Recently, General McChrystal blasted President Obama for his handling of the Afghanistan War.
President Obama has given Gen. McChrystal exactly what he asked for. Contrary to right wing information spin, indeed President Obama has made a "quick and timely" decision giving the General exactly what he requested. General McChrystal is receiving his 30,000 troops, 10,000 NATO additional forces, along with 45,000 civilian contractors. The President has expanded the drone program simultaneously, providing more targeted killings than the Bush administration. In fact, our "liberal" President has disavowed his electorate base and increased war funding and pentagon spending. In effect, President Obama is all but a Peacemaker. Every "pro surge" individual should be overjoyed by Obama's military efforts in Afghanistan, and should be perplexed by Gen. McChrystal's remarks.
President Obama has virtually abandoned his anti-war position and opposing conservative sides have demonized the President. The Neo-Cons continue to demand that the President support the troops. In response, keeping up with the Bush administration, President Obama claimed, "we will not quit".
As a Veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, I understand the impulse to support the General. However, if the American President is going to do his job, he must be in charge of the Pentagon, Military Policy, and the Generals. That includes hiring, firing, criticizing, and advocating for ALL of the military, including Generals. The President is the Commander in Chief, not the "yes man" for the Pentagon.
Americans need to inquire if the Generals indeed are right. Does the General always know best?
"Did General McChrystal know best during the Pat Tillman cover up scandal?
Did the General know the best during the recent civilian massacre cover up?
Did the General know what was best when, "We have shot an amazing number of innocent civilians."
Did the General know what is "best" when he leaked his assessment of Afghanistan to the press instead of passing it up the chain of command?
Did the General know what is best as he told President Obama, "We will not win"?
If these examples are not enough to demonstrate the General is flawed and fallible then what is? How many mistakes does a General have to make?
In light of the recent firing/resigning of General McChrystal, the U.S. should take up the reconsidering of our unadulterated trust in Generals. The Pentagon will always justify their actions, it is the civilian's role to provide dignity to the Pentagon and analyze the Pentagon simultaneously. There is a civilian in charge of the Dept. of Defense, and likewise one for every different branch of the military. The UCMJ demands civilians get the submission of the Generals and the Pentagon. The UCMJ says:
"Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department.... possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."
Thus, it seems, civic responsibility and patriotism does not assume unconditional support of the military. In fact, patriotism requires analysis and shrewd wisdom over the military. American civilians elect the President, thus Americans need to analyze our military.
The American people should call into question the flawed strategies proposed by our Generals and in addition, we should respect the Generals for successes they make.
Currently, the Obama administration and the Generals are selling the "surge" of Afghanistan as a "necessary and predictable exercise." At the outset of this war, Americans incur continual reminding of 9/11, and thus any use of force continues to go unchecked.
Today, no one in charge has a comprehensive strategy to bring the open-ended war on terror to an end. The Commander in Chief, the Pentagon, and the commanders on the ground have failed to employ a strategy to confront violent Islamic radicalism. Mostly, we have simply spent 3 trillion dollars between Iraq and Afghanistan, and exasperated the rise of Islamic radicalism.
Americans continue to hear the instructions from the Pentagon, "we will win", and "we do not quit," yet no one has outlined a plan to get out and bring our troops home. In other words, no one has defined "victory."
President Obama continues to speak with two tongues, at a recent White House press meeting, President Obama claimed, "We did not say we would be switching off the lights and closing the door behind us." Yet at his West Point Speech, he claimed 2011 was the year, "we are coming home."
Recently, at the Army War College, John Nagl proclaimed, "The new strategy of the Generals in the Pentagon is to build up nation states governance and make sure that nations do not become vulnerable." In other words, the "Global Counter Insurgency" apparatus assumes there is no end in sight. Our Generals continue to find an enemy. Former Under Secretary of Defense and former Secretary of the Army, Bill Brehm said, "If we do not have an enemy, we must invent one, that is the Pentagon's mentality".
The pressing question for all of Americans, "do we want to trust the words of our Generals unconditionally"? Is the open-ended war in our best interests? When will the Pentagon decide the war is over? When will the President decide to end the war?
These pressing questions demand answers; unfortunately, no one in the administration has a direction or a plan to end the war. Lastly, the 9/11 Jihadist threat continues to grow. The exception of Ron Paul, Denis Kucinich, and a few other political wild cards, the only plan either political party has proposed is as follows:
1.) Continue the open-ended Nation State building apparatus
2.) Trust our Generals unconditionally and do not criticize them
3.) Blame President Obama for everything going wrong
4.) Continue the federal deficit growth
5.) Continue to send America toward Bankruptcy
The current global environment should make Americans concerned. America is set to have trillion dollar deficits for decades, open-ended war, and no one in office providing an antidote to rising Jihadist threat.
Americans need a reassessing of who is making the decisions. Americans need a respectful challenge to the Pentagon and to the Obama administration. Time is America's only evaluation and judge. However, time is running out.
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