Eikenberry & McChrystal: Beyond Atmospherics

With respect to my colleagues, I don’t really get the point of emphasizing the show of unity that Gen. McChrystal and Amb. Eikenberry put forward at yesterday’s hearings. Yes, there were those leaked cables from Eikenberry expressing doubt about a troop increase; and yes, they addressed that; and yes, that’s newsworthy. But is it really the most important aspect of the hearings? I put the unity stuff in separate posts — because Internet-Enabled Modular Journalism enables me to do that — and then at the bottom of my wrap.

What’s more, if you’re going to write about the unity, write about what it’s for. It doesn’t matter if McChrystal and Eikenberry are best friends or bitter enemies. What matters is that military and civilian efforts in Afghanistan are appropriately planned, choreographed and executed with sufficient integration and balance. The personal relationship is a means, not an end. I accept responsibility for not explaining that sufficiently well in my wrap, and throughout the day as well.

I always had a problem in hardcore with the fetishization of unity. Unity gets you somewhere but it’s not a destination itself, I figured. In my old age I’ve softened that position — if you’re united, that should help you get consensus on your mutual goals for their implementation; and there are worse things to shoot for than unity for its own sake. And I guess this undermines my point above. But fuck it, I’m reading Burning Fight right now and hardcore is on my mind.

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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman