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June 22, 2010

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matt

We are also paying the Pakistanis to transit supplies through that country. The ISI then decides whether or not and how much to steal as spoilage. They also decide every now and then to allow the Taliban to destroy a convoy or two.

As to the payoffs, Afghanistan is so wacky that they warlords and the Taliban and the tribal leaders are a rotating circus. To a commander like McChrystal, it is an extremely difficult working environment.

One then has an administration that first took 3 months to decide what to do.We have a completely disengaged President and an incompetent (Joe "we lost Iraq" Biden)VP who spend perhaps 3 hours/week on the war. Richard Holbrooke, who has been an assclown since Bosnia. Eikenberry has been CYA since he was CG of ISAF. The war is being criminally mismanaged.

There are ways to fix this thing, but it will require boldness and throwing out the current rule book. I just don't know if we're prepared to do what is necessary.

narciso

Maybe MaChrystal been hanging around this blog, similar sentiments can be obtained

susan

I have reach the point in which I believe our US Armed Forces are too good for most Americans who prefer their American Idolatry Dancing with Useful Idiot Stars rather than make an iota of sacrifice for freedom from tyrants.

If this abuse upon our US Armed Forces who are the ONLY people sacrificing continues I may join with the idiot Libertarians and illiberal Liberals call for pulling our troops from around the world.

Let the enemy come to America and slaughter the brain-dead TV-land Americans who are America's enemies within.

Rob Craword

Maybe we'd be doing better in Afghanistan if we just acknowledged it's not in Asia.

Tom Maguire

From the executive summary, point 3:

Protection Payments for Safe Passage Are a Significant Potential Source of 3. Funding for the Taliban. Within the HNT contractor community, many believe that the highway warlords who provide security in turn make protection payments to insurgents to coordinate safe passage. This belief is evidenced in numerous documents, incident reports, and e-mails that refer to attempts at Taliban extortion along the road. The Subcommittee staff has not uncovered any direct evidence of such payments and a number of witnesses, including Ahmed Wali Karzai, all adamantly deny that any convoy security commanders pay insurgents. According to experts and public reporting, however, the Taliban regularly extort rents from a variety of licit and illicit industries, and it is plausible that the Taliban would try to extort protection payments from the coalition supply chain that runs through territory in which they freely operate.
Jane

Matt,

Do you think McChrystal did this on purpose to let the public in on what is happening? Does he want out? I'm trying to figure out the motive.

narciso

No, Matt, he's been one since '63, or earlier,
Biden, the unknown genius as Newsweek painted him not so many months ago. Some details like
the Saudi company which forms one of the contractors, do concern me. Many of the issues
that Soylent and others raised about the vulnerability of the supply lines seem to have been born out

Old Lurker

The Thomas Sowell today is a must read so I LUN'd it on both threads.

Terry Gain

McChrystal no doubt has continued to serve his nation under impossible circumstances because he knows this war will be lost if he resigns. However he should now face the reality that it is lost under this CIC, no matter who is the commander in the field.

McChrystal should apologize for voting for Obama. He should apologize to the troops for being naive enough to think that someone who said the Surge in Iraq would make things worse - and who agitated for Iraq to be conceded (to al Qaeda and Iran) - could somehow be a serve-worthy CIC.

He should then resign before he is fired.

Pofarmer

I just don't know if we're prepared to do what is necessary.

I think you do know.

fdcol63

After the US pull-out in Afghanistan, after those who sided with us are slaughtered by the Taliban and AQ, after Afghanistan has again lapsed into a sanctuary for state-sponsored terrorism, and after Afghanistan is again used as a staging ground for a terrorist attack on the US homeland that dwarfs 9/11, ignorant and complacent and myopic Americans who voted for all that Hope and Change that Obama promised will again wonder:

"How did this happen? Why do they hate us? What can we do to stop these attacks in the future? We thought they would leave us alone if we pulled out of Iraq and Afghanistan and apologized for the 2 wars that Bush started."

bunkerbuster

Do teabag conservatives ever get nostalgic for the days when criticizing the war effort was labeled by their own media as somewhere between "unAmerican" and "treasonous?" Do they long to see Geraldo on Fox literally leading a cheer at some military base in the middle of the desert? Do they miss all the Fox hoopla focusing on how wonderfully things were going? Do they, even secretly, wish that they could be cheering for the war, instead of against it??

Jack is Back!

How convenient that "Restrepo"">http://restrepothemovie.com/'>"Restrepo" is coming out just as this hits the news stands.

But most importantly, McChrystal voted for Obama, the neo-leader, who never led anything and knew nothing about McChrystal when they first met. This is what you get General when you think its cute to have an articulate, clean guy like BHO setting policy and setting the strategy but then you have no excuse - you voted for him. Duh!

Clyde

So is this chaotic psychodrama even worse than the French World Cup team?

Rob Crawford

Do douche bag leftists ever understand the difference between "we support our troops when they shoot their officers" and criticizing the administration's commitment and competence?

No, of course not.

Jane

Rob,

The first rule of trolls is that they are all clueless and their only job is to provide bait.

The second rule is to ignore them.

Rob Crawford

Huh? Does that appear to be in response to anyone? Can't be -- I can't read buttbuster's comments; my browser refuses to display them.

narciso

No, of course,"Otto" doesn't understand, I think I'm actually insulting Kevin Kline, he was much more subtle in his performance.

BobDenver

I'm surprised that he voted for Obama, but I'm shocked that he told the world whom he voted for. What a breach of protocol. Petraeus he's not.

narciso

Back when I had killfile, I could ignore the Thalosian buzz

Jane

Rob,

My mistake, but you sure are prescient which is quite cool as it reveals the predictability of trolls as well.

matt

Quo Vadis in Afghanistan. LUN. Been working on this for a week, but the RS article crystallized some of my thinking.

PDinDetroit

Are any of the MSM Talking Heads reporting that Afghanistan is the quagmire that they only hoped Iraq could be?

Clarice

McChrystal cannot be so stupid as to believe his comments would not be reported. Is it possible I'm wrong on this? Or is it likely that he hoped to draw attention to Holbrook's meddling and Eikenberry's and clip their wings?

Appalled

It does not matter if McChrystal is right in his complaints -- you absolutely cannot have the people leading the war airing their grievances publicly. Obama should not warn him. He should not admonish him. He should just fire him.

Sue

Crazy. McChrystal should be fired. He must have wanted this. Maybe it was his way of letting everyone know Obama is a doofus? As much as I dislike Obama/Biden, I dislike the rest of the world more. You don't trash your president while wearing the uniform.

PDinDetroit

Is it possible I'm wrong on this?

Nope.

People can only tolerate some much CARP and he has seen the "inner workings" of this current administration. We are outraged seeing things from the outside, how much more so from someone on the "inside" as it were.

Could it be that he wanted out of Afghanistan or is it that he is "dumber than a box of rocks" like the rest of the Obama Administration?

bunky

"Douche bag" is truly one of the greatest put down terms ever. It is not used enough. Bravo RC

anduril

So we are bribing the Taliban to let us bring in supplies to fight them?

Pretty shrewd on the Taliban's part. They undoubtedly figure a percentage of those supplies will be theirs some day in the not too distant future, so why not let the US pay them to truck the stuff in--gotcha comin' and goin'.

narciso

Well he did vote for Obama, and he did go to the Kennedy School, however, he's a 'snakeeater' they are characteristically blunt, in their assessment, more a Damon then
a Massengale

MarkO

So what? Don't they do this in Chicago. Pay to play?

It would be so unfair for us to unleash our overwheming force. No socially just. Instead, make cute, little university rules that will get boys from here killed.

Parking Lot

After reading Byron York's take on McChrystal, it sounds like he was more concerned about preserving the lives of Afghanis than the lives of his own troops.

Jane

Clarice,

That's what I want to know - motive. Is he chuckling all his way to Washington?

Parking Lot

((Could it be that he wanted out of Afghanistan or is it that he is "dumber than a box of rocks" like the rest of the Obama Administration?))

methinks the latter

ROA

Michael Yon doesn't trust McChristal:

I do not trust McChrystal anymore than some people trust the New York Times, Obama or Bush. If McChrystal could be trusted, I would go back to my better life. McChrystal is a great killer but this war is above his head. He must be watched.
. . .
LUN

Clarice

steve Gilbert has reprinted the entire Rolling Stone article

LUN

fdcol63

McChrystal now sees that the situation is hopeless in Afghanistan with Obama and Obama's appointees in charge of the war there.

He wanted out, but could not bring himself to resign.

So, he made these stupid comments knowing that Obama would be forced to fire him.

PDinDetroit

OT - Looks like the SEIU has a new leader. LUN.

Cecil Turner

The payoff and security issues are hardly new, and the main player was reported a couple weeks ago relating to a Canadian dam project (H/T: Flit; a superb source for AF commentary):

Watan has come under heavy scrutiny in recent weeks after it was stripped of the privilege of escorting NATO convoys on the highway between Kabul and Kandahar — a massively lucrative business lost due to Watan’s alleged heavy-handed role in at least one bloody confrontation involving Afghan civilians.

But the ban against Watan and a second Afghan firm, Compass Security, lasted barely two weeks. On the very first day a NATO supply convoy was attacked, with one truck overturned and burned. By the end of a fractious fortnight, with more than 1,000 supply trucks stalled on the highway, the company’s security privileges were restored.

In the wake of these developments, U.S. investigators are probing the possibility that the Karzai-linked firm may be colluding with insurgents to maximize profits. Watan vehemently denies the allegation.

But the last inference is shaky, IMO. Normally protection rackets provide their own negative reinforcments as a disincentive for those declining to do business . . . subcontracting is usually too unreliable to make the point. And besides, he had all those security thugs just sitting around . . . so I'm inclined to believe Watan on that narrow point.

gmax

He voted for Zero which puts him in the same category of Generals as Wesley whatshisname, the weinie. There are not likely many more like McChrystal, so perhaps we will get a competent replacement.

anduril

WSJ has a book review today A Battle Against the Odds: How tribal leaders helped the U.S. in Iraq—and the lessons for Afghanistan. The conclusion:

The Anbar Awakening also shows that "the people" are not the central actors in a war of insurgency, as fashionable "population-centric" theories would have us believe. The central actors are in fact the elites— either official leaders or informal ones. Elites seek to co-opt or destroy other elites by mobilizing the masses to their cause. Al Qaeda in Iraq lost in Anbar Province because strong American leaders allied themselves with strong tribal leaders. Together they mobilized the populace more skillfully than al Qaeda in Iraq did.

In Afghanistan today too many Afghan elites are insufficiently committed to fighting the insurgency, in part because of America's ambiguous July 2011 timeline, which has created the fear of a rapid U.S. withdrawal. If the current U.S. strategy is to succeed, America's leaders will have to forswear withdrawal until Afghanistan's own forces can handle the insurgents alone. The American and Afghan governments will also have to assign the right people to leadership positions at the local level— individuals who can grasp complex social dynamics, build relationships and project strength. Precisely the formula that worked in Iraq's most troublesome province.

Of course, it doesn't discuss the broader dynamics of the The Surge--how the developments will affect Iraqi politics going forward and how durable the Iraqi government will prove to be.

Ranger

McChrystal just put Obama in a perfect no-win situation. If Obama fires him, that calls his judgement into question, since he it the one who specifically chose McChrystal to impliment the Obamasurge. If he doesn't fire him, then Obama looks like the wimp in the White House that McChrystal is accusing him of being.

It sounds like what McChrystal wants is serious focus on what is going on, and he's ready to lose his command to get it. What McChrystal is pointing out is chaos at the top levels where civilian and military intersect. That is the President's perview. He's basically saying that if we lose, it is Obama's fault.

anduril

Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass. Their first one- on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much better. “It was a 10 minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his fucking war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”

Danube of Thought

He's been called back to Washington to explain himself.

He has to be fired--a general in the field simply can't be permitted to speak for publication that way about the civilian leadership.

Cecil Turner

I see my phrasing above is unclear. Watan is a company, "he" refers to Ahmed Wali Karzai (President Hamid Karzai’s brother and generally bad actor), who often speaks for the company and is probably the actual overseer (though on paper it is run by two of his cousins). Both figure prominently in the new report. Sorry for mixing up the antecedents.

Danube of Thought

It gets worse. The editor of Rolling Stone says he was shown the article before publication and raised no objections.

Sue

DoT,

Yep.

Ranger

The editor of Rolling Stone says he was shown the article before publication and raised no objections.

Well, if that is the case, then this is a deliberate signal that Obama has lost the confidence of the chain of command in theater.

Clarice

I agree, DoT. But then what?

Jane

Dot,

What do you think his motive was, or is he just dumb?

MarkO

He knows what should happen to him. Maybe he just wants to see if Obama has even that much courage.
I'd love to know the real story.

This reminds me of MacArthur, except he did not have his dispute published in a public paper, he sent a letter to Congress.

Despite the fact that Obama had made a life out of seemingly to understand complex matters and speaking of almost everything as a complexity beyond almost everyone, he will have no idea what to do if he has to fire his general.

DebinNC

He wanted out, but could not bring himself to resign. So, he made these stupid comments knowing that Obama would be forced to fire him.

Resigning honorably is one thing. There is no honor in the way McCrystal engineered this confrontation with BO.

Sue

I keep seeing, everywhere I go this morning, commenters making the comparison to how long it takes Obama to respond to something he doesn't deem personal and how long it takes him to respond to something he deems personal. He sure is Johnny-on-the-spot when he is personally trashed, isn't he?

Captain Hate

I'm surprised that he voted for Obama, but I'm shocked that he told the world whom he voted for. What a breach of protocol. Petraeus he's not.

I have no dog in this fight. McChrystal is just another backstabbing political prick who moved up the chain on the backs of people better than him. Voting for Il Douche; fucking brilliant. Giving an interview to Rolling Stone and giving up snarky bullshit; WTF. If he can damage the jugeared fuck then fine; otherwise STFU and DIAF.

PDinDetroit

OT - Code Pink at it again, burying a Rusted-Out Hummer in a Detroit Neighborhood and using it as a planter. This is all part of the USSF CARP occurring in Detroit this week, trying to "change the world" yet again. Problem is, Detroit DOESN'T WANT TO BE SAVED OR CHANGED!

Great lines from the article:

In a poem titled "Ode to the Hummer," CODEPINK organizer Rae Abileah described the vehicle as a "gas-guzzling war machine" turned "family cruiser."

Across the street from the burial site, resident Denise Hightower looked on with a smile. "I like it," she said. "I think it will fit right in here."

LUN

Ranger

Maybe McChrystal saw the fecklessness of Obama's Afgahn policy reflected in the fecklessness of his Gulf Oil Spill response and realized the only way to get the CiC's attention for a problem was to hurt him politically.

boris

"realized the only way to get the CiC's attention for a problem was to hurt him politically"

I'm going with that one.

I can probably find out just how rude the awakening has been in the military going between W and O.

Captain Hate

special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke ("Like a wounded animal")

Somebody should find out how many lives this worthless POS has because he's survived quite a few career enders. I'm sure if that asshole McCain had been elected Holbrooke would be in some undeserved position meddling in stuff he doesn't understand and making things worse. He needs to be taken out STAT.

Danube of Thought

What do you think his motive was, or is he just dumb?

I just can't figure it out, but I guess I lean toward the latter.

Old Lurker

I too am interested in DoT's take on this.

Janet

DIAF=die in a fire. I had to look it up, thought others might not know either.

Cecil Turner

It's worth remembering that McChrystal was specifically assigned by SecDef Gates (with the President's prior approval) to implement Obama's strategy shift just over a year ago. And that his predecessor (McKiernan) was rotated out early to accomodate that shift. There's no way to portray this as a "never liked each other" situation.

Whatever friction appeared in the relationship can be at most be a year old, and one would presume related to the task at hand. I suspect the military professional intent on prosecuting a war found a distant politician generally uninterested in the effort hard to work for. In any event, I'm leaning toward Instapundit's appraisal of the situation: he and Petraeus appear exhausted (which can cause some pretty egregious judgment lapses).

Old Lurker

"DIAF"

OK Cap'n, now you're just making acronyms up to confuse us! We're going to need a teenager to translate for us.

Old Lurker

Janet where did you look that up?

Danube of Thought

Byron York talks with a retired guy who says he's not surprised by this.

The guy has to be fired, and soon.

Captain Hate

Sorry OL; I've obviously been posting this morning as if I'm @ AoS.

narciso

Since 1960, from Ambassador Lodge's staff to the pacification effort to the Peace Talks,
to the editorship of Foreign Policy to Carter'
South Asian desk, to Pamela Harriman's entourage to Bosnia to AIG's board of directors

Captain Hate

I've always thought Janet has a very youthful mind.

centralcal

lol, Old Lurker!

BB Key

The only way Obama can appear to be a leader is to start firing people....this was his plan all along with the redundancy of 'czars' and 'special envoys'.... the next head to roll will be Salazar's

PDinDetroit

OL - Urban Dictionary. LUN.

DebinNC

McCrystal and McCrystal's top guy were put there by Gates. I admire the way Gen. McKiernan handled that humiliating, career ending situation. Apparently, there were too many civilian deaths under his watch. Much better in this WH to have more US military deaths.

centralcal

Gasbag Kerry is on tv this morning saying this should just all blow over and McChrystal get back to work.

Therefore, I am pretty sure Obama will fire him. Kerry is never right about anything.

Captain Hate

Thanks narc for reminding me of his career path; you've done that before but my mind tends to forget the histories of mendacious fluffers who have been complicit in the loss of freedom half a world away.

centralcal

If he gets fired, who is waiting in the ranks to replace him?

PDinDetroit

Therefore, I am pretty sure Obama will fire him. Kerry is never right about anything.

Best Line Of The Day.

gmax

I never thought it possible, but this Bozo is starting to make Jiminy Carter look almost competent.

Old Lurker

Thanks PD. That's neat. Wonder if the Young Lurkers know I can now read their mail?

Captain Hate

CC POTD

Janet

Maybe McChrystal was just using the Obama Rules. There is a crisis therefore the constitution, laws, regulations, rules, and traditions don't apply.

Clarice

Not only is Holbrooke incompetent, but he's known throughout the world as a mendacious rat.

fdcol63

Obama may think this is his "Truman moment", but ..... Obama isn't Truman, and McChrystal isn't MacArthur.

PDinDetroit

I never thought it possible, but this Bozo is starting to make Jiminy Carter look almost competent.

Fell off the chair thinking about Jimmy Carter's Head on Jiminy Crickets' Body. Someone who has Photoshop skills, PLEASE PLEASE make this one up!

PDinDetroit

Better yet, make Obama's Head on Bozo The Clown's Body.

Danube of Thought

I just don't see how Obama, Gates or anybody else can have confidence or trust in McChrystal from this point forward. And it's not as though he's forged a record of dazzling success.

fdcol63

Heck, I think this one is better, PD:

DebinNC

I bet Petraeus will be the one tasked with publicly responding to McCrystal. Gates and Obama lack the moral authority to do it.

PDinDetroit

fdcol63 - Great TURD-KEY pic.

Clarice

Carter's bitching about the SCOTUS decision yesterday on giving material aid to terrorist orgs..He's worried that it will interfere with hie peacekeeping efforts with Hamas and Hezbollah,,,,,,,,,,

fdcol63

This sums it up, too:

Rob Crawford

I wonder if Obama and the other leftists were "enchanted" by McCrystal speaking this way about Bush. If they chose him because he was "blunt and forthright" in his criticisms.

If so, they have no one to blame but themselves. Which means they'll be blaming someone -- likely Bush -- as soon as they can figure out a way to explain away their involvement.

glasater

One of the hosts of "the Call" on CNBC is Larry Kudlow and this AM he and his two co-hosts along with two regular reporters are having a great time making fun of Zero's political situation and also how much money the R's are raising on Wall Street from the "virus" of buyer's remorse.

fdcol63

Jimmy's Love Letter from Yasir

Captain Hate

Maybe Dhimmi Carter should take his Habitat for Vermin Humanity roadshow to the embarrassment known as "Palestine" and replace those squalid "refugee camps" (refugees from what; their own government?) with something suitable for human beings to exist within. Some have existed for over half a century and are a testament of the unwillingness of the Palestinian Authority to use the overly-generous aid sent by fools in other countries for anything to better the lot of the people they claim to represent.

Ignatz

The worst part of this is McChrystal (and his fawning aides) seems to base most of their criticism on personal slights not principled policy disagreements so he just comes across as one big preening prima donna carping about the even bigger one in the White House.
Maybe Obama will be insired and after firing McChrystal, he'll fire himself.
I can dream can't I?

narciso

This is an interesting take on things, but I find it gives Obama way too much credit:

Tom Maguire
Do you think McChrystal did this on purpose to let the public in on what is happening? Does he want out? I'm trying to figure out the motive.

TIME's Joe Klein has a comment the gist of which is that McChrystal is just terminally candid and has no political ear at all.

And the reporter, Micheal Hastings, was in Afghanistan in April 2009 embedded with troops, and for all I know has stayed there; by now various officers may be treating him as background furniture rather than a potential problem.

anduril

Here's something that the rabbi who interviewed Helen Thomas wrote--anyone have a problem with it?

"So after the Holocaust in the late 1940s it was a natural for the Jews to go back there--to their land and reclaim it again. And with the world feeling really guilty right after the Holocaust it made it that much easier to get the land back and kick out hundreds of thousands of Arabs who were living there and dwelling peacefully with their families and loved ones. But it was ours first as it was promised to us by G-d in the Torah so we have a claim to it. And that’s why we have a Jewish Homeland and so I went there this summer with my family for my son’s Bar Mitzvah."
Captain Hate

TIME's Joe Klein has a comment the gist of which is that McChrystal is just terminally candid and has no political ear at all.

Joke Line is a complete idiot. You don't attain what McChrystal has without being a master of playing political games; he knows exactly what he's doing. Joe reflects how Time is such a repository for clueless, annoyingly self-satisfied douches.

Cecil Turner

Well, now that I finally get to read the whole thing (thanks for the link, Clarice), I don't get it. Where's the beef? Here's every direct quote in the article (I think):

‘How’d I get screwed into going to this dinner?”
“Hey, Charlie,” he asks, “does this come with the position?”
“What’s the update on the Kandahar bombing?”
“I’d rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner,”
“I never know what’s going to pop out until I’m up there, that’s the problem,”
“I found that time painful,” McChrystal tells me in one of several lengthy interviews. “I was selling an unsellable position. ”
“All these men,” he tells me. “I’d die for them. And they’d die for me. ”
“Oh, not another email from Holbrooke,” he groans. “I don’t even want to open it."
“I like Karl, I’ve known him for years, but they’d never said anything like that to us before,” says McChrystal, who adds that he felt “betrayed” by the leak. “Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, ‘I told you so.’ ”
“We really felt we were a peacetime generation,” he recalls. “There was the Gulf War, but even that didn’t feel like that big of a deal.”
“You better be out there hitting four or five targets tonight,” McChrystal will tell a Navy Seal he sees in the hallway at headquarters. Then he’ll add, “I’m going to have to scold you in the morning for it, though. ”
[long back-and-forth around] “You’re leading by example. That’s what we do. Particularly when it’s really, really hard, and it hurts inside. ” [lots more, but not offensive by any reasonable standard]
He's right about Eikenberry's "leak," and the rest is hard to describe as even borderline insubordination. Folks talking about UCMJ violations are going to have to explain it to me, because I don't see any "there" there at all.

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