So... Has anyone actually read the Rolling Stone story, end-to-end? The real story here is not about whether or not a subordinate said on the record that Obama seemed unprepared for one freakin' meeting, or that an aide to that subordinate childishly and humorlessly rephrased Biden's surname as "Bite Me."
The real story here is so very much bigger than whether or not Asshat McChrystal is going to be fired for criticizing the President. I have found at least eight -- EIGHT! -- examples of more important stories, below the fold.
The article reports that:
- McChrystal echoed Bush's "mission accomplished" PR stunt and claimed a few days later, on the record, that military operations in Iraq were over.
- McChrystal either condoned or failed to stop detainee abuse and torture at Camp Nama in Iraq when he was charged with its oversight.
- McChrystal was instrumental in the Pat Tillman cover-up. Shortly after Tillman's death, he wrote a memo recommending against divulging the findings of internal investigations that showed Tillman's death was due to friendly fire. Why? Because, as Rolling Stone printed, those findings would cause "public embarrassment" for Bush. As RS also notes, "Nine days after Tillman's death, McChrystal was promoted to Major General."
- McChrystal purposely cut the State Dept off at the knees in order to consolidate power for himself:
By far the most crucial – and strained – relationship is between McChrystal and Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador. According to those close to the two men, Eikenberry – a retired three-star general who served in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2005 – can't stand that his former subordinate is now calling the shots. He's also furious that McChrystal, backed by NATO's allies, refused to put Eikenberry in the pivotal role of viceroy in Afghanistan, which would have made him the diplomatic equivalent of the general. The job instead went to British Ambassador Mark Sedwill – a move that effectively increased McChrystal's influence over diplomacy by shutting out a powerful rival. "In reality, that position needs to be filled by an American for it to have weight," says a U.S. official familiar with the negotiations.
- McChrystal is a COIN man (explanation below). He is not interested in leaving Afghanistan anytime soon. And, as a COIN man, McChrystal, as well as other top Pentagon officials, are essentially insurgents at the highest levels within their own government. To quote the article:
COIN, as the theory is known, is the new gospel of the Pentagon brass, a doctrine that attempts to square the military's preference for high-tech violence with the demands of fighting protracted wars in failed states. COIN calls for sending huge numbers of ground troops to not only destroy the enemy, but to live among the civilian population and slowly rebuild, or build from scratch, another nation's government – a process that even its staunchest advocates admit requires years, if not decades, to achieve. The theory essentially rebrands the military, expanding its authority (and its funding) to encompass the diplomatic and political sides of warfare: Think the Green Berets as an armed Peace Corps. In 2006, after Gen. David Petraeus beta-tested the theory during his "surge" in Iraq, it quickly gained a hardcore following of think-tankers, journalists, military officers and civilian officials. Nicknamed "COINdinistas" for their cultish zeal, this influential cadre believed the doctrine would be the perfect solution for Afghanistan. All they needed was a general with enough charisma and political savvy to implement it.
As McChrystal leaned on Obama to ramp up the war, he did it with the same fearlessness he used to track down terrorists in Iraq: Figure out how your enemy operates, be faster and more ruthless than everybody else, then take the fuckers out. After arriving in Afghanistan last June, the general conducted his own policy review, ordered up by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. The now-infamous report was leaked to the press, and its conclusion was dire: If we didn't send another 40,000 troops – swelling the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by nearly half – we were in danger of "mission failure." The White House was furious. McChrystal, they felt, was trying to bully Obama, opening him up to charges of being weak on national security unless he did what the general wanted. It was Obama versus the Pentagon, and the Pentagon was determined to kick the president's ass.
- General McChrystal was most definitely a "Bushie," and he is, for some stupid reason, strongly backed by Hillary Clinton.
- The war in Afghanistan is a pointless money pit with no end in sight and no discernible standard of victory, and both the soldiers on the ground and even McChrystal himself do not deny the likelihood of this reality.
- The war in Afghanistan is therefore a huge political-albatross-in-the-making for Obama here at home.
Well, take your pick. Any of those is more important than a couple of personal remarks, one being a lukewarm disapproval and the other a bad joke by an aide.
This is a perfect example of why we at DailyKos blast the traditional media so much. Let's not fall into the same trap ourselves.
**REC LIST UPDATE**
Wow, it's my first time on the Rec List. Thanks folks. I'll take this opportunity to point you to my blog, www.HERE.am. Thanks again.
**VICTORY LAP UPDATE**
Top of the Rec List -- right above Keith Olbermann. Daaaang. Thanks a third time.