by Burt Prelutsky
While I understand why so many conservatives were opposed to Obama’s accepting Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation, I am not one of them.
Although I have a source who tells me that the general was held in low regard by the troops, I have no way of confirming that. The retired brass — at least those who have found post-military careers as TV pundits — seem to believe he was highly competent. But, again, I’m in no position to judge. Which, now that I think of it, unfortunately puts me on a par with the commander-in-chief.
There are a few reasons, though, that I thought it was time for McChrystal to put (ret.) after his name. I mean, aside from my conviction that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable.
The problems we have over there are, I believe, four-fold. One, the government is even more corrupt than our own. Two, the economy is drug-based, which strongly suggests that the people are no less corrupt than Karzai. Three, unlike in Iraq, where the enemy combatants, for the most part, came from places like Iran, Egypt and Syria, our foes in Afghanistan are indigenous to the country. And, finally, even if it weren’t for the first three reasons, we won’t win over there because Obama confuses military campaigns with political ones and seems to believe both come with preordained stop dates.
While I suppose we could win the war if we employed some of the nuclear arsenal that Putin has allowed us to keep, there’s no way that’s going to happen. Besides, frankly, I’m not sure that after being nuked, Afghanistan would look much different than it does today. After all, when talking about using such weapons, one usually says, “We’ll send them back to the Dark Ages,” but when they’re already there, the threat has a rather hollow ring to it.
The reason that I don’t regret McChrystal’s expulsion is because, for the life of me, I can’t come up with a single rational reason that he or his aides would have given the time of day to a reporter from Rolling Stone. It is, after all, a left-wing, anti-U.S. military rag, as it has always been. So, unless McChrystal was choreographing his own martyrdom in order to run against Obama in 2012, it makes no sense that he and his colonels would have unburdened themselves in such unseemly fashion to so unsuitable a journalist.
That said, the only rational explanation I can come up with is that McChrystal is either very dumb or he was very drunk.
If I had to choose between those two possibilities, I suppose I’d prefer the latter. A man can always sober up.
I’m reminded that when some cabinet members complained about Gen. Grant’s being an alcoholic, Abe Lincoln allegedly said, “I wish someone would tell me the brand of whiskey he drinks. I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”
Whether or not he really said it, it’s a terrific line. But it’s not a terrific military policy. Not when, unlike Lincoln, we have someone as competent and sober as Gen. Petraeus available.