Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is General McCrystal an Egoist Like MacArthur or a Warrior like Chesty Puller? Obama's Moment.

"They are a damn site better than the U.S. Army, at least we know that they
will be there in the morning."
Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller,
when a journalist asked him about being surrounded by twenty-two Red Chinese divisions.

General Stanley McCrystal will find out this morning whether or not he is the historical parallel to General Douglas MacArthur, or Chesty Puller.

MacArthur defied policy and was insubordinate.

Chesty Puller spoke like a warrior.

Stanley McCrystal is a warrior in an MTV world - he seems to have gotten punk'd.
The Over and under this morning's meeting with The Commander-in-Chief and General Stanley McCrystal must be something.

It was a 10-minute photo op," says an adviser to McChrystal. "Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was. Here's the guy who's going to run his #$%^ing war, but he didn't seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed."
Rolling Stone.

1 comment:

Dominick O Maolain said...

Tough situation. I have a number of military folks in my own family, and my suspicion is that the REAL problem lays in a fundamental and tragic gap between military and civilian cultures.

The military may have the toughest, most thankless job in the world. They typically can't indulge themselves in protracted philosophical debates. More typically, they see their job as simply to "Get It Done"--meaning that they are often EXTREMELY reluctant to be candid about the difficulties they face.

And in a way, we demand this. Our system of governance (quite rightly) limits the involvement of active military personnel in political debate. Without that policy, we'd risk becoming a dictatorship a la Latin America.

So my guess is that the comments by McChrystal and his staff, aside from whatever validity they may or may not have on their own, were the inevitable eruption of the surpressed frustration that comes from being in a no-win situation.

Afghanistan doesn't have even the most basic rudiments of a democracy or civil society. Their society is tribal--esentially Medieval. Meaning that they missed out on the Age of Reason, the Age of the Englightenment. Concepts like non-sectarian political institutions and freedom of speech are likely to be utterly beyond them for generations.

Joe Biden may have been right. Probably the best the U.S. can expect to do is hunt Bin Laden with a pared-down force of elite counter-terrorist troops rather than do a full nation-build. In any event, reducing the overall volume of U.S. troops could expose the Taliban's internal disputes and give us room to actually get Bin Laden himself.