Thursday, June 24, 2010

General McChrystal--Viper or Victum ?

There is not much left of the West Point ingrained ethos of civilian leadership when long-grey-line General McChrystal publically criticizes his White House chain of command- If McChrystal was a winner, you possibly might dismiss his rant as a frustrated tiger in cage; the fact is, his record in Afghanistan is dismal, more akin to the lion in the Wizard of Oz..

He certainly has not pacified the Taliban lands; his showcase operation at Marja was characterized by him as a running sore; he has failed to curb poppy production, train Afghan reliable poilce and military forces. If there is unity in his US and NATO command, it escapes me. His recent verbal pissing on Washington appointed civilian leadership publically in a" Rolling Stone"magazine interview destroys the unity of command at the highest level.

The General picked a wrong time to cavort when he had already over 60 KIA-the highest in a month in the 9-year war.

The military/industrial/congressional complex has already mounted a campaign to prevent his relief from command by President Obama. With trillion dollar war budgets and fifty percent of his command as private contractors , this is easy to understand. It been reported that GW Bush while in office told the then Argentine president Nestor Kirchner. that war is the economic stimulus--this concept is not new, but coming from a hypocrite that avoided service in Vietnam is new. McChrystal has also received warm support for his continued command from our puppet-off-the- string Karzai. Judas kiss ? Or mutual admiration ? Take your choice.

McChrystal is purported to be an expert in unconventional operations, yet now his command in Afghanistan has been one of conventinal operations. He loves those big immobile sprawing firebases and grand search and destroy opreations; he has even okayed recently a big special forces headquarters which should go far in the destruction of what exists as unity of command. The irony is that McChrystal commanded terrorist hunter/killer units in Iraq brilliantly despite the fact there were POW abuse scandals on his watch.

McChrystal is a hands on warrior and a brave man who has reached his level of incompetency. He bucked the system and advanced in the army as a "Ranger Stranger", special forces and unconventional warefare. His tongue got him in trouble as well as his loyal, child-like staff that trash talked the higher chain of command,apparently reflecting his views Some believe that pathos is deserved as he is relieved. I do not. He played his cards and was trumped.

What is right is that Afghanistan ,if you restrict the mission to a war on terror, is that Special forces or unconventional operations is the way to go.- -use light ,mobile skilled forces in punitive and preemptive operations .

If this to be the case, McChrystal is not the man to command it. He and Saveus Patareus are hearts and minds guys. They keep recycling tactics and strategies from the Vietnam war where they failed, never fit in Iraq and are preposterious in Afghanistan. Building bases, training local security and police forces and bribing locals always backfires in the long term. Even in an open colonial war it does not work--look what happened to the French and English colonies once Europeans were forced out. At best the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are covert colonial wars.

By 20thc and even the Army's lower n 21stc standards, McCytstal's arrogance and bad judgement mandate relief of command. This conduct after his cover-up of the Tillman friendly fire incident and his lobbying for troop build-up inAfghanistant outside command channels before Obama made his decision to add 30,000 troops should have alerted the President that he had a maverick general that will embarass him. I believe Mc Chrystal believed the military/industrial /congressional complex would protect as in the past; he amounted to its agent.

With Obama's leadership questioned by being led by the nose by BP on the Oil Spill, McChrystal is a viper which challenges the preisdent's leadership As Obama relieves the general ,McChrystal will be considerd a victum by the war lobbyists and many Republicans. The General has already offered his resignation and the President accepted.

These same Republicans and exmilitary will argue that in Vietnam we never lost a battle. When an American General made the same argument to a North Vietnamese general in a postwar setting, the North Vietnamese responded that this was irrelevant.--Do you think our sevice academies will ever learn that lesson ? Otherwise you will have more permanent war McChrystal and Petraeus in the pipeline. These are generals who prolong war--cannot win them, only to lose them in the end. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.


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