Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Planning to Fail in Afghanistan, pt 6: Independence Day

Barack Obama is about to have either the best or worst Independence Day of any president since Bill Pullman.

Fortunately for the people of Earth, this bad (could it be good?) day will not be brought about by a genocidal war against extraterrestrials, but instead by a general giving way too much access to a Rolling Stone reporter:

The profile in Rolling Stone magazine, titled the "Runaway General," is certain to increase tension between the White House and Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
It also raises fresh questions about the judgment and leadership style of the commander Obama appointed last year in an effort to turn around a worsening conflict.
McChrystal and some of his senior advisors are quoted criticizing top administration officials, at times in starkly derisive terms. An anonymous McChrystal aide is quoted calling national security adviser James Jones a "clown."
Referring to Richard Holbrooke, Obama's senior envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, one McChrystal aide is quoted saying: "The Boss says he's like a wounded animal. Holbrooke keeps hearing rumors that he's going to get fired, so that makes him dangerous."
On one occasion, McChrystal appears to react with exasperation when he receives an e-mail from Holbrooke, saying, "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke. I don't even want to read it."
U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, a retired three-star general, isn't spared. Referring to a leaked cable from Eikenberry that expressed concerns about the trustworthiness of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, McChrystal is quoted as having said: "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so.'"
So, dose this mean that McChrystal feels corruption in the Afghan government has no impact on his counter insurgency efforts?

In any case, this could lead to Obama having either the best or worst 4th of July of his life. If he turns this into another White House versus the military battle, and if he gives McChrystal and Co. time to ramp up their P.R. efforts this will be Obama's worst 4th of July ever. It will be one more nail in the coffin of the Obama presidency and possibly even set up some general to run for president in 2012.

If, on the other hand, Obama steps up and promptly takes control - i.e., asks McChrystal for his resignation - this could be a positive development. This could allow Obama the opportunity to reassess (again, but I digress) his commitment to Afghanistan and, as I've argued, what we need now is not a series of "re commitments", but instead a Mad Man who demonstrates that everything everyone knows about American foreign policy is wrong.

A re-re-assessment at this point will lead to the Pakistanis stepping up their game and may tilt Karzai even closer to the Pakistanis, but those events are feit accomplis at this point anyway. Republicans will scream bloody murder at Obama but they too will do that no matter what the president does in Afghanistan, so why not give them something to crow about.

Update: McChrystal has been recalled to D.C. per the BBC.

Update 2: My idea; fire McChrystal, then fire Eikeberry, then fire Biden and make Clinton VP.

Update 3: CNN reports that McChrystal has offered his resignation.

Good, now Obama can get back to planning to fail in Afghanistan.

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