Thursday, June 24, 2010

I know your anger, I know your dreams...

Well, I think Obama made a genius move yesterday by canning McChrystal and assigning Petraeus to lead the Afghan fight.

It also seems I was dead on when I said it seemed McChrystal had allowed a cult of personality to spring up around him.
Beginning in the early afternoon, a cadre of military and civilian soldiers loyal to Gen. Stanley McChrystal began to spread rumors throughout the capital city: that ground commanders in Afghanistan were threatening to resign ... that the CIA's chief of station in Kabul had stepped down ... that the commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), William McRaven, was irate and wanted to step down ... that commanders of the "special mission units" like McRaven's former subordinates at DevGru (SEAL Team Six) would refuse taskings from the National Command Authority ... that buried secrets were about to be exposed, like who actually leaked the McChrystal Afghanistan review to Bob Woodward.
While it's clear these were just rumors--Ambinder points out the CIA chief of station hasn't changed--if any of the Blue Falcon McChrystal aides who thought it would be fun to show their asses to a Rolling Stone reporter were involved in actively spreading this gossip, they should be sent immediately to the tiniest, dustiest FOBs to take charge of crap burning. Yes, McChrystal seems to have created a command climate in which senior officers thought badmouthing the chain of command to reporters was a good idea, but those officers aren't puppets. They chose to open their mouths and assisted in the downfall of their hero.

McChrystal admitted his actions had "compromised the mission" in Afghanistan. Any officer who doesn't understand that isn't acceptable and thinks the answer is to further compromise the mission doesn't deserve to where the uniform. As Obama said yesterday, "The war is bigger than any one man or woman."

One nitpick with Ambinder's article: What the hell is a civilian soldier? There are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines over there. There are also civilians and contractors, many of whom are former service members. Civilian soldiers, however, don't exist. The phrase is an oxymoron.

Update: John Cole is pissed, too.
People that willingly talk like this need to be exposed, rooted out, publicly humiliated, stripped of their ranks and their pensions, and a message needs to be sent. The military is supposed to be a weapon used when diplomatic policies fail, not a political wing of the national security state.

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