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Posts Tagged ‘Stanley McChrystal’

Over the past week there was a huge noisy story, and a huge quiet one.  Is there anyone who has not by now,  heard the saga Of General Stanley McChrystal, his wise-cracking mouth, and Barack Obama’s “Truman Moment”  in either accepting McChrystal’s resignation or in firing him, depending on the story you heard or read?  No, I figured not.

The “Truman Moment” of course refers to President Harry S. Truman’s firing of the very popular General Douglas MacArthur in 1951 for his direct, written opposition to Truman’s strategy  in Korea.  McChrystal, of course, did not oppose, in writing or otherwise, tactical or strategic policy in Afghanistan.   He merely wise-cracked about certain government officials.  The fact that one comment, really simply an opinion, was aimed at the head guy, the Commander-in-Chief, was less than prudent.  But if one is going to make comparisons, MacArthur is not as appropriate as George Patton.  Maybe FDR should have fired Patton for his battle-hardened, wiseacre remarks.   That battle-hardened officers might make off-the-cuff comments should come as no surprise to an experienced commander.  To elevate the comments to the level of insubordination Truman saw from MacArthur is the height of hyperbole.

As for FDR (who did not fire Patton for his profanities), there was Rachel Maddow this week comparing her American Idol Rock Star, Barack Obama,  to FDR himself, citing the many Rooseveltian bills Obama has jammed through Congress.  Well, the jury is still out on that, and while replacing McChrystal with David Petraeus appears roundly popular, the degree to which it was fair or wise is questionable.  Will this make a difference on the ground? The jury is still out on that, too.  The bottom line is that Obama’s numbers continue to tank which brings us to the huge quiet story of the week.

It is a cautionary tale.   Pictured above with our wildly popular Head Homegirl and Secretary of State, is Kevin Rudd,  Prime Minister of Australia beleaguered by low approval ratings up until June 24 (Thursday) 2010 when he was summarily replaced as head of Australia’s Labor Party (and thus as PM) by his Deputy PM, Julia Gillard.

She is Australia’s first woman Prime Minister, and in the land of Germaine Greer, some women are wondering why it took so long.  Sex war rages on as Sheila takes a bow.  The cautionary part of this tale is that the way parliamentary democracy works is that the majority party chief stands as PM.  This is not comparable to a challenge to Obama by Sarah Palin.  The challenge to Rudd came from within his own party.  Got that?  Rudd and Gillard are both members of the Labor Party.  The more popular one replacing the guy whose popularity slid down the tubes.

So, as we welcome a new female world leader on the scene, I’m just sayin’.

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A rolling stone may gather no moss, but Rolling Stone magazine sure gathered its share of media attention today in the run-up to its release on the newsstands this coming Friday of an article about chief of Afghanistan Ops General Stanley McChrystal entitled The Runaway General.  You can read the advance net release at the link below and judge for yourself the degree to which McChrystal may or may not deserve to feel the tip of Obama’s Commander-in-Chief  boot.  There certainly seems to be a plethora of off-the-cuff remarks that appear as quotes from the general,  but there is a back story here as well that has less to do with him and more to do with the CIC and the one member of his cabinet and staff that not only did not receive criticism but rather won praise from McChrystal’s men.  If you have guessed by now that I refer to our esteemed Head Homegirl, Hillary Rodham Clinton, you would be correct. This excerpt tells the story succinctly enough.

Part of the problem is structural: The Defense Department budget exceeds $600 billion a year, while the State Department receives only $50 billion. But part of the problem is personal: In private, Team McChrystal likes to talk shit about many of Obama’s top people on the diplomatic side. One aide calls Jim Jones, a retired four-star general and veteran of the Cold War, a “clown” who remains “stuck in 1985.” Politicians like McCain and Kerry, says another aide, “turn up, have a meeting with Karzai, criticize him at the airport press conference, then get back for the Sunday talk shows. Frankly, it’s not very helpful.” Only Hillary Clinton receives good reviews from McChrystal’s inner circle. “Hillary had Stan’s back during the strategic review,” says an adviser. “She said, ‘If Stan wants it, give him what he needs.’ ”

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates does not appear in an antagonistic role in the article as others do, but neither is he singled out for the praise the Secretary of State is accorded.  In all fairness, Secretary Gates has accompanied the SOS to The Hill to help argue against the budgetary imbalance referred to in that first sentence.  But it is the incomparable Hillary Rodham Clinton who floats off the pages not only unscathed, but applauded by McChrystal’s aides.

Now,  none of this  surprises the Homegirls and Homeboys at all since we well remember scenes like these in Afghanistan.

All of this comes accompanied by this, also tearing up the interwebs today.  Voters Say Hillary More Qualified To Be President Than Obama, Romney, Gingrich, Palin.  Amusingly, for me and my Homies, since she neither instigated nor encouraged any of this, she cannot be assigned any blame for it unless you care to blame her for doing her job diligently and efficiently and for being charming and attentive to the troops.  I would so have enjoyed being a fly on the wall in that cabinet meeting today, or perhaps in one of the other two meetings she attended at the White House today, since she is simply an innocent bystander who apparently is doing so much that is right.

She has the highest approval rating, and consistently has had, among the people in that room, and she is untouchable!  You see, we like her, we really, really do.  She is the one shining star there.  Hmmmmmm … is she likable enough for you now?  Full disclosure:  I always liked her.   This night, I fell head-over-heels in love, not for the first time,  (along with millions of others).

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