McChrystal’s unprofessional sniping forces us to confront the truth about Afghanistan: We’re losing

There are many things that might be said — and have been said — about General Stanley McChrystal’s utterly unprofessional comments about his civilian bosses, including President Obama, the commander-in-chief. Many have already noted that the Uniform Code of Military Justice makes clear that such comments are out-of-bounds:

Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

We’ll probably know in a matter of days whether the general will be cashiered.

But the general’s sniping also makes clear what many critics of Obama’s Afghanistan policy have been saying for months now: the war isn’t going well. Indeed, it may be unwinnable. If McChrystal were winning, it’s unlikely he’d be freely sniping about his superiors to a reporter.

After the dust settles over whether he stays or goes, the debate over Afghanistan will begin anew. Despite the objections of McCrystal and others, the president said recently that he will stick to the timetable he laid out earlier for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. He should.

The deeply entrenched problems of that backward country — including a corrupt leader, Hamid Karzai, draw too many uncomfortable parallels to Vietnam. Our counterinsurgency strategy relys on helping Afghanistan to quickly create a functioning central government that the trust of villagers in far-flung provinces and supports local governments that provide services. However, the Afghan government seems incapable of that. And the US cannot do it for them and shouldn’t try to.

Perhaps this war could have been won if President Bush had devoted his time and attention to it after the invasion in 2001. But he didn’t. He allowed Osama bin Laden to escape to the mountains of Tora Bora while he went after Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with 9/11. Now, as we struggle with a deep recession, the American people are tiring of a war in a distant land. Especially one that doesn’t seem winnable.

269 comments Add your comment

Sawboy

June 22nd, 2010
3:40 pm

Yes, he must be punished for telling the truth………………

Keep up the good fight!

June 22nd, 2010
3:52 pm

Which truth is that? Of course, if he had an opinion on the war, seems the protocol would be to bring it to the Commander in Chief to make a decision. Sawboy, seems your military protocol varies with the person in the White House.

Sam (The Cool 1 )

June 22nd, 2010
3:58 pm

Pancho never spoke badly of the Cisco Kid. Now there is an example we all need to follow.

Sick&Tired

June 22nd, 2010
4:10 pm

I have always been against the Iraq and Afghan wars, because I knew they could not be won. I was against an increase in troops; which is what McChrystal wanted back in 2009, so with me he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. I have been for pulling out of Iraq and Afghan; which is what we need to do ASAP.

We need to stop wasting money, other resources and lives……

T-Town

June 22nd, 2010
4:15 pm

No matter what he thinks about Obama and how Obama is running the war, he should have voiced his frustration in private with Obama . MacAuthur found this out with Truman and so will McCrystal with Obama. A soldier must stay loyal to God and country, no matter what.

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:21 pm

Sam (The Cool 1 ) :

Stop that! You’re killing me! But …….. I think it’s “Poncho”…………… :o

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:22 pm

Cynthia:

You are correct. General McChrystal has indeed shown bad judgement ……….. starting with admitting he voted for Obama.

(Now just think how the ones who voted for McCain really feel …………….. :o )

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:26 pm

P.S. to Cynthia:

What is this “We’re losing” stuff?

Are you over there earning your combat action ribbon?

Kamchak

June 22nd, 2010
4:26 pm

Perhaps this war could have been won if President Bush had devoted his time and attention to it after the invasion in 2001. But he didn’t. He allowed Osama bin Laden to escape to the mountains of Tora Bora while he went after Saddam Hussein, who had nothing to do with 9/11.

Bush was too busy running around the desert chasing Gog and Magog.

Here’s a story we should all be ashamed of missing: George W Bush attempted to sell the invasion of Iraq to Jacques Chirac using biblical prophecy.

In the winter of 2003, when George Bush and Tony Blair were frantically gathering support for their planned invasion, Professor Thomas Römer, an Old Testament expert at the university of Lausanne, was rung up by the Protestant Federation of France. They asked him to supply them with a summary of the legends surrounding Gog and Magog and as the conversation progressed, he realised that this had originally come, from the highest reaches of the French government.

President Jacques Chirac wanted to know what the hell President Bush had been on about in their last conversation. Bush had then said that when he looked at the Middle East, he saw “Gog and Magog at work” and the biblical prophecies unfolding. But who the hell were Gog and Magog? Neither Chirac nor his office had any idea. But they knew Bush was an evangelical Christian, so they asked the French Federation of Protestants, who in turn asked Professor Römer.

arnold

June 22nd, 2010
4:27 pm

Scout… General McArthur led the way in bad judgement. McChrystal is following. He will also probably follow McArthur out the door.

Sam (The Cool 1 )

June 22nd, 2010
4:27 pm

Scout…No. I looked it up. Pancho is the correct spelling. Man, you learn such interesting stuff studying these guys. It has made me alot smarter.

obama's fault

June 22nd, 2010
4:32 pm

First off, what he said was wrong and he should be punished accordingly. The military has rules and flat-out….you don’t break them. It sets a bad example for your soldiers and it needs to be nipped in the bud. However, it has to make you wonder….why are so many people jumping ship on Obama? Rahm likely leaving, Orszag. Perhaps they see the guy for what he is….a phony that is in way over his head?

I also think it is humorous how the press is out in force for McCrystal’s head. In fact, they kind of were when he made his initial request for troops last year. Yet, when Petraeus gave an assessment of the Iraq War that was contrary to what the liberal think tank thought and in instead thought the way Bush did, his name got plastered all of the magazines and newspapers with “General Betray-us” posted under it. It just seems odd and rather hypocritical to me.

Ivan Cohen

June 22nd, 2010
4:35 pm

Will a place be prepared for General McCrystal to go along the side of General MacArthur who went off the radar screen during the Korean War and President Truman sacked him.

Libertarian

June 22nd, 2010
4:35 pm

Perhaps this war could have been won if President Bush had devoted his time and attention to it after the invasion in 2001.

No, this war could never have been won. Bring the troops home.

obama's fault

June 22nd, 2010
4:36 pm

More garbage from Kamchak. Do you ever have an original thought in your head or do you just scan the internet all day looking for articles to make yourself seem like you have a brain? A few articles with some legitimate well-thought comments is fine, but all we see from you is an article with a pointless comment included. I guess whatever makes you fell good……….

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:36 pm

arnold:

True ……… but I bet McArthur didn’t vote for Truman ……….. :o

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:37 pm

Sam (The Cool 1 ) :

Thank you sir! I will remember that. Keep ‘em coming ……………..

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:41 pm

“Daddy, have you busted that general yet?”

Granny Godzilla

June 22nd, 2010
4:42 pm

I suspect the list of replacements is on the Presidents desk.

30 days tops.

Ivan

June 22nd, 2010
4:43 pm

LOL. I knew it. “It’s Bush’s fault”. I just knew it was too much for the libs to resist.

If you have a problem with McChrystal, you should have a problem with Obama making the bad decision to put him in charge.

obama's fault

June 22nd, 2010
4:44 pm

Ivan, exactly correct. He was handpicked by Obama. The liberal mind is so scatterbrained.

A Lumpkin Resident

June 22nd, 2010
4:45 pm

This war was NEVER winnable. Period. Most of the country is too remote, ther is not enough central control, there is not enough infrastructure. There is no way to effectively secure everywhere all at once in such a way that the people will feel safe enough to cooperate with U.S. forces. There was nothing GWBush could do, nothing the Russians could do ( or the British before them). The women are in for a life of subjugation, and the men for a life of intimidation. The taliban are people that are perfectly happy to be kings of their own little piece of desert, living off the fear of desperate people.

PearlJam

June 22nd, 2010
4:45 pm

I hope and pray for our country and Obama we win.
The Afgan surge and appointing McKrystal was one of the things I was in agreement with Pres Obama.
They will work it out, Both of them know and have stated how important it is for us to win in Afganistan.

Surely Cynthia is not hoping for Obama to fail.

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:46 pm

Granny:

Oh, come on …………. “Private” Obama should make the general do 50 push-ups on the Oval Office rug and let’s move on.

One, two, three, four ……………………………………….. fifty.

obama's fault

June 22nd, 2010
4:48 pm

This should be interesting. McChrystal, a self-proclaimed devoted Obama-lover, gets canned and then he can speak his mind. I am not so sure that Obama wants to remove him when he will get an opportunity to spill his guts about what exactly he was talking about. Although, given Obama’s love for the Communism, he will probably find a way to send him off to Siberia somewhere.

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:48 pm

……………. or maybe the general feels like this:

“When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.”

Rudyard Kipling

Sam (The Cool 1 )

June 22nd, 2010
4:50 pm

It’s amazing how The Cisco Kid and Pancho relate to the events of today. They give a new meaning to the term “yesteryear”. I have got to just keep sharing this to the “today” world. “Adios Amigos see you soon.”

Granny Godzilla

June 22nd, 2010
4:51 pm

Scout

Thanks for your opinion, mine is that he should be and will be let go.

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:53 pm

Granny:

100 push-ups ?

Kamchak

June 22nd, 2010
4:54 pm

I guess whatever makes you fell good…

You humping my leg doesn’t make the list.

Scout

June 22nd, 2010
4:55 pm

Granny:

100 push-ups and he has to wear his shoes on backwards for a week. How’s that?

Wanda

June 22nd, 2010
4:56 pm

Kick some a%%.
Keep the boot on the neck
Sack the general
Borrow and spend some more

Everything but lead.
Obama is just not up to the task.

SouthGeorgiaDawg

June 22nd, 2010
4:56 pm

They’re only “unprofessional” to CT because they are true. Obama and his cronies have no spine, and they absolutely have no idea how to run a war. Politics have no place on the battlefield.

Good for General McChrystal.

Sawboy

June 22nd, 2010
5:00 pm

Keep up the good fight!

June 22nd, 2010
3:52 pm
Which truth is that? Of course, if he had an opinion on the war, seems the protocol would be to bring it to the Commander in Chief to make a decision. Sawboy, seems your military protocol varies with the person in the White House.

Dear Keep,
Duh, you are correct, unlike our current Prersident, I have had actual war time experience

T-Town

June 22nd, 2010
5:00 pm

Afghanistan is a war much like Vietnam and can’t be won. The hearts and minds of the peasants of both of these countries will not be won over with might, promises, or gifts. Much like the Vietnamese, the Afghans do not care who has control of their country, but would side with the Taliban then those who they consider to be “outsiders.” Once Bush failed to snag bin Laden he should have had us exit Afghanistan and look for a plan B. If McCrystal was worth his weight as a soldier, he should have seen that this war was un-winnable and advised Obama to cut and run instead of adding more troops.

Robert

June 22nd, 2010
5:00 pm

Obama is a child trying to do a grown up job. He is most comfortable campaiging, talking at half time of basketball games about his jump shot, telling nurses he has always enjoyed nurses, and lastly playing golf. Please note that those still speaking of Bush sound like a two year old saying I didn’t eat the cookie. Did we miss the Budget Director leaving, really, did we miss that one?

SouthGeorgiaDawg

June 22nd, 2010
5:01 pm

Its so refreshing to see some of the top brass call it like they see it. General McChrystal knows that Obama is a puke civilian who never had the guts to serve. The danger to Obama isn’t the General’s current comments, but its the comments he will make if Obama gets fired. Oh the drama that will unfold….

Anderson Pooper

June 22nd, 2010
5:05 pm

I could care less if the good ole USA wins or loses in Afghanistan, War is a pointless exercise for grown men who like to wear flair….

Oxymoron

June 22nd, 2010
5:06 pm

Kamchak subscribes to the Cynthia Tucker School of Journalism’s mantra: copy and paste what is not yours.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

June 22nd, 2010
5:09 pm

You win wars by killing people and breaking the will of the populace to continue fighting. Until we start killing people instead of reacting after they try to kill us we won’t win. We are fighting an enemy that Mr Obama will not even call by name. I think he thinks we are the bad guys, and that’s a big hurdle for our military to overcome. I fear for the future of our Republic.

Kamchak

June 22nd, 2010
5:13 pm

Good to see my fan club is starting to show up.

How much are the dues? Do you guys/gals have matching Tee-shirts? Secret handshake?

Avenger

June 22nd, 2010
5:14 pm

The one thing a GOOD soldier never forgets – always obey orders. As an old military man, it’s time for the president to take names and kick arsess.

Oxymoron

June 22nd, 2010
5:19 pm

No dues or hand shakes, just pity for you…for being so dumb.

Kamchak

June 22nd, 2010
5:21 pm

just pity for you…for being so dumb.

No need to feel sorry for me—my hearing is just fine.

Oxymoron

June 22nd, 2010
5:24 pm

Your hearing may be fine, but your LISTENING skills suck. And,yes, there IS a difference.

Pablo

June 22nd, 2010
5:30 pm

General McChrystal’s big mistake was to say, and to allow his staff to say exactly what they were thinking. Bad move. You know that in this day and age criticizing the Dear Leader is a mortal sin, as opposed to a being a supreme duty and moral imperative like in the days of W… anyhoo, based on their track records, i’ll side with the General.

neo-Carlinist

June 22nd, 2010
5:31 pm

has anyone read the Rolling Stone article. I just did and here’s my take. McChrystal was hired because he is blunt and candid. Most of the “unprofessional” (your word) comments are attributed to “an aide” or other member of “Team America”. Ditto much of the “F-bombs” and scotological references, which are the words of the author, and no McChrystal’s. It amazes me that people clamour for “outside the box” thinking – especially on the part of the military, and when we find a General who does, we throw him under the bus of political protocol (Kamchak, this Bud’s for you). McChrystal is not your typical a**-kissing, military brat. Politicians like McCain and Palin present themselves as “mavericks” but McChrystal is a true maverick. He’s not tactically perfect, but given the nature of his job (how’d you like Joe Biden second-guessing you?), I’ll take the poorly delivered truth over a politically polished lie. This is actually a seminal moment for Obama. If he cans McChrystal, Afghanistan WILL become his Vietnam, and he will not see a second term. Generals don’t run for re-election. They don’t campaign. The map out strategy and tactics and they employ them in pursuit of objectives. Let Obama and the DC crowd play the shell game. I think McChrystal may have been crazy like a fox in this instance. In the irony of all ironies (assuming Obama IS a socialist), he “sold Obama the rope he will use to hang him”).

Tommy Maddox

June 22nd, 2010
5:31 pm

The General asks Obama for 140,000 troops – three months later Obama consents to send 30,000.

Definitely Bush’s fault.

You Asked

June 22nd, 2010
5:35 pm

The General should not have criticized his boss in a magazine interview. Although I suspect Rolling Stone did a bit of creative editing to make it look as flagrant as possible. No matter how correct he is about the administration the Commander in Chief is still the top dog. Generals serve at his pleasure.

He’s going the way of MacArthur and Patton…

I’m not crying salty tears given his insistence on rules of engagement that tie our soldiers hands and lose us lives.

Tommy Maddox

June 22nd, 2010
5:36 pm

Were those his rules?