Weighing on on whether or not General Stan McChrystal should keep his job in Afghanistan is way above my pay grade. Just looking at a picture of the guy makes me uneasy about saying anything remotely critical of him, because he is one intense dude.
Since McChrystal will learn today from his Commander in Chief if he’ll keep his job, I found and read the Rolling Stone article which has landed him in hot water. My own take on it is that while he comes across as displaying a macho attitude and some of his staffers more so to the point of stupid, it is a Rolling Stone article, with all the gonzo hyperbole that one would expect (did you know the US is basically fighting the war in Afghanistan single handed – I didn`t), and the tone of the article is more subversive than are the General`s actual political comments. As one ex infantry officer puts it, this is after all “a freelance article written in music magazine“ and thus not the most desirable driver of foreign and military policy. Still, I can`t imagine how the article is in any way helpful to Obama or to the war itself.
I tend to agree with Flit that this moment isn`t a reply of Truman vs McArthur, and that his Lincoln vs McClellan analogy is a better one. Hopefully some clarity and focus will come of this. As the body of Sgt. James Patrick McNeil comes home from Afghanistan today (hello Rolling Stone) it`s worth noting that soldiers are still dying and their deaths need to be honoured and given purpose. In that goal I think Obama has it dead on when he said that it’s all about the soldiers: “Whatever decision that I make with respect to Gen. McChrystal, or any other aspect of Afghan policy, is determined entirely on how I can make sure that we have a strategy that justifies the enormous courage and sacrifice that those men and women are making over there, and that ultimately makes this country safer”.