Two Commanders, No Chief
The wrong commander resigned. That was my first thought on hearing news of the meeting between Gen. McChrystal and our Commander-in-Chief (my second thought was Joe Barton just got a lucky break). Given the story of the two men and their achievements in office, what fair-minded individual could disagree?
One of these commanders walks through the streets of Afghanistan without a flak jacket, kneels down in the mud and gets dirty with his soldiers, runs seven miles a day, and has earned the respect of his men as well as that of the elected Afghan government. The other commander has played 40 rounds of golf in a little over a year, hosted parties with Hollywood celebs and Paul McCartney, played basketball in Afghanistan, kneeled on the beach without getting dirty for tar photo-ops, and has lost the respect of President Karzai, not to mention his own men, one of whom he has now dismissed. But Obama thinks we need to unify behind… him?
Liberals on MS-DNC were already trying to spin President Obama’s swift decision to remove McChrystal as Truman-like. Truman Capote maybe. He may have dithered for months on whether to send more soldiers to the battlefield, but this president wastes no time when it comes to personal vendettas. If Obama’s thin-skinned response to hearsay and off-the-cuff comments detailed by an anti-war lefty writer in a rock n’ roll magazine that features Lady Gaga on the cover is any indication, this is a low point for the presidency and the War on Terror. And perhaps Rolling Stone (though that bar is set pretty low).
Of course, President Obama has gone out of his way to eliminate the phrases War on Terror and War on Islamic Extremism to declare War on Big Oil – so long as you ignore the fact that his administration is in bed with BP and would love nothing more than to ignore the clean-up in the gulf and instead pass a highly partisan, political “solution.” The battle in Afghanistan can’t be won politically, there’s no game-changing leftist legislation to push through the Democratic Congress whether it goes swimmingly or falls to pieces, so Obama considers it a distraction. If calling it “Overseas Contingency Operations” doesn’t say I don’t care in the slightest, perhaps another Fourth of July wiener roast with the “moderate” Taliban will do the trick. Or more trials for enemy combatants picked up on the battlefield. Or allowing a mosque at the site of 9/11.
I haven’t read the Rolling Stone article for the same reason I haven’t picked up Mad Magazine or attempted a keg stand in 15 years. Because I graduated from high school. My understanding, however, from various accounts by ninth graders who have read it is it depicts sophomoric behavior, especially some of the comments by McChrystal’s aides, but nowhere does it come close to insubordination. And how could it? McChrystal and Obama support the same counterinsurgency policies, agree on the same rules of engagement, and McChrystal admits he even voted for Obama – over war hero John McCain mind you. So why the heck did he replace him? He should have given the man a medal.
The ironic thing is in picking Gen. Petraeus to take over, Obama has actually ceded more civilian power to the military. If Petraeus challenges the president’s policies in Afghanistan, Obama can’t exactly turn around and replace him, too. That would look erratic and ineffective. I would actually like to see Petraeus change the rules of engagement and give our soldiers a chance. But mostly, I’d like win this war before the president plays another 40 rounds of golf. Or hosts Lady Gaga in the White House.