The View From 1776

The McChrystal Affair

Thomas D. Segal gives us a combat veteran’s perspective.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 06/25 at 12:36 PM
  1. Segal makes some valid points but fails to connect the dots.

    It was Stanley McChrystal himself who pushed to expand the war in Afghanistan and convinced a skeptical White House that a successful outcome could be reached with his COIN strategy. That strategy combined equal parts of military strength and the establishing of civilian operations.

    McChrystal's sin was not so much that he dissed Obama, but that he and his entire team were openly critical, snotty, arrogant and uncooperative toward the civilian part of their own operations, making the success of the mission virtually impossible.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/26  at  11:16 AM
  2. McChrystal had to go. Our founders set up the military with civilian oversight for a very good reason and since everyone knows that reason, I will move on.

    The problem is that decades ago, we started becoming the policeman of the world with "police actions" that were never declared as wars with Congress declaring the war and setting the goals. The "Commander in Chief" was to carry out the declaration of war that Congress made.

    We have turned our system upside down and while I can understand the military not liking it, they still work for the President. We can't have the kind of things going on by a military leader like this. It is the same thing that got Patton into trouble and others.

    If you don't like what the President calls for, then resign but, keep your mouth shut until you have.

    I am 100% against this Afghanistan operation but, McChrystal accepted the assignment. I was against the Iraq war, even though I knew the real reasons we resumed the war due to the cease fire violations.

    We have civilians advised by the CFR and other organizations that are making very bad decisions but, our military leaders know that and if they choose to accept the assignment then they need to live with those conditions or resign.
    Posted by JanPBurr  on  06/26  at  11:50 PM
  3. I think the big issue here is the rules of engagement. It is immoral for any leader to place his men in danger while tying their hands. It reminds me of Kennedy'd fiasco at the Bay of Pigs--placing brave men in danger while withholding full support.

    It is impossible to wage even a limited police action without committing collateral damage. Even the local police in American towns and cities are continually forced to weigh the issue of excessive force and unintended consequences. The troops in the Middle East have a much bigger problem but are constrained more.

    The Obama administration is overly concerned about the PR impact of excess civilian casualties. That is because like most of the liberal Left they entertain utopian dreams of how things should be accomplished. But, fighting a war cannot be made pretty. Even police work can not be tidy. But the "doves' cover their behinds by mandating pacific rules of engagement so that if something bad happens they can punish the American soldier and make excuses for themselves.

    That insane policy results in more American soldiers being killed and wounded than if they were given more freedom to aggessively defend themselves. The soldiers know this. Can you blame them for dissing the civilian leaders who send them to the front lines and them tie their hands?

    It is true that the military must follow orders from the civilian leaders (or quit) but certainly they are free to grumble and complain. I for one would welcome more imput from those at the front. The public deserves to know just how incompetent the Washington elites are in directing military operations. Granted it will not come as any surprise. We already have plenty of evidence how incompetent they are in controlling mortgage financing, Wall Street speculators, and oil spills.
    Posted by bill greene  on  06/27  at  09:02 PM
  4. Bill,

    I am in agreement with you that the enterprise in Afghanistan is not likely to succeed (and we should get out), and the "rules of engagement" play a role in this dilemma.

    In Afghanistan, the problem is similar to that of other recent wars we have embarked on, in that you cannot tell who the enemy is. You can't just shoot every male over the age of 14 on sight (if you want to "win the hearts and minds" of those we are supposedly fighting for, because many of them will be "civilians."

    (In Afghanistan, a civilian is somebody who does not appear to hate you at that moment, and may not come after you -- as long as you stay away from his crop of poppies.)

    But there is no point in going in there (a la John Wayne) guns blazing, shooting everything that moves, destroying all the buildings, to "win," irrespective of "collateral damage," because, unfortunately, that would not "win" anything. Every time we blow up a building or a bus containing civilians, we create more animosity and more terrorists who need to "get revenge" on the invading imperialists.

    The core problem is that our politicians are stuck in outdated mind sets as to where the international dangers lie and what actions on our part will increase or decrease the danger to us. Invading middle eastern countries to "kill terrorists" is clearly a foolish and self-defeating strategy.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  06/28  at  09:15 AM
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