I haven't paid much attention to the McChrystal-Obama affair. I read McChrystal's Wikipedia entry, and it's not notably different than the resume of Westley Clark , a vainglorious idiot of soaring bad character. Clark, like McChrystal was personally courageous from time to time, but so is an Atlanta cop, an EMT is Hartford's north end, or an agoraphobic crossing the street.
Both of them add up to fairly standard men of their kind. They seem to be brave. Without men like that you don't have a D-Day but you also don't have a Passchendaele - where probably a million men were wounded or killed in one 5-month operation in 1917.
The list of Passchendaeles, big and small, grew after 1939, up to and including the fracas I was drawn into. So I'm not the guy with automatic respect for an officer class plastered with service ribbons. I'd like to know, for instance, where McChrystal earned the CIB (Combat Infantryman's Badge) when his bio doesn't show any real, leg combat operations. That goes for a lot of other tinsel dangling off peacocks like him.
McChrystal is a social liberal. He voted for Obama. He also banned Fox News from his staff headquarters, which is a familiar quality, to my generation, in a staff officer. No unwelcome opinions allowed. Indeed, all the principals in the Obama-McChrystal farce are like that. So when reality works its compensating magic on a bunch of contending liberal fools, our side is winning without much effort.
What happened between Obama and McChrystal? The General seemed to believe that a White House and defense establishment composed of people like himself was a good thing, until it wasn't. The fantasy of liberal administrative competence is held together by the same things that eventually disprove it: Arrogance, ignorance of cause and effect, and plain stupidity.
McChrystal also seemed to believe that he could toot his little bugle to a "Rolling Stone" reporter - impressing the literati with his "out-spokenness" - where his maundering and self-promotion would remain their little secret. This buried the needle on the Stupid-o-meter, and makes you wonder if this jackass belongs on the same continent with sharp-edged paper or kitchen utensils.
Instead of being protected from cuts and punctures on some assignment above The Dew Line, McChrystal was prosecuting the nine-year old war in Afghanistan, which is the liberals' mission to turn a broken land of Islamic Fred Flintstones into a nation of Ty Penningtons. The whole thing would be laughable if it wasn't so lethal.
A century of American death, toil and treasure might raise it to a nation of Islamic Al Bundys, but killing bad guys on the Paki side of the Durand Line and winking at their cousins on the Afghan side won't even raise Haji Flintstone to the next level, which is somewhere around John Conyers. That seems to have been McChrystal's strategy, although I would like to be proved wrong.
Brain-power on Afghanistan isn't scarce. Michael Yon and the crazy, ballsy, super-smart Brit, Rory Stewart, have forgotten more about the region than anyone at The Pentagon knows. But here's the problem. An old saw, which I believe to be true, is that first-rank managers surround themselves with other first-rank people. Second-rank managers prefer the advice and company of third-rank foks, third prefer fourth and so on, in a cascade to incompetence. It's impossible for Obama to surround himself with, or understand, first-rank advisors because he's inexperienced and not particularly bright where it counts.
I'm with Lou Dobbs on the Afghan war. End it. Now. Will we? Obama reached for Petreaus because McChrystal couldn't blow any more smoke around his confusion, escapism and delirium as President, and especially around his loathing for American muscularity and assertiveness wherever it exists. McChrystal did it until his conceits collided with Obama's. Petraeus is different. This should be interesting.