Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Not So McChrystal Clear

Subordination, it was said. Not as much as sheer stupidity. Having read the Rolling Stone article, I found the offensive comments to be no more than what most of the military who are frustrated with these unending conflicts might say to one another in their bull sessions. To relay it to a reporter is sheer stupidity. Or is it?

McChrystal surely marches to his own drummer just as does our President. As a military man, however, the President is his Commander-In-Chief. He is to serve. Not critique unless asked to do so. Which I'm certain he was on many occasions. Coming up on the short end of his requests, I wonder if this whole episode was designed to make public just what the upper echelons of the military think of the ambassadors, the Vice President and even the President. The whole mess. Even at the cost of a career. Never mind that he'll make millions on the lecture circuit.

McChrystal wasn't my favorite General. He was the one who decided to do away with the base fast food outlets that were such a reminder of home for the troops. It was under his command that the troops were to be awarded medals for restraint. Don't shoot unless you're sure a body is really a combatant. Come on! That's no way to fight a war. WAR!

Regardless of my opinion, McChrystal is a General of some note. The President can ill afford to be shown as weak or wrong, especially with his ratings as low as they are. He can accomplish that all by himself. It is not the General's place to do so. Discipline is essential. Chain of command is essential.

The days of Patton and Montgomery as showboating military leaders are long gone. War has been politicized to the extent, just like Obama's commission on the oil spill, that there are too many fingers with no appropriate expertise in the pie. Obama promised to listen to his generals. He may have listened but he didn't hear. The McChrystal incident shows the outcome of the thinking because of it.

For better or worse, the war is now truly Obama's. He can no longer blame any of it on Bush. The generals are his, the ambassadors are his and the strategy is his. What he now needs to do is get them on the same playing field and quit letting Karzai captain the team.

1 comment:

Margie's Musings said...

I have to agree with most of what you said, Mari. The citizen leaders run the war for one reason...even though their experience is simply second hand with advice from the military. Eisenhower warned the nation before he left office about the dangers of giving the military complex too much power. He knew that most officers, especially generals, are in it for the war. That's their business and their training. It's my sons and others that really fight the war.

Obama needs to get us out of that quagmire as he promised.