As you have probably heard–Gen. McChrystal has resigned and will be replaced by Gen. Petraeus. It is more of a shock how Gen. McChrystal came to resign and not that Gen. Petraeus is being named the replacement. As Obama said, ” this is a change in personnel not strategy”. Nobody is questioning Obama’s replacement, since Gen. Petraeus is practically Gen. McChrystal’s evil twin: Gen. Petraeus implemented and led the COIN strategy in Iraq, which to some degree and to some people was a success. Relationships between NATO, US Ambassadors, and Afghan leaders will be strengthened, if anything, with Gen. Petraeus at the helm. And there will be no break in operations because of the change in leadership, since Gen. Petraeus over saw all operations in Afghanistan as well as approved all operations in Afghanistan. Gen. McChrystal resigning due to the Rolling Stone’s article is the talk of the town–as it should be. But there is something much more important–that NOBODY believes we can win this war. On page two, paragraph 6, Michael Hastings writes:
Even those who support McChrystal and his strategy of counterinsurgency know that whatever the general manages to accomplish in Afghanistan, it’s going to look more like Vietnam than Desert Storm. “It’s not going to look like a win, smell like a win or taste like a win,” says Maj. Gen. Bill Mayville, who serves as chief of operations for McChrystal. “This is going to end in an argument.”
This isn’t the only thing Michael Hastings wrote that was disparaging. It became obvious after reading the Rolling Stone’s article that the strategy in Afghanistan is flawed and that maybe, just maybe, there should be a change in policy. Thanks to the Rolling Stone’s article, the war in Afghanistan is back in the spotlight. Now it’s time for the media and the pundits to keep it there. Democrats and Republicans who supported the troop increase and Afghanistan surge, now is the time to reconsider.
The best option is to remove ourselves from the Middle East. The longer we are there and the more innocent civilians we kill–the more Muslims want to harm our innocent civilians, the more propaganda the Taliban have.
Has anyone ever wondered what questions Obama asked during his contemplation of troop increases? Well–Thomas Friedman has in his Op-Ed article titled, “What’s Second Prize?”.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s trashing of his civilian colleagues was unprofessional and may cost him his job. If so, it will be a sad end to a fine career. But no general is indispensable. What is indispensable is that when taking America surging deeper into war in Afghanistan, President Obama has to be able to answer the most simple questions at a gut level: Do our interests merit such an escalation and do I have the allies to achieve victory? President Obama never had good answers for these questions, but he went ahead anyway. The ugly truth is that no one in the Obama White House wanted this Afghan surge. The only reason they proceeded was because no one knew how to get out of it — or had the courage to pull the plug. That is not a sufficient reason to take the country deeper into war in the most inhospitable terrain in the world. You know you’re in trouble when you’re in a war in which the only party whose objectives are clear, whose rhetoric is consistent and whose will to fight never seems to diminish is your enemy: the Taliban.
President Obama is not an Afghan expert. Few people are. But that could have been his strength. The three questions he needed to ask about Afghanistan were almost childlike in their simplicity. Yet Obama either failed to ask them or went ahead, nevertheless, because he was afraid he would have been called a wimp by Republicans if he hadn’t.
What exactly do we hope to gain out of fighting wars in the Middle East?