Tag Archives: Afghanistan
Read the Reuters Special Report on the bogus Swedish charges here.
In this article, former Maine Congressman Tom Andrews has summed up neatly what are the essential parts of the Rolling Stone story on Gen. Stanley McChrystal ignored by the Big Media and most everyone else. For those who think Afghanistan is nothing like Vietnam — you’re right — except in all of the important ways. We are fighting an unwinnable war as an army of occupation against people who don’t want us there, and supporting a weak and despised government led by our puppet in Kabul. Even with a million troops in Afghanistan, we still couldn’t achieve the ‘victory’ of stability the Pentagon has stated as its goal. We are caught in a trap that’s bleeding us dry and the only way out is to leave, period.
by Tom Andrews
June 23, 2010
Unfortunately, President Obama missed an opportunity today to not only replace an out-of-control general but an out-of-control and failing strategy in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, mainstream media continue to miss the most serious story contained in the now famous Rolling Stone profile.
Michael Hastings’ piece is about more than an adolescent general and his buddies’ school-yard shenanigans in Kabul and Paris. It was about a failing strategy in Afghanistan and the disconnect between how the administration portrays the war in public and the reality of how the war is actually being waged.
Here are three points in the Rolling Stone article that contradict what the White House has presented to Congress and the American people about the war in Afghanistan:
“Instead of beginning to withdraw troops next year, as Obama promised, the military hopes to ramp up its counterinsurgency campaign even further.” A senior military official stationed in Afghanistan told Hastings: “There’s a possibility we could ask for another surge of US forces next summer if we see success here.”
General McChrystal’s Chief of Operations Major General Bill Mayville, described the war in Afghanistan as unwinnable: “It’s not going to look like a win, smell like a win or taste like a win. This is going to end in an argument.”
“If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular.” This was how a Senior Advisor to General Stanley McChrystal characterizes the war in Afghanistan.
While President Obama has been assuring Congress and the American public that US troops will begin leaving Afghanistan next July, his senior military leaders believe that if they are successful, next summer could see a surge of troops, not a withdrawal. And the military should be careful not to reveal what is really going on in Afghanistan because the more Americans know about the war, the more they will be against it.
Who is holding these guys accountable?
Congress needs to step up now and start demanding answers. Until it gets them, it should refuse to appropriate the $33 billion in new war funding that the Administration has asked them for.
This is about more than an out-of-control general in Afghanistan. It’s about the strategy, stupid, and the young men and women who are giving their lives to implement it. Congress needs to send a clear and strong message to the White House using the power that the Constitution provides it — the buck stops here! No answers to these disturbing questions, no more funding for the war in Afghanistan. Period.
And, it can send that message now. The House is scheduled to vote on the administration’s Afghanistan war supplemental funding request before it leaves next week for the Fourth of July recess. It should refuse to do so. And, when it comes back to work after the fireworks at home, it should do its job and start demanding answers to all of the other disturbing issues and questions raised in the Rolling Stone article.
Now that the McChrystal side-show is over, it’s time for Congress and mainstream media to focus on the main event: the deteriorating war in Afghanistan.
Tom Andrews, a former Member of Congress from the first Congressional District of Maine, is the National Director of Win Without War, a coalition of forty-two national membership organizations including the National Council of Churches, the NAACP, the National Organization of Women, the Sierra Club, and MoveOn. He is also co-founder of New Security Action.
By publicly making derogatory comments about his superiors in the chain of command President Obama, VP Biden, Defense Secretary Gates, White House National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones — US Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal has committed an act of rank insubordination, and I think he did it intentionally.
Subsequent apologies for his loose-lipped Rolling Stone interview notwithstanding, McChrystal knows Obama must, in order to maintain what little credibility he has with the military as commander-in-chief, relieve McChrystal of his command and he should break him in rank down to a Colonel or, at least, Brigadier General, but, considering Obama’s reticence in such matters, he likely won’t do the latter.
McChrystal well knows that if he wants to criticize his superiors there is a legitimate and honorable way to do so resign his commission and fire away as a civilian. Instead, the wily general has manufactured a situation wherein Obama must relieve him or lose all respect with the military establishment and a good portion of the public, as well.
Why would McChrystal set up such a situation? The easiest answer is that he’s planning on running for president as a Republican in 2012 and he can use it to a) play the aggrieved victim of a president and administration that doesn’t know what it’s doing in the Middle East; and b) insulate himself from charges of incompetence when we are forced out of Afghanistan. “I told the president the strategy he was pursuing to defeat the Taliban was na and wrong and that I had a better plan. This so angered him he found a flimsy reason to dismiss me.”
This is the line I believe McChrystal will employ following his resignation after Obama has relieved him of his command. Such criticism dovetails nicely with the GOP’s probable angle of attack on Obama in 2012 arrogant, incompetent, headstrong, vengeful, na and McChrystal will go to the head of the class of potential presidential candidates in a so far thin field for the Republicans — Romney’s no barn-burner; Palin’s a sour joke; Gingrich is stuck in the mud of 1994; Pawlenty’s a calamitous bore, and no one else is really on the radar.
Of course, the GOP establishment would welcome McChrystal with open arms as the second coming of Dwight Eisenhower, but even the various Teabaggers, quasi-Libertarians and Christian zealots who are now the party’s foundation would most likely not much contest nominating a ‘military hero’ such as the general. His campaign would also provide some lengthy (and stable) coattails for other Republicans to ride, a surcease from the almost daily factional friction of a minority party in turmoil.
The question: Will former Pentagon black-ops chief McChrystal’s new strategy to gain the White House work any better than did his plans to tame Afghanistan?
The answer: For a man as arrogant, incompetent, headstrong, vengeful, and na on public matters as Stanley McChrystal — who also, according to Rolling Stone, thinks Bud Light Lime is a great beer is a resounding no.
“The Runaway General” — Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone, June 8-22, 2010.
“New Afghanistan Commander Ran Secret ‘Executive Assassination Ring’ Under Cheney”
— Tom Englehardt, TomDispatch.com, May 21, 2009, by way of The Huffington Post.
2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.
First, forget Obama’s purported reasons for staying in Afghanistan; those are just easily understood anti-terrorist bromides for the media and the viewing audience. He supposedly knows we aren’t fighting any real threat to the US in Rock City, nor are there enough Al-Qaeda hanging around the Af-Pak border waiting to be captured to make it worth the billions we are pouring into this new ‘surge’.
Word is the real reasons the ‘clinchers’ presented by the Pentagon chieftains and the president’s staff for maintaining an American and NATO military presence there are threefold:
1. Pakistan’s government, contrary to Obama’s speech, is weak and has little sway in the northern and western parts of the country, the same regions where various anti-American groups operate with impunity. Ostensibly, the Pakistan military has the country’s nuclear arsenal under tight control but, then, it’s known Muslim extremists have infiltrated the army. The nightmare scenario, barely touched on by Obama, is of a band of Islamic fundamentalists getting their hands on nukes. The thinking is that, if such a scary scenario unfolded, the US and NATO troops in Afghanistan could move to secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons before the wackos could launch. Obama could not say this publicly without offending the Pakistan government, damaging our relationship with them, and causing a diplomatic furor. He also allegedly privately promised India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he would not hesitate to use American troops to keep Pakistan’s military in check, if need be.
2. The Pentagon believes that a large military force on both Iran’s eastern and western perimeters will staunch any ambitions they may have in Iraq or Afghanistan. Forget the nuclear distraction; the fear is that Iran will try to fill the power vacuum left by US withdrawal from either nation. Whether this is a valid concern, the groupthink in Washington convinced Obama of this even before he started his run for the presidency.
3. Obama’s most trusted advisors and the Joint Chiefs believe he must not be trapped into a test of his resolve and willingness to employ force. While he has extended the olive branch of peace with one hand, and repaired most of the damage done by George W. Bush’s my-way-or-the-highway foreign policy, the world must know he will be ready to use the sword that’s in the other. In order to avoid another ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ test of wills, it’s believed by this faction that he has to show that he’s capable of bucking the peace faction in his own party and US public opinion in order not to appear weak and invite challenges. Afghanistan is a chess move to establish his readiness to use force to avert future, potentially more disastrous, tests of his strength. Another example of Washington groupthink with dubious legitimacy, but a theme Obama has embraced entirely.
If you think we will be withdrawing from Afghanistan completely in 2011, put down that crack pipe. There may be some troop withdrawals by then, but a sizable US military force will remain in the country until, like the USSR, we are forced out by economic circumstances and/or insurgents, a highly probable outcome historically.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
2009 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.