Lowest Common Denominator Politics: McChrystal Out

With the War in Afghanistan escalating and the recent death of the 1000th American Soldier, President Obama ousted General Stanley McChrystal after he made some harsh, yet wholly realistic assertions of the ineptitude of Obama’s defense team in a recent Rolling Stone article. General David Petraeus is the beneficiary of this ouster, now in command of our forces in Afghanistan.

For those with limited memories, Petraeus was appointed the multi-national forces commander in Iraq by W. Bush. During his tenure in this position, Petraeus was lauded for his general ineptitude and misunderstanding of the extent of the Iraqi conflict. General Petraeus is also credited for pushing the surge concept in 2007 to the Senate and Congress which was adopted and is still unclear as to the long term effectiveness of this strategy. Largely, Petraeus was considered yet another yes man of the W Administration: and now, he is Obama’s boy — the parallels between Obama and Bush never seem to end, yet the building evidence of this is often disregarded by both the left and the right.

McChrystal and the Interview that Sank Him:

In 1973, Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show released the song The Cover of the Rolling Stone:

Now it’s all designed to blow our minds,
But our minds won’t really be blown.
Like the blow that’ll get you when you get your picture,
On the cover of the Rolling Stone
(Silverstein)

General McChrystal is finding out just what that blow is after his willingness to speak the truth to Rolling Stone Magazine. Perhaps lost on many of the so-called Liberal persuasion who defend Obama with blinders on, is the fact that the actions of Obama — firing any official brave enough to speak his own mind — is quite identical to the actions of a certain administration that, not too long ago, the left had no problem admonishing for the very same actions. Of course the right, in their quest to trademark hypocrisy and historical shortsightedness, continue to portray Obama as a leftist socialist fascist determined to have the government dictate every aspect of our lives; completely disregarding the fact that Obama, like his predecessor, is a pro-corporate spin machine squashing dissent from all detractors in an identical fashion to W, for the same reasons: continued Corporate control of Democracy and War.

Let’s take a look at some snippets from the article in question — to be officially available for purchase on newsstands tomorrow,  June 25th — that ultimately killed McChrystal’s career:

“I’d rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner,” McChrystal says.

He pauses a beat.

“Unfortunately,” he adds, “no one in this room could do it.”

With that, he’s out the door.

“Who’s he going to dinner with?” I ask one of his aides.

“Some French minister,” the aide tells me. “It’s fu[@#%*]ng gay.”

The next morning, McChrystal and his team gather to prepare for a speech he is giving at the École Militaire, a French military academy. The general prides himself on being sharper and ballsier than anyone else, but his brashness comes with a price: Although McChrystal has been in charge of the war for only a year, in that short time he has managed to piss off almost everyone with a stake in the conflict. Last fall, during the question-and-answer session following a speech he gave in London, McChrystal dismissed the counterterrorism strategy being advocated by Vice President Joe Biden as “shortsighted,” saying it would lead to a state of “Chaos-istan.” The remarks earned him a smackdown from the president himself, who summoned the general to a terse private meeting aboard Air Force One. The message to McChrystal seemed clear: Shut the fuck up, and keep a lower profile

Now, flipping through printout cards of his speech in Paris, McChrystal wonders aloud what Biden question he might get today, and how he should respond. “I never know what’s going to pop out until I’m up there, that’s the problem,” he says. Then, unable to help themselves, he and his staff imagine the general dismissing the vice president with a good one-liner.

“Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal says with a laugh. “Who’s that?”

“Biden?” suggests a top adviser. “Did you say: Bite Me?” (Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone)

Well, I doubt even President Obama is too concerned with knocking Biden, as I’m quite confident his sentiments are somewhat parallel to those of McChrystal, yet he still defends his VP, as one would obviously expect.. But the General would continue to speak ill of various Obama yes men and point out some of the same hypocrisies that were a hallmark of the W. administration. Hastings sums up the general themes of a current Democratic Administration that seems to be duplicating the prior Republican Administration:

In mid-May, two weeks after visiting the troops in Kandahar, McChrystal travels to the White House for a high-level visit by Hamid Karzai. It is a triumphant moment for the general, one that demonstrates he is very much in command – both in Kabul and in Washington. In the East Room, which is packed with journalists and dignitaries, President Obama sings the praises of Karzai. The two leaders talk about how great their relationship is, about the pain they feel over civilian casualties. They mention the word “progress” 16 times in under an hour. But there is no mention of victory. Still, the session represents the most forceful commitment that Obama has made to McChrystal’s strategy in months. “There is no denying the progress that the Afghan people have made in recent years – in education, in health care and economic development,” the president says. “As I saw in the lights across Kabul when I landed – lights that would not have been visible just a few years earlier.”

It is a disconcerting observation for Obama to make. During the worst years in Iraq, when the Bush administration had no real progress to point to, officials used to offer up the exact same evidence of success. “It was one of our first impressions,” one GOP official said in 2006, after landing in Baghdad at the height of the sectarian violence. “So many lights shining brightly.” So it is to the language of the Iraq War that the Obama administration has turned – talk of progress, of city lights, of metrics like health care and education. Rhetoric that just a few years ago they would have mocked. “They are trying to manipulate perceptions because there is no definition of victory – because victory is not even defined or recognizable,” says Celeste Ward, a senior defense analyst at the RAND Corporation who served as a political adviser to U.S. commanders in Iraq in 2006. “That’s the game we’re in right now. What we need, for strategic purposes, is to create the perception that we didn’t get run off. The facts on the ground are not great, and are not going to become great in the near future.” (Michael Hastings, Rolling Stone)

So now McChrystal gets the axe and Obama puts Petraeus in charge of Afghanistan. It’s not so much that McChrystal was doing a great job in taking back control of Afghanistan, for he was on a path with no victory and no end in sight. It is the fact that President Obama is so quick to oust anyone who has the audacity to speak ill of his War Mongering in Afghanistan — quite similar if not fully identical to the W. Administration. In furthering the parallels between himself and W., Obama now puts Petraeous in control of our troops in Afghanistan as he proved under W. that he was willing to tow the administration line at any cost. Unfortunately, our soldiers are the one’s who suffer as they continue to be victims of the perpetual War Mongering started by Bush and now duplicated by Obama. The lines of left and right — Republican and Democrat — can no longer be described as blurred as they are on the same line: the same side perpetrating the same crimes against humanity for the sake of profiteering for the Oil and Military Corporations while our men and women continue to die for profit.

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