General Could not Fight War with Obama’s Oxymoronic Strategy
By Con George-Kotzabasis
Drew, you seem to place formality above entelechy, the vital part of war. Throughout history an ethic, no matter how laudable and worthy, in critical circumstances is degraded to a lower status if it is not made totally inutile. Winning the war is the primal goal and that can only be achieved by professionals, not by ‘drone’ like Bidens. You also seem to forget, that it was precisely this unconditional devotion to “conditional civilian control” that lost the war in Vietnam. My position is, so you won’t misunderstand me, certainly a general has to abide the commands of the executive branch, but no general worth his salt who has the ultimate responsibility of deploying his troops to win a war, a responsibility that has been given to him by his Commander-in-Chief, is obliged to execute commands that are contradictory in winning the war without expressing his deep concerns critically about the incongruence of the war plan that was designed by the Executive. One cannot increase the Surge by thirty thousand more troops and at the same time announce a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in two years time. This is the fundamental contradiction of Obama’s doltish strategy in Afghanistan. No one but a modern Tiresias could predict that the war against the Taliban would be won in two years or that the Karzai forces would be able to handle the insurgency by their own steam. Obama set the scene for a strategy that for the next two years American blood and valuable resources would be spent not for the goal of victory, but for the purpose of a withdrawal. This is the quintessence of McChrystal’s criticism of the Obama administration although he did not explicitly express it in these words.
Moreover, McChrystal could no more “undermine the executive branch” that was already undermined by itself. Also your accusation of McChrystal of being incompetent and of losing the respect of his troops by commanding them to patrol without cartridges in their guns, except maybe in some rare circumstances, is incredulous and is closer to phantasy than reality. McChrystal and Petraeus were the sagacious heroic victors of the war in Iraq. That one of the architects of this unprecedented victory, that even the wise Kissinger considered it to be unattainable, would lose the respect of his soldiers is pure phantasy. Further, that a most competent commander of the elite Special Forces, a “killing machine,” would put his soldiers at risk is beyond belief. I am curious to know the evidence from which you deduced this transformation of a deadly ‘seal’, who all his life has been trained for the tasks of the infernal world, into an unarmed Gandhian votary.