Generals get replaced, American warmongering does not!
Poor Obama! The economy continues in shambles, ‘though often portrayed otherwise, and his war policies/politics share in a similar state of disarray. Yet, many progressives continue hoping for miracles, overlooking the president’s mirages, delaying time and again any demands for the promised change.
But change requires leadership: the possession of strong mental qualities required to get something done; something which in present day America is in short supply. And how do we know such leadership is not being exercised? One such test, according to Arnold Henry Glasow, a wise twentieth-century American humorist, is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency (something absent long ago from the White House). To which I would add a second test when referring to presidential leadership: the ability to choose a cadre of advisers who unequivocally will accept, certainly adopt, the president’s will; and not individuals with personal agendas, no matter how seemingly indispensable, who will advise, even cajole him to carry theirs.
From the outset, as evidenced during his 2008 campaign, this president has given many indications of a ductility common in career politics, but not in the politics of change. Yet, it is change that many of us have been clamoring for; if not from a messiah, at the very least from a prophet, someone to prepare the nation for a political “second coming.” Barack Obama, time after time, is turning out to be a deliverer of centrist palavering and very little else – definitely no messiah, nor a prophet for the arrival of one.
Barack Obama does not get a passing grade, at least not during his seventeen months in office when it comes to problem-solving in the domestic arena, either when tackling the problem economy he inherited, or in taking the appropriate steps for coming up with true and affordable healthcare reform that can be made universally available. And his lack of success domestically is further compounded by the failure in his adopted war.
Yes, the war in Afghanistan is, by his choice, lock, stock, and barrel, his adopted war!
If we revisit Obama’s trip to Afghanistan in June 2008, then as senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, we will find him extending his peace offerings to the brass at the Pentagon – after all, he was on record as having been against the invasion of Iraq – by adopting a more hawkish position in Afghanistan calling for an increase in troop levels… just 2 or 3 brigades was his call then; later to become 30,000 troops. This June 2008 tour-de-force for his presidential campaign, requiring some tête-à-tête with American field officers and Hamid Karzai, gave the would-be president a validation of his adherence to America’s military raison d’etre. His urgent call for more troops for Afghanistan ran in parallel urgency to his need for an imprimatur from the Pentagon.
America appears to need the passing of the baton between commanders-in-chief to have a central focus, a central war, a common enemy that is generally agreed to by much of the citizenry. So Obama adopted that misnamed “war on terror” as his very own. Never mind that more than half of the planet considers us to be the true terrorists, using both weapons of fear and criminal sanctions, and thus exempting ourselves from the need of that last resort act associated with followers of Islam: self-immolation.
The American military-papacy with its see at the Pentagon is way too large to maintain perfect order in its ranks, with almost a thousand star-rank (generals and admirals) princes on active duty. So it should come as no surprise to see a military noble, four-star-general Stanley McChrystal – son of two-star general Herbert McChrystal – enter into a state of self-righteousness which would be judged as apostasy.
So our hard-driving, ascetic man in charge of the conflict in Afghanistan, a man who sleeps for four hours a night, partakes of only one meal a day and runs (daily) at least the longest track event (10,000 meters), finally had no choice but to yield to the civilian feather-merchant mentality. “Mullah McChrystal,” as he had been distinctly known in his theater of operations, at the request of the President – who had himself no alternative but to ask for his resignation, tendered his resignation.
General Petraeus will soon be confirmed as McChrystal’s replacement to run Obama’s war in Afghanistan. And, soldiering expertise aside, he will continue representing the idiocy that is America’s military presence in the region. No matter how many more troops we send to push away the influence of the Taliban, Americans will fare no better in Kandahar and Helmand than they have recently in the unincorporated agricultural district of Marjah (Helmand province).
It is an ominous sign for all of us in America to recognize that generals can be easily replaced but the warmongering robot that is the Pentagon has been programmed long ago to serve the needs of that “military-industrial” monster. Every president or candidate to the presidency of the United States must consent to that reality… and Obama does not appear to wish to become a sacrificial lamb.
© 2010 Ben Tanosborn
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