Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal sacked - Petraeus to take over

It's a rare day when I agree with anything this administration does. That said, President Obama acted correctly in relieving Gen. McChrystal of his commend. Any private who talked like that about his lieutenant would have been busted. Standards need to be upheld. Rank insubordination and disrespect directed at the President could not be allowed to go unanswered without calling into question Obama's authority.

General Petraeus is an excellent and highly qualified choice to assume command. Let us pray for his success and a swift end to this tragic war.


David said...

I have to disagree with you, this isn't a war. It is a muster cluck of legendary proportions. In war you don't worry about offending the people you are killing because of the name of your war. This president announced the withdrawal of forces during the prosecution of the war. To bad the American people have to wait three years to sack the President.

Visibilium said...

The counterinsurgency strategy is a long-term one and involves a close-knit relationship between solders and native civilians. It works, but takes a while. Think of Nixon's strategic hamlet program in South Vietnam. It was working, but he folded to the politics. Biden's counterterrorism strategy is short-term and involves the collateral damage to civilians that pissed off the Afghans to begin with.

Ochlophobist said...


Think of Nixon's strategic hamlet program in South Vietnam. It was working, but he folded to the politics.


Rich guy in Western suit drives nice car into village while smoking a cigar. Barks out a few orders. Leaves a small generator or the parts for a simple water filtration system, maybe brings a couple of 20-something ag "experts" trained in large scale ag to advise villagers on updating farming methods. Gone in 30 minutes.

Cigar dude leaves.

Mid level Comrade shows up. He is dressed exactly as the villagers and his mannerisms are the same. He has a well oiled supply machine behind him which addresses many actual village needs. He remembers their names and knows exactly what problems are facing the village. While there he works with the villagers on menial village tasks. Gone after a few days.

What does your average village do? It does what the cigar man says, takes his toys, and then does real business with Comrade. The strategy was doomed.

How does it make any sense for an Austrian Schooler to be a hawk? I thought you hated big government? How can you support Vietnam and/or the Bush imperialism?

Visibilium said...

Och, your puzzlement puzzles me. I'm talking about the relative merits of a counterinsurgency strategy over a counterrorism strategy in Afghanistan, and I'm using the strategic hamlet experience as an example of the former. The aim of the counterinsurgency strategy is to bring about an end that's more sustainable than the Big Cigar Guy strategy.

Counterinsurgencies costs money, troops, and time. Troops who are used to shooting people become demoralized when they're asked to hold their fire. In the middle of implementation, the strategy looks like a quagmire to instant-gratification media imbeciles.

The upside is minimal civilian collateral damage, more sustainable outcomes, and the lack of Big Cigar Guy downsides.

Counterterrorism was the Joe Biden's choice, and its implementation caused unacceptable civilian casualties. It's short-term, cheap, and it utilizes troops in conventional ways.

My personal favorite is the Brit strategy in wiping out the Thuggees. Look it up sometime, and then ask me again whether I favor violence or pre-emptive strikes.

Does such a view contradict my position that the primary role of government, if it exists, is to provide its customers with highly-effective protection of life, liberty, and property?

In any event, I wasn't addressing the issue of whether America should have been involved in Vietnam or the optimal extent of the involvement once the commitment was made.

Alice C. Linsley said...

McArthur was reprimanded by the President but not relieved of duty. I agree that what McChrystal and his staff were doing was wrong, disrespectful to the Office, and ultimately harmful to th mission. The change in conmmand is also dangerous, as good as General Petraeus is. It takes a good while for the new General's comman style and ways of operating to trickle down to the troops. Meanwhile more American lives are lost.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Actually Gen. MacArthur was relieved of command by President Truman.

Anam Cara said...

John is right. My mother was horrified that MacArthur was relieved. During Viet Name I remember her saying to herself more than once, "Come back, Truman; all is forgiven."