William Hamilton: General McChrystal loses the Battle of Hastings
June 29, 2010
Surely, readers of Central View have never uttered complaints about their boss or made contemptuous remarks about their employer. Conversely, it is almost a military tradition for the private to gripe about his sergeant, for the sergeant to grumble about his lieutenant and so on up the line.
Most often, they do so in private and, unless they are incredibly naïve about the Sinistra Media, they do not utter contemptuous words about those above them in the chain-of-command to a reporter for a known left-wing magazine and especially to a reporter who wrote long-ago about his own left-wing, anti-military bias and about his personal allegiance to the Democratic Party.
No matter the merit of the less-than-flattering remarks made about the Obamessiahs in front of Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, the staff of a four-star general and the general himself should have known, drunk or sober, about Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which states:
Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the president, the vice president, congress, the secretary of defense, the secretary of a military department, the secretary of transportation or the governor or legislature of any state, territory, commonwealth or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
Article 88 is not about military strategy or tactics. Article 88 makes contemptuous remarks “personal,” and any commander-in-chief would have to take the remarks reported by Hastings, well, “personally.”
Because Obama and McChrystal were in agreement about strategy, analogies about President Lincoln firing General McClellan or President Truman firing General MacArthur or President Carter firing General Singlaub do not apply here. Those were conflicts over military strategy.
Speaking of strategy, this author wrote long ago that following General Tommy Franks destruction of the al-Qaeda training camps in October 2001, we should have pulled out and left Afghanistan to its warlords and their poppy crops.
Today, the demotion of General David Petraeus from Commanding General of Central Command in Tampa to head his subordinate command in Kabul, Afghanistan, is brilliant Obama politics.
Here’s why: Former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Obama accused President Bush of wasting money and lives in maritime, oil-rich Iraq. Conversely, Candidate Obama contended we should abandon Iraq and concentrate our forces in landlocked, opium-rich Afghanistan.
Now, Mr. Obama, can pin our inevitable failure to win Obama’s War on General Petraeus. Who better to lead the effort in Afghanistan than the leader of the successful “surge” in Iraq? When the “savior” of Iraq fails to save Afghanistan (in large measure because Mr. Obama’s July 2011 deadline for withdrawal signals the Taliban and al-Qaeda to hang in there until we leave), Mr. Obama can now claim that he put his most successful general in charge of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, the Obamessiahs just awarded a $2.16 billion dollar contract to Afghan trucking companies to supply our troops. According to a Washington Post report, each week $1.6 to $2 million dollars of that money finds its way to the Taliban. Moreover, the U.S. is cutting a deal with the Russians to supply our aviation fuel via Russian-controlled Kyrgyzstan. Now, our food and ammunition supply chain is at the mercy of the Afghan warlords and our fuel supply chain will soon be at the whim of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
General Petraeus may find himself in Afghanistan with no beans, no bullets and no fuel for his combat vehicles and medivac helicopters. That is not fair to the fine young men and women who have volunteered to serve in our armed forces.
As conservative commentator Dennis Prager says, “America’s greatest danger will be failing to vote these incompetents out of office.”
– Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval War College, Harvard’s JFK School of Government, and is a former Research Fellow at the U.S. Army War College.
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