Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scuttlebutt is not Mutiny

Generals with serious differences of opinion hang up their uniforms and shoot off their mouths as serious civilians. They're entitled to that, like every other American citizen. Anything less than serious is scuttlebutt, not Seven Days in May, and should be ignored.

Barack Obama had more options than simply firing Stanley McChrystal, including reduction in grade and reassignment. Obvious contempt for the chain of command, especially in a theater of war, is somebody's bad judgment — but scuttlebutt is scuttlebutt and mutiny is mutiny. There's a huge difference. There was room for clarity. But as it stands, all we know is that Obama has a ferociously icy bad temper, and General McChrystal was extraordinarily competent in Afghanistan. His loss is aid and comfort to the Taliban, and on that account, Obama gets my vote of no confidence.

Besides, Rolling Stone hasn't got clean hands on this one, if the story about airport delays caused by ash from Eyjafjallajokul are true. "On the record" is not carte blanche to ruin careers and lose a war; it has limits, obvious limits, and if you were invited along as an embed for two f****ing days, your mark does not have to invoke Miranda rights to get back off the record, especially during an unintentional month-long scheduling delay in the shadow of an Icelandic volcano.

Obama should have been listening to the substance of gripes coming out of McChrystal's camp, not falling for the same old "wimp factor" taunts that got Bush, Sr. into Desert Storm. But there is no indication that the President was even aware of undercurrents or changing conditions. No sense of urgency there at all. He was blindsided by his own stupidly obvious errors, omissions and shortcomings, and that fact has lost him the Presidency in 2012 and the war in Afghanistan starting yesterday.

I'm a civilian. I voted for Obama. I'll vote against him in a couple years. When the movie comes out, the role of Stanley McChrystal will be played by Scott Glenn ("Hunt for Red October"), with Denzel Washington as Barack Obama, Leslie Nielsen as Adolf Hitler and Zap Brannigan as Michael Hastings.

"Embeds"...? What genius thought that one up?



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