Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Politico-Military Complex

You know what? I don’t know enough about this Obama/McChrystal situation to comment on it competently.

I do, however, know that if a president – or a general – can’t handle hearing candid, honest opinions of his or her work from another in a national magazine, it is, perhaps, correct to say that they’re being a bit thin-skinned about the whole deal.

Yeah, maybe in the Middle East it’s not considered good form to belittle one of your own. But that’s coin of the realm out here in the West, where a little honest criticism can either be taken as an affront that calls for apology and resignation or at least a little cool, rational thought that, well, maybe I haven’t handled the situation as well as I could have.

I think we’ve got a bit of the latter, rather than the former.

And, apparently, support from the Afghan president bears little weight. Which seems odd. Per CNN:
[Hamid] Karzai weighed in from abroad, urging Obama to keep McChrystal as the U.S. commander in Afghanistan. The government in Kabul believes McChrystal is a man of strong integrity who has a strong understanding of the Afghan people and their culture, Karzai spokesman Waheed Omar said.
Jackson Diehl, writing for the Washington Post, points out that McChrystal isn’t the only one involved in this comic opera who has been airing criticism of others involved in public, but it does appear he will be the first to lose his job over it.

Diehl concludes:
McChrystal may be at fault for expressing his frustrations to Rolling Stone. He is not at fault for the lack of coherence in the Afghan campaign or the continued feuding over strategy. That is Obama’s responsibility.
It’s asinine to insist that military leaders don’t have the option of bringing their criticisms to the fore, limiting outreaches to the press (and, via that route, to the public) to politicians.

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