The Impossibility of Being in Afghanistan


obamajointchiefs_150By Jeff Huber at-Largely

President Obama met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Friday Oct. 30 for another skull session on Afghanistan. Another reason not to escalate: long term consequences on personnel and equipment of land warfare services that have been strained by eight years of dual wars.

Obama has not made any decisions regarding Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for more troops, and it is unlikely he will before he leaves Monday on a weeklong tour of Asia. So we’re safe for another week, anyway.


I hope that at some point in the Joint Chiefs meeting, Obama ran a cheese grater across Adm. Mike Mullen’s face. Mullen had been part of a media blitz designed to box Obama into acceding to McChrystal’s demands, telling Congress that he endorsed McChrystal’s plan while Obama’s security team was still in deliberations. Gen. David Petraeus also publicly endorsed the McChrystal plan.

McChrystal himself pulled a string of MacArthur-class stunts that he should face discipline for: the leaked classified assessment on Afghanistan to Bob Woodward, the Newsweek profile, the 60 Minutes infomercial, the Dexter Filkins hagiography in the New York Times Magazine, the dog-piling by congressional hawks like John McCain demanding that Obama snap to and obey McChrystal ASAP or troops already in Afghanistan would be in peril. Leaks galore: McChrystal might resign if he didn’t get his way. The military was “frustrated” with Obama. There was the op-ed at the right-fright outlet Newsmax encouraging the military to conduct a coup to resolve the “Obama problem.” Then we had monster laureate Dick Cheney chime in with his “dithering” comments. It was shameful. Don’t think for a second McChrystal and Petraeus and Mullen didn’t know what they were doing. They’re as media savvy as any movie studio executive (Mullen’s father was a Hollywood publicity agent). It’s tough to say how much of the media madness was planned and how much was spontaneous, but these guys know how echo chambers work. You shout “fire” a few times and pretty soon everybody’s shouting it along with you.

Read more at at-Largely

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff’s novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America’s rise to global dominance, is on sale now.

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