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June 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

During the Bush administration and the so-called revolt of the generals (the retired ones, mostly), the media were quick to praise public dissenters as lone wolves who spoke truth to power about the ineptness in Iraq. But it is not good when military officers go public with complaints about their civilian overseers. One of the great contributions of Matthew Ridgway to the war effort in Korea was that he stopped officers’ public sniping at the Truman policy, much of which he was probably in disagreement with.

Later he aired his differences with Eisenhower, and paid a price, but in times of war, officers must make their views known through official (and thus private) channels, and may not freelance through the media. It was wrong during the furor over troop levels and the surge in Iraq, and it is wrong now. Generals provide input and can dissent privately, and then the president goes forward with the consensus and officers obey.

Those who cannot do so in good conscience resign; those who choose to stay, but snipe to the media, at some point will have to. The system works, and when high-profile officers go to the media to undermine their overseers (e.g., George McClellan, Douglas MacArthur), it starts to unwind.

...At this early juncture, it is hard to get the full story (or to assess the degree to which the journalists involved were truthful), but so far the mess puts General Petraeus in a terrible fix, since his handpicked general will at some point have to resign. And when we factor in the mistake of setting deadlines for withdrawal, the failure to inspire our European allies to stay (they see us planning to leave), the growing mutual incrimination with the Karzai government, and popular rumbling about the restrictive rules of engagement, the Afghanistan theater is in real trouble. And this is the so-called good war that Bush ignored to fight the “bad” one in Iraq, where things are relatively quiet and a constitutional government, for all its problems, is now is in its seventh year of governance.

I could not have said this better. Not sure anyone could.

Posted by Cassandra at June 22, 2010 05:07 PM

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Comments

Yes, McChrystal will have to resign. I think he knew that before he granted the interview. And I wouldn't be surprised to see Petraeus follow him out the door.

Call me paranoid, but I'm starting to wonder if there's a big pink elephant in the room that we haven't seen yet. Is Obama on the verge of order some absolutely disastrous policy decision? His oft-threatened (during the campaign) invasion of Pakistan, perhaps?

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 22, 2010 05:22 PM

McChrystal couldn't talk with the President at all. He was being given the Hand.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 22, 2010 06:02 PM

Elections have consequences.

Vote for a clown and an anti-American as leader of the free world, and suddenly people are surprised that American power got suddenly "sapped" and messed up to hell and back.

Shows how humanity is. Bunch of monkeys trying to self-evolve, that's what.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 22, 2010 06:05 PM

Ok, then! What's Plan B? Hello? White House? What's Plan B? And who's going to carry it out for you? Anybody? Hello?

Whoa, baby. This isn't going to end well.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 22, 2010 06:05 PM

How can there be a Plan B when there was never any Plan A?

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 22, 2010 06:28 PM

Oh, there was a plan.

It's just that the plan didn't take the real world into account.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 22, 2010 06:38 PM

Why do I have to have a plan?

I just want to eat my waffle, play 9 tomorrow morning, throw a shindig Friday night, and hit a N.Y. restaurant Saturday with mamma and the girls. Why else do you think I agreed to be the front man on this gig?

Please see the plaque on my desk.

The buck stops.... waves hands outward
somewhere else.

Posted by: BahrackO at June 22, 2010 08:04 PM

Buck stops at Bush's ranch. That's what the bush is for.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 22, 2010 08:44 PM

It's a mess.

McChrystal was merely "speaking truth to power", as the libs like to say. Regardless of precedents and/or protocol, he's entitled to his First Amendment rights of free speech too. Maybe he simply got tired of being that incompetent Obama's "boy"...

Posted by: camojack at June 23, 2010 01:22 AM

I had the "elections have consequences" going through my mind today, too. Now we're paying them, in more ways than one. God help us all to get through Obama's presidency in as good a shape as possible.

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at June 23, 2010 01:24 AM

If Obama was more like Truman, Petraeus and his COINdinistas would be in real trouble right now.

Obama could take this opportunity to fire McChrystal and appoint his version of Ridgway to begin the painful process of winding down this quagmire.

My bet, though, is that Obama either keeps McChrystal on or fires McChrystal and appoints another of Petraeus' "true believers" to take over.

In other words, I think he'll punt on making a real decision until after the dust of the mid-term elections settles.

Posted by: Craig at June 23, 2010 09:57 AM

For the historically inept, and that includes Craig, we're still in the quagmire of Korea and waiting for the next hot fire of the last war.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 23, 2010 11:14 AM

I think he'll punt on making a real decision

Obama punting on a decision, that's so unlike him! /sarc

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 23, 2010 11:42 AM

No, no, nonono....wrong sports analogy. Xerxes fancies himself a hoops man, so he'll try the 80' hook shot off the inbounds pass.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at June 23, 2010 01:19 PM

I guess nobody's more of a Petraeus "true believer" than Petraeus himself.

Posted by: Craig at June 23, 2010 01:57 PM

Best question of the press conference:

"Mr President, can this war be won?"

I wonder why he didn't answer?

Posted by: Craig at June 23, 2010 02:12 PM

I wonder why he didn't answer?

Really? The guy has steadfastly refused to use words like "Win" and "Victory" in reference to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from the very beginning. Why should he start now?

It seems that the only realm where he believes that "Winning" and "Victory" are appropriate is when the enemies are Republicans.

My only conclusion from this discrepancy is that it's not a matter of can we win in Afganistan, but rather should we win. Obama's take appears to be the former is irrelevent since the latter is answered in the negative. All that's left is how to lose without it making himself look bad.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 23, 2010 03:20 PM

It's occurred to me that Obama is walking into a trap here, and probably not realizing it. I think it's clear to all of us here that he has to fire McChrystal, and yet he's now set about doing his usual hemming and hawing and trying to see if there's some way he can make it appear that someone else made the decision. But that's not going to work here. He has to act, and act now, or else it reinforces the current public perception of him as being a weak President.

And yet, he can't go about the firing using his administration's characteristic thug tactics. If he allows his staff to shove McChrystal out the door in their usual graceless fashion, it makes him look like a petty tyrant, the Dilbert pointy-haired boss who meddles in things he doesn't understand while failing to own the issues he's supposed to be responsible for. And paradoxically, that also reinforces the public perception of him as being a weak President.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 23, 2010 03:25 PM

Well, no sooner did I write that then... let's see how Obama goes about portraying this deal. And more importantly, what his staff says to the Washington newspapers anonymously.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 23, 2010 03:36 PM

is MC off the job yet?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 23, 2010 04:08 PM

Apparently so, according to Instapundit.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 23, 2010 04:13 PM

Are you talking about this?

http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/101691/

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 23, 2010 04:56 PM

So now Petraeus is going to replace mcChrystal.

And if he fails, Obama will be passing the buck, as usual, this time talking about how Bush's military fascists set him up.

And if Petraeus achieves victory, he will have allowed the Democrats to claim credit for resolving the very disaster they helped create. Or certainly Petraeus will be helping obama and Clinton who tried their hardest to make his Iraq surge fail because of their political fascist tendencies.

There's no out. You can't beat them. Because you'll lose if you do beat them. They hold you and the rest of America hostage. Just like they always have. And it is the very reason why Republicans cooperate with them in creating more government, more entitlements, laws, and superficial idiocy.

The Democrats will win regardless of whether they make the war fail for America or succeed. But we can only win with the latter option. Terrorists can win whether their human shields die or not. It'll still be our fault if they die, and if they don't die, then they have a shield and have preserved their own lives from bombardment.

This kind of stuff works. And it's why they keep using it. And nothing in American politics is going to change that, given current trends. Even with the overthrow of Obama, the political infrastructure will still remain the same. Those who voted for Obama's con schemes, will still vote for con schemes, just under a different name.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 23, 2010 05:14 PM

Ymar, you know that success has many fathers,
while failure is an orphan with a disputed certificate of live birth.

Sorry! Could help myself. =8^}

Posted by: bt_Charlie_Chan_hun at June 23, 2010 06:39 PM

Or couldn't help myself.

Oh for the days when I can once again afford a legally documented, resident, proof reader.

Posted by: bt_Charlie_Chan_hun at June 23, 2010 06:47 PM

while failure is an orphan with a disputed certificate of live birth.

Obama'll take care of that "live birth" issue, though. Don't worry.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 23, 2010 07:34 PM

Oh for the days when I can once again afford a legally documented, resident, proof reader.

Electrons have consequences.

Posted by: BillT at June 24, 2010 12:34 AM

Electrons have consequences.
Posted by: BillT at June 24, 2010 12:34 AM

Good one!!! :-D

Posted by: camojack at June 24, 2010 12:41 AM

Bill, what do you have against positrons?

I'm sensing some Quantaphobia.

Posted by: Allen at June 24, 2010 12:46 AM

Electrons have consequences.
I'm shocked!

Posted by: bthun at June 24, 2010 08:43 AM

I'm shocked!

I plead guilty to that charge.

Posted by: Electron at June 24, 2010 09:40 AM

It's because you have such a magnetic personality.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 24, 2010 10:14 AM

It's because you have such a magnetic personality.
The flux you say!

Being Electron must be a charge.

No one even knows I exist...
*sigh*

Posted by: Graviton at June 24, 2010 10:28 AM

So I walked into a bar the other day, and asked how much a drink cost. They said, "For you, no charge!"

Posted by: Neutron at June 24, 2010 10:52 AM

I told you!

Posted by: Norman Vincent Positron at June 24, 2010 11:00 AM

What is going on here

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 24, 2010 12:14 PM

Just examining our potential differences.

Posted by: Master Charge at June 24, 2010 01:12 PM

And since it seems the Blog Princess has been overloaded at the moment and blown a fuse, we gotta keep current somehow.

Posted by: Circuit at June 24, 2010 01:33 PM

Resistance is futile.

Posted by: Ohm at June 24, 2010 02:02 PM

These flashes of briliance are enlightening!

Posted by: Sparky at June 24, 2010 02:48 PM

Take two:

These flashes of brilliance are enlightening!

Posted by: Sparky at June 24, 2010 02:49 PM

I comment, therefore I am.

Posted by: Higg's Boson at June 24, 2010 02:59 PM

Hey Higgs! I clocked you at almost 186k miles per second!

Slow 'er down there bud, otherwise, your mass is mine.

Posted by: Cosmic Cop at June 24, 2010 04:01 PM

The force is weak with this one.

Posted by: Charmed Quark at June 24, 2010 04:34 PM

I see we're on a deep subject today.

Posted by: Gravity Well at June 24, 2010 04:47 PM

You have learned well, Well.

Posted by: spd rdr at June 24, 2010 05:33 PM

This is like combining Engineering with English puns. Which is similar to Japanese puns that turn Japanese words into English words.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 24, 2010 07:35 PM

You should stop digging that whole before you collapse.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 24, 2010 07:36 PM

This looks like a place to quote some Hawkwind:

"What a lady really looks for in a lover is
Quark, strangeness, and charm!"

Posted by: Cousin Dave at June 24, 2010 11:22 PM

Who ordered that particle?

Posted by: I I Rabi at June 24, 2010 11:40 PM

Watch yourself GW, if there's anything around here bigger than my ego I want it hunted down and shot!

Posted by: Zaphod Beeblebrox at June 24, 2010 11:50 PM

So if a gravity well grows at an infinitely increasing rate, how long does it take for it to become bigger than an infinitely large ego?

Posted by: Zeno's Paradox at June 25, 2010 12:12 AM

Oh greaaattttt... *groans*

Now Mr. Two-heads-are-better-than-one jumps in.

Next he'll be playing the Best of the Vogon's singing Doo-Wop A cappella over the ship's intercom or telling me about the latest Vogon appointment to the current US POTUS Administration.

I suppose it could be worse... somehow...

Posted by: Marvin at June 25, 2010 12:22 AM

Until November 2012.

Posted by: BillT at June 25, 2010 12:22 AM

"So if a gravity well grows at an infinitely increasing rate, how long does it take for it to become bigger than an infinitely large ego?"
∞ +1, give or take a brief interlude on the torus.

Hey, playing on the event horizon or no, when you've had too many brews and the cosmos calls...

Posted by: Albert's Eyein' DeStein at June 25, 2010 12:32 AM

"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months."

So, the good news is, you won't have to wait until November!

Posted by: Bible-Thumper at June 25, 2010 12:48 AM

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sayeth:

The Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything is 42.

Posted by: Mostly Harmless at June 25, 2010 07:43 AM

The Zoroastrian prayer for the dead, plus Mithradic masses, singing a song of despair for what Islam deaded.

Ohmm Ohmm Ohmm

Don't be shocked if you get hit by lightning if you don't get the Ohms right.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 25, 2010 08:31 AM

That would be ten rai batsu, btw. Divine punishment.

So you need 10 Ohms to stop the batsu.

Repeat the 10 Ohms

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 25, 2010 08:33 AM

Yon now at 2 and 0. Certain insane warfighting policies not just under review but already ditched.

Posted by: Curtis at June 25, 2010 11:06 PM

Like what?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 26, 2010 01:37 PM

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at June 26, 2010 03:10 PM

Yon now at 2 and 0. Certain insane warfighting policies not just under review but already ditched.

Curtis, whatever you're smoking, I sure hope there's more of it because it appears to be prime stuff.

Posted by: Cassandra at June 26, 2010 08:53 PM

Yon is going after a couple of other officers.

For somebody that wants to boost Petraeus' authority, going after his subordinates now isn't doing anything but undercutting Petraeus' own authority.

Then again, can't stop journalists once they smell blood.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 27, 2010 08:40 AM

Yon is going after a couple of other officers.

*sigh*

Well now there's a shocker. Of course we're talking about someone who no-kidding brags about the active duty "scalps" he's collected (whether or not he actually had anything to do with said scalp taking is another matter but when you ardently believe your own BS, facts tend to take a back seat to fantasy).

He's not just going after active duty military - he's also actively asking his readers to "choke off" Blackfive and Mudville from covering the war. You just can't make this stuff up.

Not being a huge fan of human train wrecks, I believe I'll go back to my longstanding practice of ignoring him :p

Posted by: Cassandra at June 28, 2010 06:57 AM

That's the thing with bacteria. Ignoring em may not always be effective given their mutation rates.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at June 28, 2010 03:08 PM

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