06/24/2010 02:54 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Think Again: Foolish Loudmouths in the Military and in the Media

If you take a look at General Stanley McChrystal's complaints about Vice Joe President Biden, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, Spencer Ackerman notes that, "All the criticisms -- of Eikenberry, of Jones, of Holbrooke, of Biden -- are actually just immature and arrogant snipes at how annoying Team America (what, apparently, McChrystal's crew calls itself) finds them. This is not mission-first, to say the least."

Instead of an explanation of why Ambassador Eikenberry's objections to present military strategy are misplaced or mistaken, we get snide remarks designed to discredit without deigning to engage, such as, "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so.'" "Biden?" suggests a top adviser. "Did you say: Bite Me?" and one aide calls Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, a "clown" who remains "stuck in 1985." What the hell does that mean?

Indeed, what is most striking to me about the Rolling Stone piece is how the criticisms it uncovers are mundane, cliched, and unsubstantive -- just like the critique one hears over and over in the media about the progress of President Barack Obama's foreign policy. I do not refer to those who believe that President Obama is a massive disappointment with regard to constitutional liberties and the War on Terror. I share many of these. Rather, it's the conservative talking heads -- not the crazies on Fox and elsewhere, but the allegedly thoughtful ones who shake their heads at the shame they discern regarding Obama's inability to shape the world according to the blueprints they keep in their heads.

A most pristine illustration of this phenomenon can be found in a harsh critique of Obama's foreign policy authored by Mortimer Zuckerman -- the real estate billionaire who owns U.S News and World Report.

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