Wednesday, June 23, 2010

General Stanley McChrystal

General McChrystal offered his resignation and it was accepted. He was not fired. As a friend notes on another blog where I posted the following as a response, there is a significant difference in the career of a soldier who has done all that was asked of him.

We train these men to be the best soldiers in the world, which is to say the best killers. If we ask a man or a woman to do that, to lead other men and women to do that, then letting them retire with honor is the decent ending for a career.

Still, it seems to me if the goals are to reshape cultures as said, then we should use the means that worked for us when we were being invited to do this instead of kicking the doors in to get one set of guys then hanging around to tell the rest how to live. I can’t think of any examples in our history where the latter strategy has ever worked.

When we have been invited to share, we do quite well. When people come to our country for education and opportunity, we do quite well. When they buy or steal our culture, we do quite well. When we innovate and share our innovations, we do extraordinarily well.

We are a strong and prosperous nation. We have been before this generation, a reliable ally and a fierce protector of the rights of the common man. When we have used our military strength to obtain prosperity, we have always sacrificed the strength of what has made our country great: our belief in ourselves as a good and decent nation. Many great friendships have been made and sustained by acting well and by encouragement, but never by our proseletyzing our way of life and belief. It is by giving of our knowledge and spirit, by fair dinkum as my mates in Oz say, that we prosper as an honorable people.

The honorable soldiers we train to protect that are too blunt a sword to be used to obtain our prosperity or to shape a culture. We train them to protect the walls and we do not dishonor them for the ambiguity into which they are finally placed by a mission that cannot be reconciled to our beliefs but have meaning in protecting life.

I’ll buy him a drink or a meal anytime anywhere.

Meanwhile, let's get the hell out of Afghanistan. We are asking our soldiers to subdue and reshape a culture, not win a war. We are fighting counter-insurgency which is another word for fighting a faction of the indigenous culture while dealing with the next least worse faction than them. We pay them money to not fight each other or fight the faction we're there to kill, but worse, our enemies are paid by our friends whom we gave the money to fight them. If knowing that we ask our soldiers to fight, we're truly frakked. As Hackworth taught, in it to win or out of it.

VietNamization. What? Really? AGAIN???

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