Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Rolling Stone Bombshell

What many may see as a stupid move on General Stanley McChrystal's part regarding his comments to Rolling Stone magazine in which he degrades the Obama administration, I see as a calculated attempt to get the hell out of a dead end situation in Afghanistan. McChrystal can't possibly be so misguided as to think that hanging out with a Rolling Stone reporter for a lengthy period of time while talking shit about his boss - the President of the United States - will be "off the record." Not surprisingly, McChrystal was fired today and I can't help but think that he has to be relieved.

The timeline that Obama has set for leaving Afghanistan is July of 2011. We are not currently winning this war and things are not going to drastically change for the better in the span of a year. This timeline is foolish. McChrystal knows this timeline is foolish. General David Petraeus, who has replaced McChrystal, certainly has to believe that this timeline is foolish. When outrage ensued over Afghan president Hamid Karzai's threat to join the Taliban, you need to realize that Afghanis won't have much choice once U.S. troops pull out. If you are trying to win the "hearts and minds" of the Afghan population, this timeline is not only a noose around their loyalties to American forces, but a death sentence as well.

The silver lining in all of this is that Petraeus is Obama's last realistic option in Afghanistan which will hopefully give him leverage. Petraeus understands Afghanistan and Middle East issues just as well if not better, in my opinion, than McChrystal. In March, Patraeus said that the perception of U.S. favoritism towards Israel was becoming a liability for the advancement of our interests abroad. An obvious statement, but one that is rarely uttered from such a high ranking military official. Needless to say, I like Petraeus.

I don't blame McChrystal for saying the things he said about Obama given the situation in Afghanistan. Hopefully, this will be a wakeup call for an administration that is quickly unraveling while justifiably being perceived by the public as disengaged and elitist.

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