A hierarchical undercutting in the decision making process in any work environment lends itself to a severe tongue lashing, however, in the military world it requires one of two things- resignation or firing.
This is exactly the position current Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal finds himself in.
A senior Capitol Hill source says McChrystal will resign, leaving the White House in a pickle as the summer offensive in Afghanistan, already causing heartburn, with no other choice but to regroup with new leadership.
Insiders are also saying Congress is already seeking McChrystal’s replacement and names like General James Mattis of the US Joint Forces Command and Lieutenant General William Caldwell, the current commander of Nato’s Training Mission in Afghanistan are the frontrunners.
However, President Obama hasn’t indicated which way he will go and it is no secret the president’s choice in words calling “Afghanistan the right war,” could come back to haunt him. Americans have lost interest in the Middle East War effort and losing soldiers on the battlefield when the Administration refuses to kill the opium poppy fields is not helping shore up support on the home front.
As word spread yesterday of the Rolling Stone story a universal consensus formed that McChrystal and his entourage crossed the sacred line by criticizing the President and his staff.
“This is clearly a firing offense,” said Peter Feaver, a former official in the Bush White House and strong backer of a fully resourced counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan in a Washington Post story.
But military experts also question relieving McChrystal of his leadership role on the eve of a major offensive in Kandahar, which is the most critical of the war, could hurt the Afghanistan war effort. It has also been said that McChrystal was not onboard with the July 2011 timetable for withdrawal.
The Rolling Stone story reads in part; “According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked ‘uncomfortable and intimidated’ by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much better. ‘It was a 10-minute photo-op,’ says an adviser to McChrystal. ‘Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his f-ing war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.’”
President Barack Obama said earlier that McChrystal is guilty of “poor judgment” but said he will wait to pass judgment until the two meet at the White House.
The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan and his aides also made disparaging comments about Vice President Joe Biden, special envoy Richard Holbrooke, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and others in the story titled “The Runaway General.”
“Gen. McChrystal is on his way here, and I am going to meet with him. Secretary Gates will meet with him as well,” Obama said Tuesday evening. “I think it’s clear that the article in which he and his team appeared showed poor judgment, but I also want to talk to him directly before I make any final decisions.”
Asked earlier in the day whether McChrystal’s job is on the line, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that “everything is on the table.”
McChrystal apologized for the article Tuesday morning.
“It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened,” McChrystal said in a statement. “Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honor and professional integrity. What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard. I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war, and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome.”
Nevertheless McChrystal received harsh words from Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. “I read with concern the profile piece on Gen. Stanley McChrystal in the upcoming edition of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine,” Gates said in a statement. “I believe that Gen. McChrystal made a significant mistake and exercised poor judgment in this case. We are fighting a war against al Qaeda and its extremist allies, who directly threaten the United States, Afghanistan, and our friends and allies around the world.”
“Our troops and coalition partners are making extraordinary sacrifices on behalf of our security, and our singular focus must be on supporting them and succeeding in Afghanistan without such distractions. Gen. McChrystal has apologized to me and is similarly reaching out to others named in this article to apologize to them as well,” Gates said. “I have recalled Gen. McChrystal to Washington to discuss this in person.”
Cable television pundit Sean Hannity said he did understand General McChrystal’s frustration “with how the Obama administration has mishandled the ‘War on Terror.’ “I don’t think Obama takes his role as commander in chief as seriously as he should.”
“What are we to think of a president who only sends 20-to 30-thousand more soldiers in a war in Afghanistan, but not that amount the generals on the ground ask for?” Hannity questioned. “What about a president who resists using the term ‘war on terrorism?’ I don’t think this president is seeking victory in Afghanistan.”
With a drug war raging in Mexico, a defiant Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Gulf oil spill disaster and a trouble economy will President Obama rock the boat in Afghanistan or move forward with more of the status quo?
Iran’s ability to launch several hundred missiles into Europe prompted the White House to begin overhauling the U.S. missile defense program. In a U.S. intelligence briefing, Defense Secretary Robert Gates informed cabinet and congressional members that Iran was getting very close to procuring 100s of missiles capable of striking most European nations.
The United States will begin work on the “phased adaptive approach” or the intergraded sea and land-based missile installations placed around the European allies.
At a congressional meeting on Thursday Gates suggested new intelligence is behind the new push for a more targeted approach for defense missiles.
“One of the elements of the intelligence that contributed to the decision on the phased adaptive array (approach) was the realization that if Iran were actually to launch a missile attack on Europe, it wouldn’t be just one or two missiles, or a handful,” he said. “It would more likely be a salvo kind of attack, where you would be dealing potentially with scores or even hundreds of missiles.”
Secretary Gates said the updated missile interceptors the defense department was developing would give the U.S. the ability to protect American interests abroad as well as our closest allies.
However, Gates pointed out that the new missile interceptors would not be in place until 2020.
“I think by 2020 we may well see it from other states, especially if we’re unsuccessful in stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons,” he explained.
Gates attempted to placate Russia who will always hate the U.S. missile defenses because they cannot match America’s missile defense technology.
“There is no meeting of the minds on missile defense,” Gates told the panel. “The Russians hate it. They’ve hated it since the late 1960s. They will always hate it, mostly because we’ll build it and they won’t.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State said the Russian’s statement noted the Russian government’s right to withdraw from the New START treaty if it feels threatened by the expansion of American defenses against ballistic missiles Iran is building.
“But that is not an agreed upon view. That is not in the treaty,” Clinton told the Armed Services Committee.
In the meantime the U.S. will keep 720 deployed weapons: 240 submarine-launched ballistic missiles (distributed among 14 submarines); 60 heavy bombers, and up to 420 single-warhead Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles at their current three U.S. bases, Gates explained.
Newly-minted Senator Scott Brown (R-MASS) expressed his concern that Russia and France’s conflicting interests with Iran and said the fact they are maintaining commercial relationships, perhaps, helping Iran circumvent international sanctions regarding their nuclear program.
“Russian leadership have all made this statement that this treaty is contingent on the United States not changing, or qualitatively or quantitatively building up, missile defense systems,” Gates said. “That is bound to be worrisome to anyone. The Russians can say what they want. If it’s not in the treaty, it’s not binding on the United States.”
In the meantime the Obama administration will continue their pacifist foreign policy programs, cross their fingers and hope it works.