Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Will He Stay or Will He Go?

First off let me say that I haven't read the much ballyhooed Gen. McChrystal interview, actually more of a piece filled with anecdotal stories, in Rolling Stones magazine, nor do I intend to. In it's rawest form it is just a story on the animosity that exists between the military and the politicians.

The tensions have always been there and will always be there. Even the vaunted warrior civilization of Sparta had it's disagreements. The heroic battle involving the 300 at Thermopylae would never have taken place if not for the fact that the political leaders in Sparta, not wishing to fully engage the Persians, instead sent a token force to be sacrificed to appease the generals.

I served under 5 presidents, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush and with the exception of Reagan most were held in at least suspicion and others downright disdain within the ranks. One truism is that nobody wants the military until the barbarians are at the wall. One belief that I hold dear is that once the politicians make the decision to pick up the phone and call the Pentagon they then need to sit down, shut up, and wait for the call back advising them that the problem is solved and they can now go about screwing it back up.

The fact that this Rolling Stone reporter decided to run with the story, which I don't blame him really, leads me to believe that he had some visions of those scenes from the movie Patton in which Patton stayed in hot water because of his expressed disdain for the political class.

Should McChrystal and his aides minded their opinions while in the presence of this reporter? No doubt, just like you should anytime there is a microphone, a camera, or a member of the press present. None of them are your friends and nothing is off the record.

Will he lose his job? Who knows, and for a president who now has a track record of consistently making the wrong decisions, nothing is beyond the realm of possibilities. It will probably come down to how loud and in his face the anti war crowd can get. The only thing Obama fears is appearing to not be liberal enough. We all know he is thin skinned and the little baby gets his feelings hurt easily so we will have to see how he treats his hand picked choice to lead the war in Afghanistan.

On the bright side maybe he will take the general to his favorite golf course for a round or two. Seems to be something he is best at.

Quite honestly, now that the Afghan President has issued a statement saying he thinks McChrystal is the best thing to happen since sliced bread, he will probably get fired. See, that old suspicion of all things political that is now hard wired into my psyche, is whispering in my ears, "Of course he will fire him. What makes you think he wants to succeed in Afghanistan? He needs to line up more "Blame Bush" talking points for his reelection campaign."

Never underestimate the ability of this administration to miss an opportunity while exploiting a crisis. Even if they have to manufacture the crisis.

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