Thursday, June 24, 2010

How President Obama lost "big-time" to the Rolling Stone

From its very beginning, even in its very title, the Rolling Stone article The Runaway General never seriously pretended to be anything but a hit piece written to make Gen. McChyrstal and his staff look like a bunch of cartoon-ish clowns on the very verge of going full-tilt maverick.

The President had an obligation and a duty to be The Commander In Chief AND The President Of The United States in this affair, carefully weighing the evidence and carefully considering the consequences of his words and actions on our nation's interests, our efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere. In my judgment, he failed miserably when he accepted the General's resignation and with his remarks in the Rose Garden.

The Runaway General was an article written with the intent of creating a destructive division between the General and his state-side superiors. President Obama made the article succeed in that. President Obama gave the Rolling Stone the win, without even much of, or any real fight at all.

President Obama should have turned the situation around and made it clear that our success in Afghanistan was not going to be jeopardized by an over the top and ridiculous hit piece produced by a silly music magazine with its extremist attempt to make the General and his staff look like idiots.

The President could have then made the observation that while commanders in the field may have differences of opinions with their civilian leadership back home, they understand and are fully committed to our nations tradition and principle of the primacy of civilian leadership over the military.

He could have further remarked that it is natural for every General, and in fact, every President, to want to provide our soldiers with all of the tools, materials and troop levels necessary to assure overwhelming victory in the field, but it is the unfortunate nature of political reality that it is not always easy or even possible to provide as much material and personnel support to the troops in the field that we would all like. He could have made a half-humorous aside at this point that he is personally very glad that no shitty little Rolling Stone reporter has overheard and misreported his private complaints about the difficulties he has had in providing the military with everything that they have have asked for in their efforts to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The President should have then berated those people in his Party and in the press who have tried to liken Gen. McChrystal to Gen. MacArthur, pointing out that at no point in any part of that stupid execrable article or in any other report about Gen. McChrystal from anywhere else, did he actively engage in the same kind of blatant and extra constitutional attempts to undermine the President's authority and our nations tradition of Civilian leadership of the military in any way or fashion resembling the excesses of General MacArthur.

The President should have then concluded by expressing his confidence in the abilities of Gen. McChrystal, his staff and his efforts to help make Afghanistan a successful, productive and peaceful nation.

Instead, Obama FUBARed it.

This was a Sister Souljah moment for President Obama and he flubbed it "big-time."

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