Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Do They No Longer Care? Coming Apart At the Seams

(EXTRA: If anyone could make a contribution to my PayPal account (or otherwise - contact me for further info), it would be sincerely appreciated as I've just gone off the cliff financially. I really appreciate everything that my kind readers have done for me in the past financially and otherwise. Now . . . back to your regular viewing.)

Upon reading portions of General Stanley McChrystal's, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Rolling Stone interview detailing his differences with President Obama and his outright defiance of the Chief Executive - a first in history I believe since General Douglas MacArthur did the same to President Harry Truman - I found myself wondering: "Do they no longer care?" I mean I know that there is a large amount of contempt for anyone (other than Dumbya) who thinks they can serve as President without putting in a serious stint with the military, but really. Or do you think this guy just wants to get fired before the Afghan War reaches its logical culmination (after the surge's predictable loss of steam) in the death of another empire? On his shoulders?

"How'd I get screwed into going to this dinner?" demands Gen. Stanley McChrystal. It's a Thursday night in mid-April, and the commander of all U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan is sitting in a four-star suite at the Hôtel Westminster in Paris. He's in France to sell his new war strategy to our NATO allies – to keep up the fiction, in essence, that we actually have allies. Since McChrystal took over a year ago, the Afghan war has become the exclusive property of the United States. Opposition to the war has already toppled the Dutch government, forced the resignation of Germany's president and sparked both Canada and the Netherlands to announce the withdrawal of their 4,500 troops. McChrystal is in Paris to keep the French, who have lost more than 40 soldiers in Afghanistan, from going all wobbly on him.

"The dinner comes with the position, sir," says his chief of staff, Col. Charlie Flynn.

McChrystal turns sharply in his chair.

"Hey, Charlie," he asks, "does this come with the position?"

McChrystal gives him the middle finger.

No one is more political than a top general (see any military history book although Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove may also provide a few touch points), but I'm guessing the brand of mayhem he had planned for the civilians of Afghanistan was beyond even that envisioned by President Obama who although he was perfectly content to bomb them back to the beginning of time with the drone attacks decided that McChrystal should be:

. . . summoned to Washington to explain derogatory comments about President Barack Obama and his colleagues, administration officials said Tuesday.

. . . The Rolling Stone profile, titled "The Runaway General," emerged from several weeks of interviews and travel with McChrystal's tight circle of aides this spring.

You gotta give this guy props for acting like what he did was somehow an emotional response that he couldn't stop himself from spouting - at the top level of the military no less (did I mention Dr. Strangelove?). You just gotta love that PR. (Wish I'd gone to work for a marketing firm as it's obviously pretty easy money.)

The interview describes McChrystal, 55, as "disappointed" in his first Oval Office meeting with Obama. The article says that although McChrystal voted for Obama, the two failed to connect from the start. Obama appointed McChrystal to lead the Afghan effort in May 2009. Last fall, though, Obama called McChrystal on the carpet for speaking too bluntly about his desire for more troops.

"I found that time painful," McChrystal said in the article, on newsstands Friday. "I was selling an unsellable position."

You've also got to consider McChrystal's past, don't you, before thinking you understand the whole schmear. It's not like he hasn't been here before (although, of course, not at that time competing for the title of Payoff King). (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

McChrystal has a history of drawing criticism, despite his military achievements.

In June 2006 President George W. Bush congratulated McChrystal for his role in the operation that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. As head of the special operations command, McChrystal's forces included the Army's clandestine counterterrorism unit, Delta Force.

He drew criticism for his role in the military's handling of the friendly fire shooting of Army Ranger Pat Tillman - a former NFL star - in Afghanistan. An investigation at the time found that McChrystal was "accountable for the inaccurate and misleading assertions" contained in papers recommending that Tillman get a Silver Star award.

McChrystal acknowledged he had suspected several days before approving the Silver Star citation that Tillman might have died by fratricide, rather than enemy fire. He sent a memo to military leaders warning them of that, even as they were approving Tillman's Silver Star. Still, he told investigators he believed Tillman deserved the award.

This week's development comes as criminal investigators are said to be examining allegations that Afghan security firms have been extorting as much as $4 million a week from contractors paid with U.S. tax dollars and then funneling the spoils to warlords and the Taliban, according to a U.S. military document. The payments are intended to ensure safe passage through dangerous areas they control.

The payments reportedly end up in insurgent hands through a $2.1 billion Pentagon contract to transport food, water, fuel and ammunition to American troops stationed at bases across Afghanistan.

So there's that. But I'm sure he meant no disrepect to his Commander in Chief, who after all appointed him (as if Obama hadn't been trying hard enough to please the hard right military-industrial thugs), and I'm not suggesting a coming coup, but it sure looks suspicious to me. Kinda Seven Days in May-ish. Brrrr. More on this later.
General James Mattoon Scott: And if you want to talk about your oath of office, I'm here to tell you face to face, President Lyman, that you violated that oath when you stripped this country of its muscles - when you deliberately played upon the fear and fatigue of the people and told them they could remove that fear by the stroke of a pen. And then when this nation rejected you, lost faith in you, and began militantly to oppose you, you violated that oath by not resigning from office and turning the country over to someone who could represent the people of the United States.
President Jordan Lyman: And that would be General James Mattoon Scott, would it? I don't know whether to laugh at that kind of megalomania, or simply cry.
You have to play this turn of events off against the reality that confronts those of us having to live in the rapidly deteriorating conditions within the USA today (versus those inhabiting the goldmine development areas of Iraq and Afghanistan) to get a true picture of of what's really happening. Bob Herbert speaks for us today in When Greatness Slips Away:

As a nation, we are becoming more and more accustomed to a sense of helplessness. We no longer rise to the great challenges before us. It’s not just that we can’t plug the oil leak, which is the perfect metaphor for what we’ve become. We can’t seem to do much of anything.

. . . The collapse of the economy in the Great Recession gave us the starkest, most painful evidence imaginable of the failure of laissez-faire economics and the destructive force of the alliance of big business and government against the interests of ordinary Americans. Radical change was called for. (One thinks of Franklin Roosevelt raging against the “economic royalists” and asserting that “we need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer.”)

But there has been no radical change, only caution and timidity and more of the same. The royalists remain triumphant and working people are absorbing blow after devastating blow. More than 1.2 million of the long-term jobless are due to lose their unemployment benefits this month.

Please read the whole essay for yourself. It seems to me to have captured the essence of what most of us are thinking about constantly today - not military game playing and terrorist taunting. Suzan P.S. And why really is Rahm announcing his departure so early? ______________


Mauigirl said...

Coming apart at the seams is right. Great post, Suzan. I agree, things are seeming more and more like something out of those scary 60s movies. (Both of which I re-watched in recent months and they are chillingly pertinent to today).

Suzan said...

Thank you, girlfriend!

So, I'm not the only one who remembers these classics? And weren't they terrifying at the time?

It was so hard to imagine a Nazi-type influence dominating the executive branch (other than the one that Eisenhower warned us about in his parting address) in the 50's and 60's wasn't it?

And yet. Here we are. The United States of Bloody National Strength Throughout the World Dominating All - or some such nonsense from these punk-assed, rightwingnutter institutions.


How the mighty have fallen.

Love ya and keep in touch!

We should all be in Maui.


I agree, things are seeming more and more like something out of those scary 60s movies.

Jolly Roger said...

I don't think a coup will run a successful course here, since the coup will depend on the rank and file following orders to shoot down citizens. The rank and file is largely made up of a socioeconomic group that Chimpy mercilessly persecuted, which makes it entirely too likely that if they were called upon, they'd do just what the Soviet troops did back in 1991-they'd go home.

And maybe that's what has to happen now. It might be too late to change course. Strangely enough, I think that it is only the right wingers who understand this, and they're preparing to take "their" chunk of the country when it falls apart.

Jack Jodell said...

I'm sorry to hear of your financial plight.I can't do much for you, having been unemployed since 1/1/09 and I'm strapped, too, but I want to help out. What is your Paypal address?

McChrystal is a modern-day Westmoreland with his constant cry for more troops and prolonged war. It is well past time where we should bring our troops home and start engaging Islamic extremists on the propaganda front, ESPECIALLY within the Islamic world. We need to isolate al Qaeda from moderate Muslims and this won't happen with more bombs and soldiers. We should have started this approach LONG ago!

Nobody likes a warmongering bully cowboy or a rogue sheriff, and that is exactly what McChrystal is.

Jack Jodell said...

Duh! I just clicked on Donate at the top left of your post and took care of it that way. Good luck, and I hope things improve for both of us soon!

Suzan said...


You are at least one millions type of D O L L !!!!!!!!!

I can never thank you enough, but now feel guilty. What in the world would cause any decent type of concern to lay off someone as articulate, perceptive and intelligent as you?

Wonders will never cease.

The bad kind anyway.

If there's ever anything I can do for you, don't hesitate to ask, sweetie!

Love you,


Jack Jodell said...

You're very wonderful to say those things and I love ya back. The small company I worked for went belly up after 11 solid years due to changing market conditions, corporate mergers which ousted us as suppliers to one of our biggest customers, and the drop in value of our currency. It was a tough situation we had no control over.

Suzan said...

Sheesh, Jack!

You are a real economic orphan, whereas I was a dividend orphan - or don't you remember the huge Cold War dividend we got when the Cold War ended and all the spending that had been utilized in waging it was then put back to the domestic agenda?


Neither do I.

Hope you will see some relief soon.

You certainly deserve it.

As do we all.

However, I'm not holding my breath awaiting the Afghan/Iraq dividend either.

Love ya,


company I worked for went belly up after 11 solid years due to changing market conditions, corporate mergers which ousted us as suppliers to one of our biggest customers, and the drop in value of our currency

Greendayman said...

"We have to protect our precious bodily fluids!!" I can see McChrystal grabbing President Obama by the lapels - wild eyed, spittle running down his cheek trying to make his point. Barack gently grasps each hand, loosens the grip from his shirt, talks McChrystal down off the edge of the building roof before he jumps.
Then he calls Rham and tells him to get rid of this crazy bastard.

Hope life improves for you Suze my sweet. Seems like we are all having our turn in the barrel at the same time.

Anonymous said...

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Short Short Stories said...

Former President Eisenhower warned of a way too powerful military industrial complex. Here it is. McCrystal is just and executive within this MIC. He is all about making sure that the taxpayers continue to fund war, destruction, death, mayhem, and more. That is his job. Anyone, even the CIChief, is fair game. McCrystal does not care.

All he cares about is that his major piece of the budgetary pie gets what it needs to blow stuff up and kill and expand the goals of the military's global expansion policy.


Suzan said...

Brrrr, JR, brrrrrrrr!

Didn't mean to ignore you before. Still thinking about the implications of what you said.

Absolutely terrifying being down here in the dumbed-down South where most of the people don't have a clue about economics and what is happening financially. Hell, most of the restaurants are full of people who think the recession is over and they can go back to deficit spending pronto!

And as far as a coup goes, I think you underestimate who makes up the Army and state troops now. They are not a bunch of Mama's boys scared of a fight. In fact, I hear all the time how many are looking for one.

And they certainly will be sicced on anyone deemed "terr'ists," won't they?

Thanks for the thoughtful comment!


I don't think a coup will run a successful course here, since the coup will depend on the rank and file following orders to shoot down citizens.