Rolling Stone’s profile on Gen. Stanley McChrystal hits newsstands Friday… Score another one for the Internet! The views expressed here are mine and those of people with a conscience.
CNBC Fab 5 Pics has been preempted by my DVR-less trip to the MIA. Luckily I’ve come prepared with a backup topic.
Namely, the clusterf*ck in Afghanistan.
Now as matter of general principle, I usually stay away from Rolling Stone on account of its crappy music reviews, bleeding heart liberalism, trimmed down physique and overall suckiness. But it’s not every day that a writeup in a pop culture mag singlehandedly upends an entire political system, redirects efforts in the longest-running war in American history, ousts a four-star commander, and pegs all the president’s men a bunch of spineless ninnies.
For the two of you who haven’t heard the news, get up to speed with bullet points designed to repair your reputation as lazy, politically disinterested Americans!
- Freelancer Michael Hastings finds himself tossing back a few beers at an Irish pub in Paris with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, and his men… Hastings tags along for a week afterward
- McChrystal’s aides take it upon themselves to trash every single important figure in the Obama Administration sans Hillary Clinton, who’s the kind of woman who favors giving the military all of what it needs instead of, uh, half of what it needs (…and who should be running the country in the first place?)
- McChrystal’s peeps aren’t big fans of sit-down dinners with French ministers (“It’s f*cking gay”), the old culture of the International Security Assistance Force (renamed “I Suck At Fighting”), and in many disgruntled cases, the war effort in general (“We should just drop a f*cking bomb on this place.”)
- McChrystal, the chief architect of counterinsurgency (COIN), prosecutes the war as follows: 1) Win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people 2) Introduce high-tech ops and diplomatic tact to a military that’s otherwise just content with blowing shit up 3) Build up an Islamic country and its government from scratch with Western tools 4) Only fire when fired upon
- No. 3 and 4 are sticking points with soldiers… “F*ck, when I came over here and heard that McChrystal was in charge, I thought we would get our f*cking gun on.”
- Despite best efforts, McChrystal says, “We’ve shot an amazing number of people.”
- President Hamid Karzai is the kind of “tin-pot” leader who sleeps through meetings with McChyrstal and couldn’t tell you in which regions his men are fighting (Also, I’m pretty sure his brother conducts Afghanistan’s opium trade)
- McChrystal sleeps four hours a night, runs seven miles a day, eats once, guzzles Bud Light Lime and pops up unannounced in the deadliest trenches… “The f*cking lads love Stan McChrystal,” says a British officer who serves in Kabul. “You’d be out in Somewhere, Iraq, and someone would take a knee beside you, and a corporal would be like ‘Who the f*ck is that?’ And it’s f*cking Stan McChrystal.”
- The Pentagon and White House hate each other; the power struggle within our own government is as heated as the fight on the ground
- “The president finds himself stuck in something even more insane than a quagmire: a quagmire he knowingly walked into, even though it’s precisely the kind of gigantic, mind-numbing, multigenerational nation-building project he explicitly said he didn’t want.”
- Six more allied troops died Wednesday, making June the deadliest month of the nine-year war
Apparently, about a quarter of these bullets constitute insubordination. McChrystal was replaced Wednesday by Gen. David Petraeus, the guru behind the Iraqi “surge”/most decorated man in the army.
In what was designed to be a show of authority in the Rose Garden, Obama actually ceded power to a war hero, Petraues, who commands even more respect and political goodwill then the president himself. MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell went so far as to compare Petraeus to WWII legend/aspiring commander-in-chief Douglas MacArthur.
And here’s the ass-backward crux of it all: Al Qaeda is not in Afghanistan, so continuing to pump blood and money into that hellhole is much like force-feeding quarters to a broken Pac-Man machine frozen on the “Game Over” screen. The change in command from McChrystal to Petraeus is pretty much a lateral move – the latter is just as fervently COIN as his shamed predecessor.
I’m stepping down from my soapbox now, but first urging you to take a look at this thing… or check it out in the Times or the Post, or on O’Reilly or Maddow. Whatever. Just know what’s going on, because, to quote one of McChrystal’s top advisors, “If Americans pulled back and started paying attention to this war, it would become even less popular.”