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September 28, 2009

When a Great Country Doesn't Deserve the Truth

This weekend as the Editorial Staff looked down our nose out our airplane window at the vast intellectual wasteland that is flyover country, we pondered the well known truth that - at least for the truly enlightened progressive - tolerance of diversity is a practice far better honored in the breach than in the observance.

At the risk of stereotyping (which of course we would never do) it's hard to know just what to make of these frightened and irrational bitter gun-clinging racist types?

It's not as though there is any rational basis for their frankly unhinged belief system, is there? Fortunately, we can explain what we don't understand by labeling such mystifying thoughts "insane", "ignorant", or "fearful" - all without violating our own belief system! The key, really, is to put the wingnuts in their place. There used to be a nifty phrase for that... what was it? Marginalize them? Treat them as "The Other". Of course when we do it, it's perfectly fine because we hold the correct world view. If they did the same thing to us, it would be intolerant and wrongheaded.

Clarity on these matters is so important, don't you think? It's what keeps us honest.

Now that we finally have a really smart President in the Oval Office, we can stop worrying about that pesky Constitution, executive overreach, checks and balances. It's so reassuring to know that we can finally soak those darned bumper stickers off the Volvo, too. The age of Obama rendered all that "We the People" nonsense completely irrelevant:

Question Authority? Oh honey, that's so Bush administration. Now that the right party's in charge, the continuation of policies once branded as dangerous signs of a power-mad Unitary Executive can be safely ignored.

Dissent as the highest form of patriotism has been replaced by unAmerican dissent, dissent as racism, dissent as insanity, and our personal favorite, dissent as "violent speech". Ooch! Ouch! Stop beating me up with your ... your... nasty, brutish words, you big bullies!

When The Shrub was in office, Pentagon insiders who leaked truth to power were the sign of a vibrant and healthy democracy. It was vital these brave truth tellers not be silenced by heavy handed enforcement of policies they agreed to voluntarily! Such jackbooted government censorship was out of the question; after all, doesn't a great nation deserve the truth?

Of course now that Obama is President, such dangerous and despicable revelations can only mean one thing. An impending military coup!

Crack-induced imaginings of a half a million troops aside, it looks as if McChrystal ignored chain of command, pissing on President Obama's shoes and decided his report should be made public rather than submit it to his Commander in Chief and await the CiC's decision on next steps.

GOP legislators have also been clamoring for McChrystal and other military leaders report to Congress rather than the Commander in Chief as to their plans for Afghanistan (which as markfromireland pointed out, could be seen as little more than incitement to mutiny).

Now some might inconveniently recall that during the Bush administration, progressives were positively clamoring for Congress to run the war on terror. But with Obama in office, such unwarranted power sharing suddenly seems distinctly less desireable. The supreme authority of the Commander-in-Chief must not be questioned by supposedly "co-equal" branches of government and above all, the minority party mustn't be allowed to take part in the democratic process.... that is, unless they're willing to cross the aisle and vote with the majority. Elections have consequences, you know. It's kind of a might makes right thing, except we're left. But you get the drift.

During the Bush years, any sign that the troops didn't have what they needed to complete the mission was touted as Presidential incompetence. Under Obama, though, personnel and equipment shortages are never the President's fault! Come to think of it, it's downright rude for the military to wonder how supposed to win a war in 12-18 months without the troops they asked for back in March when Obama first unveiled his strategery:

"The question is not whether we're making progress. The question is whether we're making enough progress fast enough," McChrystal said.

He drew a graph showing the rate of progress he really needs. "What if our rate of progress is below that, but it's still up? So then people come visit, I come visit you, and every time I visit you, you say 'We're doing good. We're doing better. We made progress.' It doesn't matter, 'cause at the end of the day you lost. At some point you lost," he said.

...In one video conference with the Pentagon, he complained about the months it takes just to get officers assigned to his staff when he's up against a deadline from the Secretary of Defense.

"The secretary talks in terms of 12 to 18 months to show a significant change and then we eat up two or three months just on sort of getting the tools out of the tool box. That really hurts," McChrystal explained during the briefing.

He relentlessly pounded away at the Pentagon bureaucracy. "The average organization, when someone asks when you want something, they pull out a calendar. But in a good organization they look at their watch and we really got to get that way," McChrystal said.

If only we could get some of that secrecy back from the Bush years! The last thing we want is for the American people to have a frank accounting of how the war is going, how their tax dollars are being spent or how many of their sons and daughters are dying (and for what!). Which is why I'm so glad to see the Reality Based Community bravely call for suppression of this dangerous speech.

Do we really want commanders on the ground telling our government what will be needed to carry out strategies formulated by the civilian leadership? Of course we don't!

Why, that's insubordination! Sometimes, a great nation really doesn't deserve the truth.

It's good to know that the progressive community will do their damndest to make sure our national security isn't threatened by inconvenient facts.

Posted by Cassandra at September 28, 2009 11:00 PM

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As he noted, Lang is a highly experienced military officer and a consistently valuable analyst of mlitary and foreign policy affairs. Here’s Lang in an earlier piece on McChrystal’s ‘leaked” report:
"This paper presents the president with only one option on a 'take it or leave it' basis. I realize that Stanley M. is a subordinate theater commander and a full general but he is still the president's subordinate and he serves at the pleasure of the president/commander in chief. In all the Army schools that I attended (Infantry Officer Basic Course to the US Army War College), it was more or less customary to present the commander with several options in the way of 'courses of action.' If you do not do that then you are clearly seeking to limit the freedom of action of the commander. This is insubordinate in spirit."

COL (Ret) W. Patrick Lang is indeed educated and experienced, but his analysis is colored by both his political bent and his evident micromanagerialism -- he's also playing pretty fast and loose with his statement that "you are clearly seeking to limit the freedom of action of the commander." It isn’t at all unusual for a commander to tell his staff, “Here is our situation and our working parameters. Give me your best plan for accomplishing this end-state.” A commander faced with time constraints will do *exactly* that, because it will save him from wading through an endless procession of PowerPoint bullet points that “What-If” the situation to death. The commander trusts that his staff’s knowledge and professionalism will present him with a plan enabling him to spend his time working the optimum strategy, rather than eliminating a dozen of lesser value. If his staff doesn’t do that, he replaces his staff because they have wasted his time. But I guarantee you that McChrystal had his own staff bullet-point his options to death so that he could determine the requirements best-suited to implement Obama’s strategy, because it took him almost five months to write his report.

Lang is not omniscient, despite his background, and I pretty much doubt that Obama consulted him on the directions Obama gave General McChrystal.

Posted by: Bill "Z.Z. Zydeco" T at September 29, 2009 03:56 AM

Fortunately, we can explain away what we don't understand by labeling such mystifying thoughts "insane", "ignorant", or "fearful" - all without violating our own belief system!

I heard another one last night: "infantile". Whatever...

Posted by: camojack at September 29, 2009 03:59 AM

It's good to know that the progressive community will do their damndest to make sure our national security isn't threatened by inconvenient facts.

It isn't OUR national security the progressive community is worried about. They are worried about THEIR national security from the skewed perspective of an unworkable ROE for our military. Whether they understand it or not, and I think they do, they are empowering our enemies who are like-minded practitioners of Marxism, single President, payor, single (fill in the blank) blind idealists unencumbered by history or the human condition.

I have seen posters of their blind ambition. Unfortunately they were on WWII posters out of Russia and Germany and we know how that worked out.

Posted by: vet66 at September 29, 2009 06:51 AM

"I heard another one last night: "infantile". Whatever..."

My all time favorite is "hysterical"...

Posted by: Carrie at September 29, 2009 09:55 AM

For a liberal, the ends always justify the means. Anything that advances the Bolshevik Revolution is good and permitted, while anything that acts against the Revolution is inherently evil. Their is no absolute "good" vs "evil", it is all relative vis-a-vis the advancement of communism/death of capitalism.

When viewed through this Bolshevik prism, the actions of the Left makes sense. OF COURSE Bush had to be opposed, he was an enemy of the Revolution. It is equally OBVIOUS that Obama must be supported, even when performing the same exact acts for which Bush was condemned, because Obama is bringing the Revolution to fruition, and therefore all is permitted to achieve the desired end.

There are no "principles" which govern the Left, achievement of the Revolution is all that matters. Once you realize that liberals begin, act, and end with this viewpoint, you realize that it is no longer important to listen to anything that comes out of their mouths -- it is all rubbish. What is black today may be white tomorrow, and vice versa, depending upon the needs of achieving the Revolution. Looking for consistency, reason, or meaning under such circumstances is a fool's game.

Posted by: a former european at September 29, 2009 02:35 PM

When a soldier, any soldier, is given a mission, his sole purpose in life is to complete that mission. When Obama picked General McChrystal for his present command, we were told he was the best man for the job. In a very short period of time, the best man for the job, and somebody who has spent the greater part of his life in uniform, has become an insubordinate.

The Left has gotten Iraq out of the way, and now, despite their calling it a just war, it is time to get Afghanistan out of the way. As I learned many years ago, just about anybody can become an instantaneous military genius. Throw facts and figures at them, and they will tell you that you are wrong. In the end, the most important task for this administration and the its cohorts in Congress is its political agenda. Should accomplishing that goal require a little bit of character assassination, so be it. In not all that many years, few will recall General McChrystal's name, and Obama will be letting us all know what his version of the "truth" is.

I have rarely been accused of being the sharpest tool in the shed, but one of my favorite quotes in life was from Will Rogers - “I would rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it.” Which of the two will Obama be judged to be?

Posted by: RIslander at September 29, 2009 08:24 PM

PS to General McChrystal,

Wait until Obama writes his memoirs before you write yours. The last to speak tends to win the argument.

Posted by: RIslander at September 29, 2009 11:48 PM

My all time favorite is "hysterical"...
Posted by: Carrie at September 29, 2009 09:55 AM

They're all symptoms of the same disease. The insults, that is...

Posted by: camojack at September 30, 2009 01:30 AM

The more I read or hear about Obama or Bush, I realize that there is such a preponderance of lies and misinformation that it is really impossible to know who either of these men really are or what they have done. Republicans and Democrats alike are masters of propaganda, which has served only to divide the country while continuing to rob the people, both rich and poor alike, who actually produce the goods and services that build an economy. The lies are costing the American people their freedom, their prosperity, and their wisdom. The end result is going to be the destruction of the greatest nation the earth has known thus far, and for the sad fact that nobody tells the truth, even you.

Posted by: Chris at February 10, 2010 02:41 PM