Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lack of judgement or wounded pride?

President Obama hasn't been having a good couple of weeks. First of all he's had to launch a full scale attack on BP and ignore any US involvement to ensure that he keeps up his protectionist stance. Now Gen McChrystal is coming under fire from the politician and his advisors, mainly for comments made by his aide.

At the White House meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan, Gen McChrystal is expected to face:

Joe Biden. Gen McChrystal had mocked the vice-president when asked a question about him. "Are you asking about Vice-President Biden? Who's that?"
Karl Eikenberry. Gen McChrystal said he felt "betrayed" by the US ambassador to Kabul during the long 2009 White House debate on troop requests for Afghanistan
James Jones. One of Gen McChrystal's aides says the national security adviser is a "clown stuck in 1985"
Richard Holbrooke. Gen McChrystal says of an e-mail from the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan: "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke... I don't even want to open it"

Stanley McChrystal has been praised as the best commander in Afghanistan in the nine year war and has reduced civilian casualties by 44% which will have a positive impact on the 'hearts and minds' battle in the country, vital for intelligence on local Taliban activities.

But instead of concentrating on that, Obama has some wounded pride to see to. If members of his administration haven't been supporting the troops properly than I think it's important that people know about it. If his attitude has been less than helpful yet he and his administration are using trips to see the troops to raise their profile then I think it's a valid thing for people to know about. After all; who pays the bill?

Former CGS Gen Sir Richard Dannett was outspoken about the last Labour government and many people think this is why he never became Chief of the Defence Staff at a time when the Army was, has and will continue to take the brunt of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By its very nature and the emotions the Armed Forces bring about, troops will always be a political tool. It's just that only rarely do those stories make the front pages and when they do, it's the military which get blamed by the politicians for being irresponsible.

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