Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fare Thee Well Gen McCrystal

General McCrystal has effectively been released by Obama. The General made an error in getting a little too relaxed with an interviewer and openly expressed his frustration. The same could have been done through a time honored leak.

We now have it on good authority how inept the Obama administration actually is. It was becoming pretty obvious but the failure to make critical decisions in a timely manner is scary.

Recall that campaign commercial about who do you want to take the wake up call?

The bad news for Obama is that this general could resign his commission and then step up as a Republican presidential candidate immediately and start campaigning tomorrow. He would be in position to second guess every decision made by Obama and impact the national debate. Appointing Petraeous partially cures this for the short term but the stakes are now much higher.

And yes, now Petraeous has to win this one and he has Obama over a barrel to provide full support because it is now Obama’s war.


Fare Thee Well, Stan McChrystal

Posted by Thomas Sowell on Jun 24th, 2010 and filed under FrontPage

The flap about General Stanley McChrystal’s “resignation” was nobody’s finest hour. But there are some painful lessons in all this that go beyond any of the individuals involved— the general, the president or any of the officials at the Pentagon or the State Department.

What is far more important than all these individuals put together are the lives of the tens of thousands of Americans fighting in Afghanistan. What is even more important is the national security of this country.

It is certainly not politic for a general or his staff to express their contempt for civilian authorities publicly. But what is far more important— from the standpoint of national security— is whether what those authorities have done deserves contempt.

My hope is that General McChrystal will write a book about his experiences in Afghanistan— and in Washington. The public needs to know what is really going on, and they are not likely to get that information from politicians.

This is, after all, an administration that waited for months last year before acting on General McChrystal’s urgent request for 40,000 more troops, which he warned would be necessary to prevent the failure of the mission in Afghanistan. He got 30,000 eventually— and a public statement by President Obama about when he wants to start withdrawing American troops from that country.

In no previous period of history has an American president announced a timetable for pulling out troops. They may have had a timetable in mind, but none of these presidents was irresponsible enough to tell the world— including our enemies— when our troops would be leaving.

Such information encourages our enemies, who know that they need only wait us out before they can take over, whether in Afghanistan or elsewhere. At the same time, it undermines our allies, who know that relying on the United States is dangerous in the long run, and that they had better make the best deal they can get with our enemies.

But the worst aspect of the national security policy of this administration is its clear intention to do nothing that has any realistic chance of stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

This may be the most grossly irresponsible policy in all of history, because it can leave this generation— and future generations— of Americans at the mercy of terrorists who have no mercy and who cannot be deterred, as the Soviet Union was deterred.

All the current political theater about “international sanctions” is unlikely to make the slightest difference to Iran. Nor is the administration itself likely to expect it to. What then is its purpose? To fool the American people into thinking that they are doing something serious when all that they are doing is putting on a charade by lining up countries to agree to actions that they all know will not have any real effect.

There is another aspect to General McChrystal’s “resignation.”

Everyone seems to be agreed that Stanley McChrystal has been a soldier’s soldier— someone who knows what to do on a battlefield and is not afraid to put himself in danger to do it.

Do we need more generals like this or do we need political generals who know how to cultivate Washington politicians, in order to advance their own careers?

Some people see a parallel between McChrystal’s “resignation” and President Harry Truman’s firing of General Douglas MacArthur. No two situations are ever exactly the same, but some of the parallels are striking.

MacArthur was proud not only of his military victories but also of the fact that he won those victories with lower casualty rates among his troops than other generals had. But General MacArthur too was not always discreet in what he said, and also had reasons to have contempt for politicians, going all the way back to FDR, who cut the army’s budget in the 1930s, while Nazi Germany and imperial Japan were building up huge military machines that would kill many an American before it was all over.

If we are creating an environment where only political generals can survive, what will that mean for America’s ability to win military victories without massive casualty rates? Or to win military victories at all?

Into Battle Once More

Posted by Rich Trzupek on Jun 24th, 2010 and filed under FrontPage.

In the long and proud history of the United States military, talented, dedicated commanders have led their troops to the sounds of the guns time and again to defend those who could not defend themselves. General David Petreaus proved his mettle in Iraq by devising and implanting a strategy that provided security for innocent Iraqis under attack by Islamic fanatics. Now he’s being asked to march into battle once more, but this time the guns are sounding on two different fronts: in Afghanistan where a resurgent, increasingly confident Taliban makes headway in the war that our president has said we have to win; and in Washington, where the conflict is of the political variety in the wake of General McChrystal’s dismissalafter that highly decorated soldier expressed his frustration with an administration that seems to specialize in vacillation.

With no relief in sight for the economy, no end in sight for the disaster in the gulf and an ever-increasing number of voters starting to realize that this administration is woefully unprepared, intellectually overmatched and ideologically handicapped when it comes to dealing with the great issues of the day, Obama desperately needs a victory somewhere, somehow. Failing in Afghanistan, especially in the wake McChrystal’s damning criticism, would practically guarantee that a Republican tsunami would sweep scores of Democrats out of office in November. And so the president has turned to the nation’s most accomplished, most respected military leader, a man whose strategy in Iraq he dismissed out of hand and whom, when this dedicated patriot was the subject of shameless slurs by his leftist allies, Obama could not be bothered to defend. Professional that he is, Petreaus will continue to forget the criticisms, slights and slurs and do what American military leaders have always done: follow the orders of the commander in chief, no matter how incompetent and hypocritical that commander may be.

A certain United States senator representing the state of Illinois didn’t seem quite so enamored of General David Petreaus three and a half short years ago. That’s when Petreaus took command in Iraq, replacing General George Casey (the Army’s current chief of staff, and the man who believes that the most tragic aspect of the Fort Hood shootings is the possible loss of “diversity” in the armed forces). Petreaus asked for more troops and proposed changes in strategy. Democrats from Harry Reid through John Muthra criticized the general’s proposals, having decided that the war in Iraq was lost. Then senator Barack Obama assured America that “the surge” could not possibly work, saying:

“We can send 15,000 more troops, 20,000 more troops, 30,000 more troops – I don’t know any expert on the region or any military officer that I’ve spoken to privately that believes that is going to make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground.”

Apparently neither Obama nor his vice president talked to the right “experts on the region” or to any military officers who understood how to conduct counter-insurgency operations. Petreaus was vindicated in short order as the situation in Iraq turned around after the surge. Not surprisingly, the Obama administration employed selective memory earlier this year, apparently forgetting any criticism of Petreaus’ strategic vision, as vice president Joe Biden rushed to cling to the general’s coat tails. “I am very optimistic about Iraq. I mean, this could be one of the great achievements of this administration,” Biden declared in a moment that redefined hypocrisy.

A few months after Petreaus assumed command, the ultra-leftist, Obama-loving organization attacked the general, slurring him as “General Betray Us” in an ad they placed in the New York Times in September 2007. Among other slanders, MoveOn accused Petreaus of “cooking the books” in order to make the Bush White House look good. Then-senator Hillary Clinton jumped on the bandwagon during congressional hearings, badgering the general in confrontations that left her looking like a partisan hack.

Three and a half years after Petreaus first started pulling George W. Bush’s chestnuts out of the fire in Iraq, Barack Obama hopes that the general can work the same magic again for him in Afghanistan. But there’s a difference. When General Casey was replaced in January 2007, he was critical of the administration’s new strategy, saying:

“The longer we in the U.S. forces continue to bear the main burden of Iraq’s security, it lengthens the time that the government of Iraq has to take the hard decisions about reconciliation and dealing with the militias. And the other thing is that they can continue to blame us for all of Iraq’s problems, which are at base their problems. It’s always been my view that a heavy and sustained American military presence was not going to solve the problems in Iraq over the long term.”

George W. Bush, who always had a fierce loyalty and admiration towards anyone serving our nation in uniform, didn’t chastise Casey or attempt to derail his career because of those remarks. Casey’s current assignment is a testament to that fact. On the other hand, Barack Obama may be the most thin-skinned president in the history of the Republic. He didn’t hesitate to leave his hand-picked commander, General McChrystal, swinging in the breeze when the going got tough. If General David Petreaus can’t figure out a way to solve the multi-faceted enigma that is Afghanistan, there can be little doubt that he will suffer the same fate.

1 comment:

Mark Read Pickens said...

As a former U.S. Army Sergeant who served from 1966 to 1969, my opinion is the U.S. has zero chance to win this war.

Mark Read Pickens