Monday, November 23, 2009

Dr. Kidglove and the General

Ray McGovern, the former high-ranking U.S. intelligence officer who has been exposing the flaws of our foreign policy for many years now, has called for President Obama to fire Gen. Stanley McChrystal for insubordination. He's the NATo commander in Afghanistan who publicly insulted Vice President Biden and defied President Obama's policy initiatives in a speech in London.

McGovern is absolutely right.

McGovern recalled Harry Truman's firing of a far more experienced, far more respected and far more arrogant general -- Douglas MacArthur -- during the Korean war.  Good precedent.

I'd like to see it happen again because (1) McChrystal should be fired and (2) it would be wonderful comic relief to see the Far Right go berserk.

In the Truman-MacArthur clash, Col. Robert Rutherford (Bertie) McCormick, owner and publisher of the right-wing Chicago Tribune, personally wrote a Page One editorial entitled, "Impeach Truman."  The publisher called the President "addle-pated."

Harsh talk at the time, but tame compared to what would happen at, say, Fox Faux News or the editorial page offices of the Wall Street Urinal if Obama emulated Truman and did the right thing.

Unfortunately, it's a comedy we won't get to watch.  Dr. Kidglove will give the general at least some of the troops he wants and we'll remain mired in another costly war we can't win.

McChrystal  said the policy Biden was advocating for Afghanistan would lead to "Chaos-istan." He went on to say: "Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support." That kind of talk is a NonoStan.

Here's Ray McGovern:

"No more slaps on the wrist for Gen. Stanley McChrystal. In the Truman-McArthur showdown nearly six decades ago, MacArthur had been playing a back-channel game to win the support of . . . Republican congressmen to widen the Korean war.

"Today, Gen. McChrystal is conducting a subtler but equally insubordinate campaign for wider war in Afghanistan, with the backing of CENTCOM commander David Petraeus. It is now even clearer in retrospect that the President should not have appointed McChrystal in the first place, given what was already known of his role in covering up the killing of football star Pat Tillman and condoning the torture practices by troops under McChrystal's earlier command in Iraq.

(In the London speech) "he was clearly out of line in going public at so sensitive a time.  Senior generals know better than to do that; there is little doubt his outspokenness was deliberate. McChrystal should meet the same fate as McArthur, and “silently steal away.” Obama should have taken the telegenic general to the woodshed instead of inviting him to confer quietly on Air Force One.

"McChrystal's continuing defiance shines through in the gratuitous remarks by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at a NATO meeting on Nov. 17 in Edinburgh. Siding clearly with McChrystal, Petraeus, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen in the intense debate over sending more forces to Afghanistan, Rasmussen blithely announced that NATO countries will soon order “substantially more forces” there.

"As Denmark's Prime Minister (2001-2009), Anders Fogh Rasmussen was one of George W. Bush's most sycophantic supporters—particularly when it came to the war on Iraq. Although amply warned by Danish intelligence officers of the deceptive nature of the U.S. case for war, he shunned them and outdid himself cheerleading for war. He told the Danish Parliament:

'Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. This is not something we just believe. We know.'

"As NATO Secretary General, Rasmussen told CBS News, 'I think that Gen. McChrystal shares the same goal I do.'"

McGovern reports that Obama had been warned about Rasmussen even before he moved into the Oval office. Once again he reacted as Dr. Kidglove— "a highly educated, well-spoken wuss on many key issues," as McGovern put it. Obama "did not lift a finger to prevent Rasmussen from becoming NATO Secretary General."

The President has to live with the Rasmussen mistake.  But he need not live with the insubordinate Gen. McChrystal.

He should can the man, if only to trigger a re-issue of Gene Autry's recording of "Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just Fade Away."

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