June 23rd, 2010

Reflections on the Rolling Stone McChrystal article

Well, I’ve read the article that may be the undoing of General McChrystal’s military career, and perhaps even the Afghan war itself [I wrote that sentence before I saw the breaking news that McChrystal is gone and Petraeus has been named to replace him, a good choice, IMHO]. Who would have thought Rolling Stone would make history of this sort?

Not I. And perhaps not even McChrystal and his staff—although if not, they were tremendously naive and foolish.

And apparently not Michael Hastings, the man who wrote the piece, who professes in an interview of his own with Newsweek that he failed to see the brouhaha coming:

I’m actually shocked by the response. Because usually we end up ignoring Afghanistan, so I’m quite surprised it’s creating such a stir. I knew I had some decent material to work with, but I’m surprised at the level of involvement.

Well, having now read the article itself rather than just summaries of it, color me unsurprised at the flurry of attention (or course, hindsight is 20/20). I also see no reason to revise anything I wrote yesterday, the gist of which was that (1) it’s no surprise that McChrystal and staff were annoyed at Obama; but (2) it’s a big and very unfortunate surprise that they so openly voiced their dissatisfaction in front of a reporter of any sort, much less this one.

It seems, according to the Hastings interview, that McChrystal and staff only signed on for a two-day exposure to him, but that, due to (of all things) the Iceland volcano, the relationship ended up stretching into a month-long stay. It seems they let down their guard and began to forget—even though they never should have—that he was a reporter, and that everything they did and said was fodder for the mill of his particular sensibility. If so, this was an error of major proportions on their part. But perhaps, instead, the access and exposure was a deliberate attempt to get the word out, come what may.

A few more observations on the piece itself: it’s written in the modern style in which liberal use of the f-word telegraph’s the writer’s toughness and grit (and no, it’s not just the military who are cussing freely, it’s the author himself in his more descriptive moments, such as this one, that occurs very early in the article, and gives you an idea of its macho tone):

McChrystal takes a final look around the suite. At 55, he is gaunt and lean, not unlike an older version of Christian Bale in Rescue Dawn. His slate-blue eyes have the unsettling ability to drill down when they lock on you. If you’ve fucked up or disappointed him, they can destroy your soul without the need for him to raise his voice.

There’s actually a great deal more in the piece than the revelations about McChrystal and the Obama administration and its representatives, although that’s all we seem to hear about. There’s a lot of griping about the rules of engagement in this war, an important and valid controversy in any asymmetrical conflict in which we fight against a clandestine group infiltrated among the general population of a country.

Hastings throws in some gratuitous observations that are meant, I would guess, to be uncritically accepted by his generally liberal readership. For example, he writes, “A few days later, [McChrystal] echoed the [Bush's] Mission Accomplished gaffe by insisting that major combat operations in Iraq were over”—when in fact they were over; Hastings makes no attempt to distinguish between major combat operations against Saddam Hussein’s military forces (which in fact was the aspect of the war to which Bush and McChrystal were referring) and the very different insurgency struggle which formed subsequently.

In other portions of his piece, Hastings makes it clear that he does not believe counter-insurgency operations can succeed in Afghanistan, and refers to their having been based at least in part on our failed policies in Vietnam. What he ignores is what many people ignore—the revisionist history of that war, which I’ve written about in a series of posts that can be found here—that indicate that the war against the Vietnamese insurgency was actually won on the battlefield but lost in the arena of public opinion in this country, shaped in part by a hostile press.

No one can possibly be happy with the Hastings article, with the possible exception of Hastings himself—who is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame and may try to segue it into more of the same—the editors of Rolling Stone, and Hillary Clinton, the single politician who comes off with praise in the Hastings piece. Even President Obama is probably highly displeased. The article not only exposes him to ridicule, it forces him into a situation in which he must make a decision (even failing to let McChrystal go is a decision of sorts), and in which none of the possible choices seems like a good one at this critical juncture in the Afghan conflict [NOTE: again, with the news of Petraeus's appointment, I think Obama made the best decision possible, actually. Maybe it will even turn out to be a good one, and the whole thing a fortuitous opportunity to improve the Afghan situation---unless Petraeus is hobbled in the same way McChrystal was. One thing I'm pretty sure of is that he will be far more savvy about PR and press relations. Ever since Vietnam, these considerations have become nearly as important as the conduct of a war itself, since the military should always assume the press is hostile to the endeavor.]

[ADDENDUM: Here's a cynical comment found at Gateway Pundit:

Obama picked Gen. Petraeus to destroy his career, and make it so that he can’t run in 2012.

I don't think that was Obama's primary motivation. I think he made this choice in an attempt to get out of a bad situation and also possibly retrieve something of value in Afghanistan. After all, to a certain extent, Obama "owns" the Afghan conflict now.

But if Petraeus's mission does not succeed (and there's a good chance it will not), it would certainly have the added perk (from Obama's point of view) of hurting Petraeus's chances of a successful run for office in 2012, if he has that in mind. But I'm not at all sure he has that in mind.]

[ADDENDUM II: Jules Crittenden has some trenchant observations on the subject. As does Gerard Vanderleun.]

40 Responses to “Reflections on the Rolling Stone McChrystal article”

  1. Pablo Says:

    It sure stinks all the way to the cave where Bin Laden is reading his own copy of Rolling Stone.

  2. Adrian Day Says:

    It is surprising that McChrystal was so reckless in his judgement about what he said. One wonders what leads a Military officer to even grant an interview to Rolling Stone. He has not only assisted them in another anti-military hit piece, he ended his own military career.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Note the revisions I added about a minute after I published this piece, when I noticed that Obama had made the decision to replace McChrystal with Petraeus. I’ve been very impressed with the latter.

  4. ghost707 Says:

    McChrystal knows there is no way to win in Afghanistan.

    The country has no infrastructure whatsoever, no real economy – except the drug trade, and it’s taliban control is stuck in the 7th century.

    There is nothing to save or rebuild in Afghanistan – thus there is nothing to win.

    McChrystal saw no other way out.

  5. Tom Says:

    There’s lithium in them thar Afghani hills, son. For all our batteries, charged wit’ all that grreeen energy.

  6. ghost707 Says:

    Tom,

    Someone will eventually go after all those minerals, but it won’t be the Afghans – they have never seen machinery in their country any more complicated than a bicycle.

    My guess is China will go after it, and Afghanistan will piss all the money away buying weapons.

    China will make billions and Afghanistan will still be one of the poorest nations on the planet.

  7. strcpy Says:

    “McChrystal saw no other way out.”

    Do like other generals – retire and raise a stink.

    If he truly wanted to force public opinion retire and tell why, tell all the bad, tell what Obama has done, and strive to change things.

    As an Obama voter he is probably a democrat at heart – run for the senate. He *was* fairly well respected. Now he will mostly face the Wesley Clark syndrome – the left will only like him as long as they can use him. When it comes to actually doing more than being a tool they will remember that you had to removed from your post and your political opponents sure aren’t going to forget that either.

    It was stupid, plain and simple. Not that it puts him in bad company, there are some really great generals that did the same thing (McArthur for example). However it forces a hand that few presidents really want to make.

    Indeed as some of the retired military around me say: it is aiding the enemy. He forces the president to either relieve him of duty (or resign) or people like Putin, the Taliban, Al Qaida note that the President doesn’t even have the guts to oust a general that did that. In either case he hurts no one but the troops. Further if he did it to help the situation over there it was a HUGELY terrible tactic that made things worse.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    strcpy: I am in agreement with you.

  9. jeff Says:

    I was surprised by McChrystal’s removal. I thought giving him a pass would make Obama look magnanimous and less thin-skinned, as well as making his and the military’s logistical issues easier. McChrystal made a major error, there is no disputing that. I’m certain there is a lot more going on behind the scenes than is being revealed. However, Obama is universally criticized for being thin-skinned. I thought McChrystal’s termination would only bolster that characterization and hamper Obama’s relationship with the military going forward. Obama was truly in a no win situation. But, I think, in all fairness and on balance, he handled it as best as possible.

    I think the lesson to be learned after this situation is fully digested is not how the military treats its civilian bosses. Rather, how the civilian bosses treat the military. The military functions in an entirely different world than the rest of us, risking their lives and leaving their families behind. Whether it is the NYT’s “General Be-Traeus” ad, Obama’s “present” vote for the bill frowning upon that ad, “the war is lost” narrative while troops are in danger, Hillary’s “suspension of disbelief” comment, etc. Eventually the politicians need to realize that they cannot openly bash the military, especially during war times, without any negative repercussions. Trust and respect are a two-way street. Obama and Hillary knew that if they were elected they would eventually have to work with the same dedicated military leaders they trashed for their own personal agendas. To pretend that doing so happens in a vacuum is the real lapse of judgment. Again, what McChrystal did was wrong, but anyone who is surprised that he may hold such opinions is foolish.

  10. ghost707 Says:

    Obama already declared the war lost by imposing a timeline.

    Everyone is now making deals with the Taliban, including Karzai.

    Neo is right, the only way to get Obama interested in anything is to either insult him or show him another exciting way to steal from the poor to make the rich even richer.

  11. Oldflyer Says:

    I doubt that we will ever know why McChrystal and his crew made the mistakes they made. There are a number of rational explanations, not the least among them sheer fatigue combined with unbearable frustration.

    General Petraeus will certainly be a popular choice as a replacement, and it definitely gets Obama off the hook for now. It is interesting that the last time we saw Petraeus in public he was fainting. It may, or may not, be significant that a year ago he was receiving radiation treatment for prostate cancer.

    It will be of some importance to note Karzai’s reaction. He trusted McChrystal. I am not sure how well he knows Petraeus, whose primary emphasis was in Iraq. If Obama leaves the “diplomatic” team intact, then he has simply rearranged one of the deck chairs, to bail out an old cliche.

    As for the ever present question of what our goals should be in Afghanistan, and what expectations we might have of reaching them, President Obama definitely owes the country an explanation. My wife and I had the discussion over the past few days. I raised the specter of the “domino theory”; oh yes, that one. If the Taliban retake Afghanistan, will their aura of regional supremacy allow them to threaten Pakistan? Pakistan is scary now. If it fell to fundamentalist Jihadists it would be horrifying. The first country that would be horrified at the prospect would be India. A nuclear confrontation is always possible between those two. I do not believe that India would sit idly by while a Taliban-like regime threatened to gain control of Pakistan and their nukes. I think we are stuck in Afghanistan, and Obama is going to have to accept the fact.

  12. Mr. Frank Says:

    What irritates me about this whole episode is the media attempt to compare Obama’s role to Truman’s firing of General MacArthur. At the time MacArthur was a very popular WWII hero as evidenced by the ticker tape parade after the firing. It took guts to go after him. Secondly, MacArthur was publicly opposing administration policy in his desire to attack Red China. This was clearly a case of asserting civilian control of the military.

    In the Obama case there was no policy conflict and McChrystal is no cultural hero. MacChrystal and his staff just thought the administration was a bunch of lightweights. He foolishly expressed that in front of a lefty writer. To paraphrase the Senator from South Carolina, Obama is no Harry Truman.

  13. Adrian Day Says:

    Petraeus, you’re my number one guy. So saith Obama, the man who refused to acknowledge the success of the surge in Iraq. What a jerk.

  14. Scottie Says:

    I’ve admittedly not had the chance the read the article (and can’t remember the last time I read that POS rag anyway, it’s been at least a couple of decades!), but in reading over neo’s review I did have a thought regarding the critical environment that McChrystal is being criticized for allowing to develop within his staff.

    That thought is this:

    A general needs people around him who will tell him what they really think, versus what they think he wants to hear.

    It’s a lesson Obama would do well to emulate.

    At any rate, if you think he cultivated an environment where people felt free to speak their mind on any number of important topics, it could be that they truly didn’t give the idea of a reporter in the room that much thought.

    Not saying it was smart, just saying I can see how the situation could have developed.

  15. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Neo said, “again, with the news of Petraeus’s appointment, I think Obama made the best decision possible, actually.”

    Obama needed to show that he was in charge. Not going to brook any hint of insubordination from the military. (I still don’t see anything except unattributed heresay and some frustration by staff members. The Fallon interview with Barnett that I mentioned in an earlier comment was much more direct insubordination.)

    You can agree or disagree that Obama needed to fire McChrystle, but the test of Obama’s leadershop and judgment was – Who to replace McChrystle with?? Well, why not just vote present? That, IMHO is what Obama did. He passed the decision off to Petraeus. Petraeus cannot really run Centcom and Afghanistan single handedly. He will either have to appoint a general to run Afghanistan or demote himself to Afghanistan and appoint someone else to look after Centcom. Obama did not want to deal with those realities so he just punted on making any kind of difficult decision. He also undoubtedly made the political calculation that everyone would approve because Patraeus is the closest thing to a national military hero that we have.

    Obama looks like he’s in charge and Petraeus is tasked with saving his bacon in Afghanistan. Brilliant!

  16. Tom Says:

    Oldflyer: Petraeus’ faint had nothing to do with his radiation therapy one yr ago. Zip, Nada.

  17. Adrian Day Says:

    He offered Petraeus the job on Wednesday. all options were on the table but the decision was made before even talking to McChrystal. “You’re fired, but I’m open-minded enough to hear what you have to say. Not that what you say makes any difference. Anyone on my staff will tell you that.”

  18. Ilíon Says:

    Hastings throws in some gratuitous observations that are meant, I would guess, to be uncritically accepted by his generally liberal readership. For example, he writes, “A few days later, [McChrystal] echoed the [Bush’s] Mission Accomplished gaffe by insisting that major combat operations in Iraq were over”—when in fact they were over; Hastings makes no attempt to distinguish between major combat operations against Saddam Hussein’s military forces (which in fact was the aspect of the war to which Bush and McChrystal were referring) and the very different insurgency struggle which formed subsequently.

    I fear that the pertinent point may be a tad too nuanced for the Nuancy Boys of the left.

  19. gs Says:

    1. It’s reassuring that the Blightworker says he was not personally offended by McChystal’s PR blunder, but…

    How do you tell a politician is lying?

    2. Please, Neo. Am I to believe that Bush and his spin team had no idea how the carrier landing would play with the public?

    I know how it played with me: it gave me my first distinct surge of unease that Bush was in over his head. I trusted at the time that the incident was an anomaly.

    3. I agree with you about Vietnam. I spent part of my hitch in a unit that served in effect as a holding area for field-grade infantry officers between successive tours. They were universally confident that the situation was in hand.

    The Johnson administration’s early overconfidence helped the anti-American Left turn a military victory into a political defeat. Might things have gone differently if Johnson et al had been more restrained in their language? Who knows? However, I was particularly dismayed by Bush’s carrier landing because he is a Vietnam-era veteran.

    4. Godspeed to GEN Petraeus and condolences to GEN McChrystal. I hope that Petraeus got policy assurances from Obama before accepting his assignment, that Obama will keep the commitments he made, and that Congress will not undercut the war effort.

  20. George Says:

    There is very little in the article that reflects poorly on General McChrystal; in fact he is portrayed as a war fighter of the highest caliber.

    His shortcoming was that he spoke up about his disappointment in the performance of two of his supposed “peers” in theater, namely Holbrooke for sending too many emails and Eikenberry for bad mouthing Afhgan leadership in public. Thats it, that is all there was. And for this he is fired? Give me a break. Obama has no, repeat NO leadership skills. He should have praised him for his efforts and personally assured McChrystal that he supports him, will re-engage and provide him with all the support necessary to get the effort in Afghanastan on track. That would have been leadership. Instead we have petty bullying, as usual.

    Sad really that our president is so insecure and lacking in leadership skills. The effort in Afghanastan is going to be very difficult with this commander in chief.

  21. Curtis Says:

    Just read the whole article and am trying to look for anything more damning than the couple of quotes about “Bite Me” and Obama being intimidated by military people. the fact that there’s tension between state department and military personnel–when isn’t that the case? So if we hadn’t of had the foreknowledge, and you had read this article at the tire shop waiting to get your tires put on, would you have thought McChrystal had done that much wrong?

    What I did pick up was a sense that McChrystal seems to have a tragic flaw–some need to define himself in rebellion.

    Oh, gs–you’re a jerk. Your comments are those of a spy who doesn’t know the land or people, and you just can’t seem to resist degrading Bush or Palin.

    It’s kind of funny in a way. Your paragraph starting with “The Johnson Administration . . . ”

    CLASSIC 5:00 O’CLOCK CHARLIE

  22. Artfldgr Says:

    McCrystal had to be out so that we can lose, so that we and other western countries cant build an infrastructure for them on future revenues of raw materials. Also, as with every other held back place with raw materials (see africa), preventing such building would keep their raw materials off the market, and keep the raw material suppliers prices higher than would be (do note whose countries are predominately raw materials sellers, and which one is known historically for being in everyone business, and which one the obama administration fawns over)

    we HAVE to lose, we are the oppressor nation, and the oppressor nation cant win and free people. it doesn’t fit the narrative they want to read in history, so they are rewriting the history by manipulating the events, and we don’t work on that level.

    shares of future mineral rights for american companies, Japanese companies, UK, Germany, etc..

    would do what towards a boost in economic futures?
    would do what for the people of that country who without it will be where?

    and later, when they want the materials, and dont want to build and exchange for it, how hard is it to take it, now that its worth occupying (and the materials did not get converted so that these people could withstand such)?

    [you have been spared a long post - long post text deleted]

  23. Pablo Says:

    “Also, as with every other held back place with raw materials (see africa), preventing such building would keep their raw materials off the market,…”

    I am sure that there is a few trillion dollars worth of minerals on Mars as well – but you cannot economically get it to market. First things first.

    Without a safe and secure environment – not of this means anything. Without a safe and secure environment, you cannot safely get labor and equipment to mine the minerals. Without it you cannot get the product out of the country.

    Without the rule of law, you cannot safely assume that you will be allowed the results of your investment. Any profit will be bled out through corruption and confiscation.

    Mineral wealth is infrastructure heavy. AFG does not have a rail network. It does not have an effective road network that can handle anything more than jingle trucks.

    All the above are just the first few economic facts. Here is your thumbnail sketch;

    - Safe and Secure Environment (SASE): 10 years.
    - Rule of law: 15 years – within a reasonable degree, though not to Western standards.
    - Substantial infrastructure: 5 years after SASE.

    Then you have to get it to markets.

    The Dutch are leaving now. The Canadians next year. President Obama wants us to go home starting in 2011 (though everyone from SECDEF on down just wink at you and nod their head – I hope they are correct).

    Don’t get caught up in the hype. This is WAY down the road, if ever. Don’t get distracted. Focus on what is real.

  24. pablo panadero Says:

    The most disturbing part of this whole thing is that Obama knew virtually nothing about McChrystal when he appointed him, and in a 6-month time period in which he was to be reviewing and deciding on the strategy he had exactly 2 conversations with him. This implies that Obama is relying heavily on someone to feed him advice on what to do rather than forming his own opinion and directing. The question is, who is giving this advice to him, and are they still there?

    This is also a failure of McChrystal, as he should have called Obama weekly.

  25. Artfldgr Says:

    “I don’t make this decision based on any difference in policy with Gen. McChrystal, as we are in full agreement about our strategy. Nor do I make this decision out of any sense of personal insult.” – B. Hussein Obama explaining why he’s kicking McChrystal to the curb.

  26. Promethea Says:

    Ha, ha. The Iceland Volcano of 1783 probably led to the French Revolution.

    The Iceland Volcano of 2010 could possibly lead to the Iranian Revolution, the Afghanistan Revolution, or maybe another American Revolution.

  27. Artfldgr Says:

    And if the left hand is making waves, what is the other hand doing?

    well i did mention that the left in the US, for all the writing they do, none of their writing includes considering outside forces attempting to exploit the hard work they did to bring things along…

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/world/Venezuela_s-Chavez-backing-leftist-guerrillas-in-Mexico-95280089.html

    “Members of the U.S. administration don’t understand what’s been brewing in Mexico for a while, and this very powerful leftist movement has grown in Mexico,” Valseca said. “There is huge international interest to change Mexico into a socialist, communist state. When you listen to the narco-terrorists or the EPR, you hear them say how they hate capitalists and pretend to be like Robin Hoods. I lived through their horror. I know their hate.”

    Attacks on members of Mexico’s politicians and members of the media can be seen as a sign that Mexico is slowly losing control from within, U.S. officials said.

    Guillermo Zuloaga had to get away from Chavez land.. and Punta Huete has been refurbished…

  28. Kae Arby Says:

    If Prateus is running the Afghanistan operations now, who is Obama going to appoint to head CentCom? Or, is Prateus supposed to juggle both jobs? Tapping Prateus for Afghanistan wasn’t a good choice; it was a lazy choice, made by a lazy man who doesn’t have the sense to think his decisions to their conclusion. At best, this is just another Obama attempt to prove that he’s “the man” without dealing with the consequences. At worst…

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Kae Arby: I was wondering about that, too. Some else is going to be taking over CENTCOM, apparently.

    Probably not McChrystal.

  30. Pablo Says:

    From what I understand, Petraeus will command AFG in his role as CENTCOM. And before anyone gets the vapors about it, remember that it wasn’t until well into the Iraq war that we decided to appoint subordinate commanders under CENTCOM to fight the two wars.

    Given that Iraq is somewhat under control, and AFG surely isn’t, it makes some sense to let the on-scene commander in Iraq run his war while CENTCOM runs AFG directly. And with this arrangement, the Senate doesn’t have to confirm anyone (tho I suspect there will be a LTG deputy assigned, if there isn’t one already).

  31. CV Says:

    So I guess he’s no longer General Betray Us? I hear crickets chirping on the left.

    They must be distracted by their outrage about the utter destruction of the Gulf (the Feds are thwarting the berm-building, dredging etc.) Oh wait….

  32. Richard Saunders Says:

    McCrystal had to go. He committed the unforgiveable sin – stupidity. He let his staff and himself talk to a reporter, and a reporter from Rolling Stone, yet!

    Beside which, I don’t think his strategy will work — not that I think anybody serving under Barry (or maybe under anybody in the 21st century) will ever be successful. The only strategy that ever worked even partially in Afghanistan was Alexander’s — and it was the oposite of McChrystal’s.

  33. gs Says:

    Curtis Says:

    Oh, gs–you’re a jerk. Your comments are those of a spy who doesn’t know the land or people, and you just can’t seem to resist degrading Bush or Palin.

    It’s kind of funny in a way. Your paragraph starting with “The Johnson Administration . . . ”

    CLASSIC 5:00 O’CLOCK CHARLIE

    Wingnut behavior just might get Obama reelected.

    And Hillary’s stock is rising. Obama-Clinton 2012?

  34. Nolanimrod Says:

    Ever since Vietnam, these considerations have become nearly as important as the conduct of a war itself

    No kidding. For a good example see Israel: Cast Lead.

  35. br549 Says:

    I guess we need General Sherman over there. The path of total destruction he layed on his march to the sea is the only thing that will stop this enemy. They are like Zoysia. And they have planted little plugs of themselves everywhere around the world.

  36. br549 Says:

    Obama’s plans are all internal. He is trying to make the U.S. ino his view of how it should be. All these other happenings around the world in which a U.S. president must alwys get involved, are becoming major annoyances that are screwing up his plans.

  37. Scottie Says:

    Another thought….

    Which is more important, winning a war or face-saving maneuvers on the part of a weak, ineffectual president?

    Seriously – if Obama had been a very popular president right now, and if the economy were ramping up a big time recovery, and if the general public was overwhelmingly behind at least most of his social policies – would we even be witnessing this spectacle?

    Would Obama, under those circumstances, feel the need to so strongly *assert civilian authority* over a general for the comments of his subordinates to the degree Obama did over the quotes in the RS article?

    Another consideration, if the war were going well and we were clearly bringing it to a successful conclusion, would McChrystal still have been removed from his command?

  38. Tatterdemalian Says:

    Failure in Afghanistan may not hurt Petraeus as much as you think. All he has to do is compare his mission in Afghanistan to Jimmy Carter’s famously micromanaged and horribly botched rescue mission to free the Iranian hostages. What we currently have is a pincer attack that the left wing has refused to let us close upon the primary source of terrorism in the Middle East ever since Khomeni’s revolution, and so has been turned – solely by the political interference of the Democrat party in general and the Obama Administration in particular – into a divided force that is only allowed to defend instead of fight back, and thus must inevitably withdraw in disgrace sooner or later.

  39. Oldflyer Says:

    A couple of thoughts.
    For Tom, I did not intend to link Petraeus fainting with his radiation treatment, although I am not sure how you can casually de-link them. I am also not sure that dehydration would be a factor for a man sitting at a table in an air-conditioned building as was reported, unless he had recently experienced a serious bout of nausea. Perhaps caused by recent radiation treatments? My point quite simply is that there is more than one public indicator that Petraeus has health issues, and it remains to be seen whether he can muster the energy for this formidable task. For the sake of our troops who are committed to this fight, even if others are not, I hope he can.

    Disagree with Pablo Panadero. McC had a chain of command with two levels between him and Obama. He was neither obligated, nor likely authorized, to pick up the phone and call Obama. However, according to reports, he did apparently conduct a weekly video brief to Obama and the chain of command.

    I have maintained since the actual contents of the RS article became known, as opposed to referenced second/third hand, that Obama could have easily chosen an alternate route in dealing with the fall-out. Except for one thing. Since the world thinks of him as a spineless wimp, he had to demonstrate his cajones. Remember–don’t waste a crisis.

  40. kbow Says:

    Is there anyone else who thinks that Obama removed McChrystal, partly because Petraeus would be more likely to support gays in the military? Obama certainly is clever enough to think of this, and Petraeus is open to it whereas McChrystal is more anti-gay based on his remarks. I used to support Obama but I am beginning to think you can’t ever take what he says at face value, because the Whitehouse could have easily swept this under the rug, because these were just “good ol’ boy” remarks by guys who were letting loose after stressful combat. Plus, it is Rolling Stone! Why is Obama so affected by a hippy rockster magazine? Obama just fired a man who is more than twice the man he is in every aspect of life, which in my mind backfires. It doesn’t make him look tough, it makes him look like a little ninny who couldn’t take minor criticism.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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