Wednesday, July 07, 2010


clipped from:

McChrystal gave the interview in order that he be fired. he knew that the policies could not work. he didn't want to be tarnished.

The original military strategy was Rumsfeld. unlimited machismo, Bomb high, don't worry who gets killed, torture those you capture. Don't consult anyone. Occupy indefinitely

McChrystal was one of Rumsfeld's "golden boys." He had a long history of being a daring rebel. contemptuous of superiors.

Rumsfeld placed him as head of the most secretive elite units, "special operations", a "killing machine." He performed brilliantly.

in 2006, all began to say we're losing the war. Resistance too strong. U.S. lives lost steadily up. Republicans did badly in elections of 2006. Something had to be done.

Rumsfeld fired. Cheney lost to Rice and Gates. A more "moderate" views, emphasizing diplomacy.

A new strategy called COIN, developed by an obscure Petraeus, a military intellectual
top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1983, a Ph.D. in international relations from Princeton in 1989, taught international relations at West Point. A seasoned combat officer, cultivated politicians

Since the 1980s he advocated COIN as a doctrine. French in Algeria, United States in Vietnam which critics note are not notable successes. COIN emphasizes "winning hearts and minds," which means necessarily incorporating diplomatic and political considerations into military tactics. "Think the Green Berets as an armed Peace Corps."

Bush turned to Petraeus in 2006 to implement COIN in Iraq. This was the famous "surge". Petraeus did two things. first, bribe Sunni tribal elders in central and western Iraq to cease their tacit support of non-Iraqi al-Qaeda units. Since the Sunni sheikhs had never liked the al-Qaeda units, they were willing to forget their dislike of the Americans - for a price.

second thing, permit ethnic cleansing in Baghdad, turning a multi-ethnic city into two segregated zones, a larger Shi'a zone and a beleaguered smaller Sunni zone. This reduced violence against the U.S. troops but increased inter-Iraqi violence and served the interests of Mokhtar al-Sadr who is emerging as a broker in newly-elected Iraqi parliament

"Petraeus is sort of a genius. He managed to turn what could have been catastrophic defeat in Iraq into a face-saving withdrawal." But, a face-saving withdrawal is not a victory, even if Sen. John McCain insisted so when running for president in 2008 - unsuccessfully.

Obama ran against Iraq and for Afghanistan. He promoted Petraeus, adopted COIN, and named McChrystal commander. McChrystal publicly demanded 40,000 more troops. Obama after months, gave him 30,000 and a withdrawal date.

McChrystal abandoned machismo and became an enthusiastic implementer of counter insurgency. He issued strict directives to avoid civilian casualties which was not appreciated by the infantry units. He established warm relations with Karzai, while other U.S. leaders held Karzai at a distance. He thought he could win a quick victory in Marja, turn it over to Afghan forces. It was a failure. Kandahar had to be postponed. McChrystal's Chief of Operations, Maj. Gen. Bill Mayville, says it looks like Vietnam: "It's not going to look like a win, smell like a win or taste like a win....This is going to end in an argument." "Winning, it would seem, is not really possible.

So, what would you do. invite a reporter for a rock-and-roll magazine which is presemably on the left, have drink fests, and sneer at the government, get it printed, guaranteed to get you fired. future "argument" would not involve you

Obama did fire McChrystal and he tossed the hot potato to Petraeus, who couldn't refuse it. The next year or two are going to be a fast-moving game in which Obama and Petraeus are going to try to shift the public's blame for the defeat on the other.

The far right, the friends of Cheney and Rumsfeld, are not fooled. Diana West, one of their pundits, says: "The COIN nightmare continues." For her, COIN means ordering troops "to exercise fantasies of cultural relativism that makes lefty sense in a PC classroom, but are nothing short of appalling on the front line." A slightly less acerbic view was that of retired Col. Douglas Macgregor: "The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense."

The far right wants perpetual war, the alternative is early and complete withdrawal. Obama sends Panetta, out saying making progress is "harder" and is going to proceed more slowly than anticipated

Rolling Stone interview

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