Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal balls

Stan McChrystal has some justification for discontent inasmuch as to what he is expected to accomplish. However, he conducted a fairly serious breach of military protocol and regulation by speaking out as he did. Both sides here have a conundrum.....the left will be torn between Obama firing his own appointee as ISAF Commander and appearing weak in deference to the military, reinforcing a common myth. The right never wants to miss an opportunity to excoriate a Democratic Administration, but has it's lineage of dogmatic fealty to the military establishment, reinforcing a common myth that the Republican Party is more supportive of the military.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that the article was an exercise in self-sabotage. McChrystal is in an unenviable position. There is virtually no hope that a military victory can occur in Afghanistan for a long list of reasons spelled out in various other topics. He would be the scapegoat of the eventual withdrawal without 'winning'. He can then pursue more lucrative avenues, such a Military Analyst on Fox News.....

Now, in the short attention span theater, critics will point to Obama not providing all of the forces that McChrystal had asked for, as justification and deification. They will uniformly forget that Bush failed to provide the requisite forces that McKeirnan had asked for some years ago.

The major problem in Afghanistan is that we're fighting insurgents rather than terrorists....and the recent ISAF directive from McChrystal concerning the Afghan 'surge' didn't even mention terrorism. I drove from Fort Bragg back to Virginia yesterday and had the dubious opportunity to listen to Beck, Wilkow and Hannity on the trip [not to worry, I'll be showering it all off soon]....and the general consensus from this trio was that Obama has not been 'engaged' in the 'war on terror' and in Af-Pak. Strange considering that Obama has merely continued Bush's strategy other than vastly increasing SOCOM presence and drone strikes in Pakistan.

McChrystal's Marjah offensive complete with 'government-in-a-box' has been an abject failure, and the Kandahar campaign is essentially on hold. As I opined previously, I wouldn't be surprised if Stan the Man is orchestrating his exit on his own terms. 

Naming Petraeus as his replacement is rather CENTCOM Commander, Petraeus is McChrystal's supervisor. Taking personal command of a theater within a Commander's Area of Operations may be unprecedented when two theaters are simultaneously active. Although I think Petraeus stepping down a level is rather peculiar......I suppose it's as close to a home run as Obama could get with this mini-crisis. Petraeus is a darling of the right and feted by the media, largely for the perception that his strategy achieved some modicum of success in Iraq. The chance to garner another feather in his cap for a future political aspiration would be hard to pass up. Of course time will tell if he'll continue to think that was a good he oversees a possible Saigon rooftop evacuation of Kabul.

I'm left wondering now if King David will wear CENTCOM/COMISAF hats or if there will be a new boss in Tampa....and if so, how the dynamics will play out between Petraeus and his new supervisor.


  1. I too think that McChrystal chose to fall on his own sword... He being the Idiot-N-Chief's anointed one stepped aside so that his successor could make the changes necessary such as changing the R.O.E....

  2. The RoE is just about the only COIN tenet that is being followed. Now if local government legitimacy would follow suit, there might be a chance of some amount of success.

    I see a lot of people on the internet talking about ROE, namely because they read about it on some blog. But in the same vein, they support COIN....


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.