for the hard won stature in which the public now holds the military as an institution and for their support for soldiers who serve.  This will also weaken the President and, as we have discussed before on ATS, it is also never good for the nation, domestically or internationally, when the president losses the support of the American people. If he had any support to begin with that is.

I anticipate GEN McChrystal will be relieved very shortly. Painful as that will be, dealing with the AfPak mess will be far more painful in a world that increasingly challenges America's influence, resolve and capabilty. Below I have linked the original RS article and reaction articles from around the world so as to show the kind of impact this sort of thing has on our legitimacy and our efforts world wide.

The Runaway General
Rolling Stone, 22Jun10, by Michael Hastings

Obama Has to Fire McChrystal
TheAtlantic, 22Jun10, by James Fallows

Two Reactions on Civil-Military Relations
The Atlantic, 22Jun10, by James Fallows

US general summoned to Washington, 22Jun10

Gen McChrystal made 'enormous mistake': WH (Pakistan newspaper), 23Jun10

White House Calls McChrystal Comments "Enormous Mistake", 23Jun10, by Jiang Aitao

Top U.S. General Under Fire

General McChrystal: What will Obama do with 'the runaway general'?
Christian Science Monitor, 22Jun10, by Peter Grier

The Night Beat: What the Heck Was McChrystal Thinking?
The Atlantic, 21Jun10, by Marc Ambinder

The Shame of Stanley McChrystal
The Atlantic, 22Jun10, by Jeffrey Goldberg

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

[edit on 23-6-2010 by projectvxn]

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 10:59 AM
Obama is doing the right thing, despite the knee jerkers blubbering here.
Why did Truman fire Gen. MacArthur?
Here's why!

''I fired him because he wouldn't respect the authority of the President. I didn't fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that's not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.''

The same applies to this clown, no matter who is President, the chain of command is to be respected.
The military is subordinate to the civil as mandated by The Constitution.
The militarydoes not make foreign policy, it carries out the policy from the Congress and The President.

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:12 AM
reply to post by OldDragger

Obama's bumbling through his foreign policy personnel has caused this and the instability in Af-Pak. In an environment where you have political leadership ignoring facts for political cover it is no surprise that we have created a 'MacArthur moment' like this.

If Obama had actually listened to the foreign policy people who were telling him that Af-Pak is a money pit and useless venture, we wouldn't be in this mess, and McChrystal would have long ago been contained.

There's plenty of blame to go around.

[edit on 23-6-2010 by projectvxn]

[edit on 23-6-2010 by projectvxn]

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:21 AM
Obama may indeed be dead wrong, he may have bumbled in his choices, but he did not cause the General to publicly mock his superiours
If McChrystal had such grave concerns, he could have been tacitly relieved of command ( if he requested it it), he could have resigned, he could have taken several different courses. The point is not "is the President correct", but that The President IS THE President, the Commander in Chief.
Nobody is to blame for General McChrystals actions but General McChrystal.

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:32 AM
reply to post by OldDragger

We should avoid oversimplifying this situation. This man, this situation, and the environment surrounding it are all very complicated.

The administration has been, since taking over the Af-Pak problem, creating a gap in communication between senior military personnel, diplomatic personnel, and civilian leadership. This kind of chaos CAN ONLY lead to those on the ground to begin
making their own decisions and policy changes, especially since the Admin and those who prosecute this war for them, are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. If you read this RS article this is explained quite clearly.

There's a self imposed power vacuum in our leadership in Af-Pak. We are in way over our heads and no one actually knows what to do about it. You breed a lot of frustration, anger, and outbursts like this should be expected as a result.

We need to get our # together out there and in Washington and this whole saga has been a huge wake up call to many out there. These waking startles are making people realize that the Af-Pak conflict has lost all credibility.

We should be coming home soon as this situation deteriorates. I just don't think people understand why this is such a big story.

Aside from all of that, yes, indeed he is responsible for his own actions. But, as I said, the environment our 'leadership' has created led to this.

[edit on 23-6-2010 by projectvxn]

[edit on 23-6-2010 by projectvxn]

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:46 AM
The recent news of the outspoken General McChrystal, is not an isolated event in the history of The United States military. From the differences of Lincoln and McClellan, Truman and MacArthur, to the Revolt of the Admirals, and more recently the numerous Generals who retired in protest to Donald Rumsfeld's handling of the very wars we are still mired in, outspoken and sometimes dissenting military officers is a part of a "democratic-civil-military".

Where critics of McChrystal tend to point to the demoralization of troops by his outspoken nature, what often gets missed is that this very outspoken characteristic serves to offer information to the public from a military expert, that would not be found in non-democratic regimes. Does the vocal views of McChrystal threaten our republic? We are a republic deeply mired in an ongoing struggle across the globe, and perhaps it is necessary we have such outspoken officers if we are, as a public, to make better informed decisions on what we expect from our elected officials.

Where critics of McChrystal tend to advocate a sort of harmonious relationship between the civilian leadership and military leadership, going as far as to argue that military leadership should stay silent in their dissent, only offering any dissent as advice in private, where do we draw the line? Should Generals remain silent when in front of Congress, or is honest testimony more prudent? Should military officers vote in elections or does this just invite the sort of partisan characteristic that foster dissent?

Let's be honest, just like Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Truman, Obama is no more an expert in "the art of war", than they were. In terms of strategy and military planning Obama, like other Commander in Chiefs, just doesn't know enough that we should expect our military leadership to simply quietly demure and honorably resign so as to protect a Presidential image. Being Commander in Chief is a great responsibility, in peace, but most importantly in times of war. Combine this with the fact that very few of the civilian leaders in the Pentagon have the necessary military expertise to effectively plan a war, is it truly so necessary that we demand our military leadership silently acquiesce to the civilian leadership without even a hint of disagreement? Is this truly healthy for our republic?

How many members of Congress currently possess the military expertise to effectively make decisions regarding these wars they so imprudently failed to openly and officially declare as war? How much study and time has the current President put into warfare? How many members of Congress have read Clauswitz, let alone Sun Tzu? Given the nature of most elected officials it seems as if they are well versed in Machiavelli, and maybe they have read Sun Tzu's classic text, but Clauswitz? Musashi? Basil Henry Liddell Hart? Admiral William A. Owens? Colin S. Gray?

Should we the public, those people who hold the inherent political power in this nation do just as the critics suggest our military leadership do and silently acquiesce to civilian leadership of war that in all likelihood know little to nothing about strategy and planning? Hell, it appears as if Congress will not even put forth a budget this year, and their domestic strategies are hardly stellar, nor is the POTUS' for that matter. Both Congress and Obama have revealed some profound mistakes in political strategy, but we should demand our military experts simply keep their mouth shuts and allow Congress and Obama to handle strategies of war?

When does protocol become more important than a public's right to informed decision making? It has been a long time since the American public has even expressed an interest in informed decision making regarding government, and certainly our military and the undeclared wars we are fighting are a big part of that government. There are many hard questions that need be asked regarding this notion of perceived harmony between military and civilian leadership. During this time of undeclared war, coupled with unofficial declared wars on terrorism and drugs, silencing dissent, regardless of standard operating procedure and protocol, hardly seems like a way for the public to make sound decisions, and isn't this, after all, what the public that has so recently awaken and made the effort to actively assert their own inherent political power fear of our government right now? That they would silence us just as easily as they would silence our military leadership, as we are only all just subordinates to them?

Hard questions indeed, and even harder answers to come. I know not the answers, I do know the questions must be asked.

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 11:50 AM
The problem as I see it is not one of personality it is one of policy.

Essentially the Joint Chiefs of Staff see the POTUS as a visitor that comes to the White House for four years and then departs again (or not),

Whereas the JCS and the military is a permanent and ongoing presence.

I agree that we cannot and should not have US foreign policy dictated by the military, (although one could argue that AIPAC has a disproportional influence in this area) as the risk of a country run by the military is too high and will lead to its downfall as in the case of Germany and Japan for example, and pretty much any other country that has allowed this to take place.

On the other hand when:

1) General Petreus and others refer to Israel as a Strategic Liability and

2) an AIPAC influenced POTUS and US Congress influences "Transparent and Abhorrent Double Standards" in the Middle East as that which happened with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

in particular:

1) No condemnation by POTUS of Israels attack on Flotilla

2) No call by POTUS at UN for an Independent Investigation into attack on Flotilla


3) All Middle Eastern countries should abide by the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty with the exception of Israel.

So, when a General points out that a distorted or toxic US foreign policy, along with double standards is resulting in more NATO soldiers getting killed on the ground, and furthermore this is also fermenting more "Resistance" amongst the countries that the US occupies with its empire building/preemptive attack ideologies, then he is doing his job.

But I can also imagine the frustration of a General who knows these wars are not about, and were never about Democracy, Freedom, Al Quaida, Osama Bin Laden or Nukes - that these are simply diversions.

I can imagine well the frustration of a General who knows these wars are really about preserving US hegemony and securing Americas energy and resource requirements for the next 50 years or so.

The German President recently had to step down for telling the truth - that German soldiers are on the ground dying whilst protecting economic trade routes etc.

McChrystal most likely found that his real problems on the ground were falling upon deaf ears in the US Congress yet again and so he must now fall upon his sword.



[edit on 23-6-2010 by Bravo111]

[edit on 23-6-2010 by Bravo111]

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 12:15 PM
Regardless of the wrong or right of this venture in Af-Pak we must keep in perspective the prosecution of this war. We have failed political policies, and a General who, despite a great record of military service, is prone to insubordinate behavior. On top of that we have a logistical situation that has been blown out of intelligent perpective by politicos in Washington effectively turning Afghanistan into a turkey shoot environment where our troops are the turkeys.

While I understand the premise of McChrystal's defiance it is possible to be outspoken without damaging, politically and ethically, the efforts of our men and women in uniform and the trust of our allies.

Nation building doesn't work. McChrystal was given a blank check, and the political leadership was too distracted by posturing that they allowed the General to do more than just prosecute a military campaign.

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 12:24 PM
FuXX News 18:22 GMT Obama hands McCrystal his ass in a sling and orders Patreus into the job? Guess things are running just as smooth as usual over there.

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 12:26 PM
reply to post by projectvxn

Our government is run by a bunch of narco-terrorist criminals.

They knowingly allow the drugs to be produced.

They knowingly allow the money to be laundered.

They knowingly PAY INSURGENTS protection money for supply convoys.

They knowingly allow the shipment and trade of the drugs out of country that is totally secured by an entire contingent of the US military.

They knowingly allow a drug kingpin to retain a seat of power within the Afghan government.

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 12:39 PM
Wrong fershligginer thread...

[edit on 6/23/2010 by seagull]

[edit on 6/23/2010 by seagull]

posted on Jun, 23 2010 @ 02:50 PM
I will now opine in a more speculative fashion. Get this:

McChrystal is not stupid. He would have already known that anything he said to RS would wind up on the president's desk. I'm sure he also knew that the media and politicos would be raging against him for his resignation or termination.

There have been rumors and speculation that McChrystal wanted to resign, an I'm guessing he's willing to settle for getting fired. I've also taken note of this man's career and associations, namely, with the CFR. Now to round this out for the more conspiratorial among us, it is very possible that what we are seeing is a plot by McChrystal to position himself as a viable candidate for President in 2012.

I'm betting that once McChrystal gets fired or Obama accepts his resignation you will see the second biggest special op in history.

[edit on 23-6-2010 by projectvxn]

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