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McChrystal Teetering Towards Insubordination?

resized-k4ick.jpgWhile last week saw the “leak” of General Stanley McChrystal’s plan for Afghanistan which reads mighty close to a “do it my way or else” line, this week saw another “leak” from the McChrystal’s camp suggesting both that it will take 500,000 total boots on the ground and many years to “win” in Afghanistan – and the latest leak that he wants an added 40,000 US troops in the near term even though the administration has made it clear that no such requests will be considered until President Obama completes his deliberations on the strategy.

Of course — just coincidentally mind you — several Republican Senators were queued up to go on the various Sunday shows to demand that the latest wishes of the Generals not only get a hearing by the Commander in Chief but “that Obama should do what the generals want him to do.”

I have no idea whether Gen. McChrystal himself is authorising these “leaks’ but it’s clear from Nancy Yousef’s reporting for McClatchy that his staff in Afghanistan is part of the team putting pressure on the Commander in Chief  – and I find it hard to believe that McChrystal would not or could not rein them in if he wanted a stop to the leaks and threats that he might resign if he doesn’t get his way.

Now we have McChrystal himself on Sixty Minutes apparently complaining that he is not getting what he wants fast enough. Sixty Minutes has not yet aired here but an AFP advance article quotes the General as saying:

The commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan bitterly complained in an interview Sunday about the Pentagon bureaucracy that he said was hampering his efforts to fight insurgents.

In a profile on CBS television’s "60 minutes," General Stanley McChrystal said he faced pressure to move quickly from Defense Secretary Robert Gates while the Pentagon had moved slowly to get officers assigned to his staff.

"The secretary talks in terms of 12 to 18 months to show a significant change and then we eat up two or three months just on sort of getting the tools out of the tool box," McChrystal said, according to a transcript of the show to air later Sunday.

"That really hurts," said McChrystal, shown in a video conference with the Pentagon…

"The average organization when someone asks when you want something, they pull out a calendar," he said.
"But in a good organization, they look at their watch and we really got to get that way."

Again interesting timing on the part of McChrystal and his camp given that just today Jake Tapper had the following on his twitter feed:

RNC just sent out a hit email on Defense Secy Gates — who served in admins of both Bush Sr and Jr. interesting.

In a  Seminal diary today, “An Incitement to Mutiny” markfromireland pointed to an important post by Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis in which Lang notes:

Bond spoke strongly in favor of having Generals McChrystal and Petraeus explain to Congress what their opinion is (as opposed to the opinion of the president/commander in chief) as to what the policy and strategy of the United States should be.

This is actually an incitement to mutiny.

As he noted, Lang is a highly experienced military officer and a consistently valuable analyst of mlitary and foreign policy affairs. Here’s Lang in an earlier piece on McChrystal’s ‘leaked” report:

This paper presents the president with only one option on a "take it or leave it" basis.  I realize that Stanley M. is a subordinate theater commander and a full general but he is still the president’s subordinate and he serves at the pleasure of the president/commander in chief.  In all the Army schools that I attended (Infantry Officer Basic Course to the US Army War College), it was more or less customary to present the commander with several options in the way of "courses of action."  If you do not do that then you are clearly seeking to limit the freedom of action of the commander.  This is insubordinate in spirit.

With the president’s advisors split on the correct course ahead:

Colin Powell, the former secretary of state and top military officer, has told Obama he is skeptical about deploying more troops without a more clearly defined mission, the  [New York] Times wrote, citing unnamed sources. Vice President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser James Jones, a retired general, are among those skeptical of a major troop increase, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Richard Holbrooke, the US representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, have a more hawkish stance, the paper said.

this intensive McChrystal media and leak campaign to pressure the Commander in Chief to do it his way is starting to look awfully close to  insubordination in fact.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com