Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McChrystal’s comments not far off the mark

According to today’s headlines U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal has been recalled to Washington this week for allegedly criticizing colleagues and administration leadership in comments he made to an author of a Rolling Stone article. Gen. McChrystal, the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan, was originally scheduled to attend the monthly Afghanistan-Pakistan conference with senior administration officials via Secure Video Teleconference (SVTC) later this week.

According to CBS News, the “Rolling Stone profile…paints him [Gen. McChrystal] as deeply disconnected and displeased with the Obama administration.” Supposedly, Gen. McChrystal and his staff ridiculed Obama’s “national security team with locker-room bravado.” Some of the believed targets of the General’s and his staff’s derision included Gen. (Ret.) James Jones, Obama’s National Security Advisor; Vice President Joe Biden; and Richard Holbrooke, the senior State Department official assigned to Afghanistan and Pakistan. No one has claimed that Obama was part of the mockery.

For those familiar with the Obama administration’s history with regards to the war in Afghanistan and the situation in Pakistan the General’s alleged comments will not come as a shock. Aside from Gen. (Ret.) Jones, none of Obama’s National Security team has military, much less combat, experience. Obama has surrounded himself with theoreticians, academicians, and wishful thinkers as opposed to experienced doers, which explains his dithering on the decision of whether or not to send additional troops as requested last year by General Petraeus. It is no wonder Holbrooke has yet to “lay out clear goals for the region,” especially since he assigns critical positions to kids such as Ronan Farrow, who was only 21-years old when appointed as a Special Adviser for Afghanistan and Pakistan. I do not care how book smart a person is, or if that person was considered a child prodigy and entered college as soon as emerging from the womb, unless a person has the field experience, the real world familiarity with such a critical issue, book smarts do not cut it. But instead of Holbrooke being held accountable for not taking his job seriously and recruiting at the local elementary school, our Generals, faced daily with tests of courage and conviction, are called away from the battlefield for making a few jokes about people who are everyday just begging to be made fun of.

Mr. Obama, you need to take a long, hard look at your own war council, possibly even card them to ensure they are of age, and write Gen. McChrystal’s remarks off as a joke. Until you fix the personnel situation within your own circle, no one will ever take them seriously. This is not a time and Afghanistan is not the place to teach these kids about war or to allow amateurs to play at army or diplomacy.

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