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December 05, 2009

Unprecedented Incompetence at the White House: The Administration Didn't Even Know What It Had Ordered Gen. McChrystal To Do

There was a "whoa moment":

By early October, it was clear that a process initially envisioned to last a few weeks would take much longer. McChrystal had assessed that the worsening situation in Afghanistan could be turned around only by a full commitment to protecting the Afghan people and building up the government, with massive new U.S. resources over many years. But the commander himself had still not had the opportunity to formally explain his position to them.

His chance came at an Oct. 8 meeting of Obama's principal advisers, presided over by [National Security Adviser James L.] Jones -- the "dress rehearsal" for a full-scale National Security Council gathering the president would hold the following day. Speaking by video link from Kabul, McChrystal began with the policy underlying his approach, established by the White House review hastily compiled in February that led to Obama's March 27 strategy announcement and the deployment of nearly 22,000 new troops over the spring and summer.

In June, McChrystal noted, he had arrived in Afghanistan and set about fulfilling his assignment. His lean face, hovering on the screen at the end of the table, was replaced by a mission statement on a PowerPoint slide: "Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population."

"Is that really what you think your mission is?" one of the participants asked.

In the first place, it was impossible -- the Taliban were part of the fabric of the Pashtun belt of southern Afghanistan, culturally if not ideologically supported by a major part of the population. "We don't need to do that," Gates said, according to one participant. "That's an open-ended, forever commitment."

But that was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan -- the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.

"I wouldn't say there was quite a 'whoa' moment," a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. "It was just sort of a recognition that, 'Duh, that's what in effect the commander understands he's been told to do.' Everybody said, 'He's right.'"

Well, not everybody. NSA Jones' excuse for not even knowing what McChrystal had been ordered to do manages to demonstrate his own low-functioning retardation:

"It was clear that Stan took a very literal interpretation of the intent" of the NSC document, said Jones, who had signed the orders himself. "I'm not sure that in his position I wouldn't have done the same thing, as a military commander."

That's General Stan to you, spaz.

The problem with these Obama folks is that they're so naive, so irreducibly ignorant of anything other than the inside of a classroom, they don't realize that when you give the U.S. armed forces a mission, they actually try to get it done.

What is this bullshit? "Oh, I told him to kill the Taliban, but I didn't think he'd take it so literally." What. The. Fuck.

What could it possibly have meant except "kill the Taliban." I mean, with Obama, you never know, maybe he meant "hug the Taliban." But he wouldn't use the military for that, he'd go himself, right?

This is the college professor excuse. Nothing is meant "literally" in academia. Obama wanted McChrystal to interpret he was really supposed to do. I suspect a proper interpretation of "Kill the Taliban" would have been "hide" and "please don't make me look bad in front of cameras."

Of course, NSA Jones doesn't have that excuse. He's a retired general and should, therefore, have known better.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 08:54 PM

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