Elkhorn Creek Lodge

McChrystal and The Engineering of His Own Firing

Posted in afghanistan, obama by Eugene Podrazik on June 27, 2010

If any would really care to read the Rolling Stone article, The Runaway General, you’d really be hard-pressed to really come up with a quote that actually crosses the line on the subject of military subordination to civilian control.

The two “smoking guns” were, first an observation that by General McChrystal that Obama seemed “uncomfortable and intimidated.”  Second, was the attribution, to McChrystal, that he was disappointed by a “ten minute photo-op” when met Obama for the command of operations in Afghanistan.

The rest of the article seems to focus on quotes that would be the snide back office comments that occur in any office. Put a bunch of guys in a room and you’re going to get that sort of thing liberally laced with obscenities.  Like your typical Sunday afternoon football game (with the ladies gone).  Indeed, like the Oval Office, where Rahm Emmanual holds forth with the use of the the all  purpose f-word as noun, verb, adjective and adverb.

So, why the article.  Again read the article.  It notes that McChrystal seems to have long mastered the art of “thumbing his nose at authority every chance he got” right from his days at West Point.  Right to the point, but not quite, of almost getting kicked out from West Point.  This skill implies a certain skill in reading your opponent and anticipating that opponents reaction.  Knowing how far to push without stepping over the line.  Or, stepping over the line if that suits your purpose.

Which takes us back to Obama’s 2008 Presidental campaign.  Obama needed to trash Bush and our military involvement in Iraq.  Yet, he needed to demonstrate tough foreign policy resolve by getting America out of the ‘disastrous’ war in Iraq and get involved in the ‘good’ war in Afghanistan.

This was all done with a knowing wink and nod to the liberal MSM and their fellow travellers who realized that this lie was necessary in order to get elected.  Obama never had any attention in seriously prosecuting any war.  God forbid.  It would run contrary to his real purposes of ‘putting America in its place.’  One couldn’t have an actual victory; a real demonstration of American ‘can-do.’  American Exceptionalism runs completely counter to Obama’s narrative.

And, McChrystal realized, once in Afghanistan, that he was expected to lose and take the fall.  Failure was an option; it was the option.  This led to the solution of engineering his own sacking.

McChrystal knew that Rolling Stone would write a hit piece.  Complete with uncensored blue language.  He knew, by allowing Hastings, the author, access to his inner circle to get a ‘feel’ for his people and operations would, instead, result  in quotes.  And, the quotes would be juicy, uncensored, obscene bon mots.  He knew that all of these quotes would be conflated into a Truman-MacArthur Korean controversy.  Above all, quotes that would get laser-like attention from Obama.

McChrystal knew his thin-skinned opponent to a tee.  He knew that the only directly attributable quote about being uncomfortable and intimidated was, alone, going to get presidential attention.  Attention that the oil spill never warranted in Obama’s mind.  Obama’s intimidated, oh boo ho.

The rest of the quotes, all from his aides were gratuitous pilings-on that would only insure McChrystal’s sacking thereby avoiding this adminstration’s now ritual throwing-under-the-bus.

Dining with “some French minster” as being “f–king gay” flies right in the face of Obama military/gay policies.

McChrystal’s posturing about wanting to getting his ass kicked instead of going to that dinner with the French minister was an unintended gift since it so beautifully contrasted with Obama’s quote of looking for “ass to kick” concerning the Gulf oil spill.  The former statement coming from a real man and the latter coming from a man-child trying to look like a man and coming off as a wimp.  Obama saw the contrast and took it personally.

The ploy worked perfectly.  Our preening President took the bait.  New York City could be reduced to nuclear rubble courtesy Iran and Obama wouldn’t care; not beyond his poll numbers.  But, make even the most mild of criticisms of our Dear Leader Obama and, and you’ll be kissing bus tires.

But, Obama’s lies have a way of piling up.  His campaign lies forced him to engage in Afghanistan.  His hiring of McChrystal forced ownership.  Now, he has to turn to General Petraeus, the very man he trash talked in a Senate hearing in September 2007.  The very man, that the then junior Senator from New York, now Secretary of State, called a liar in the same Senate hearing.  The true irony is that Petraeus wrote his ticket and is running the show, not Obama.  Not only does Obama now own Afghanistan, he now must stake his reputation on nothing less than victory.  Move On.org will now make victory in Afghanistan its official position; the Taliban really is evil.

General McChrystal will leave the Army on his pension, spend a few months in Beltway purgatory, then get himself a nice six-figure Beltway consulting job.  He might make it into the cabinet of the next (Republican) Administration if he changes his registration.  And, Rolling Stone did all of his heavy lifting.


BP and the Lack of Presidential Leadership

Posted in uncategorized by Eugene Podrazik on June 4, 2010

Here’s the real agenda over the lack of response over the gulf oil spill.  Here’s Obama in Pittsburgh, last Tuesday, giving a speech on the need to pass legislation to have the nation “kick a dangerous fossil fuel addiction.”  Here’s Obama wanting to eliminate various tax breaks for the exploration for oil and diversion of this money to “clean-energy research.”

Here’s Obama not letting another crisis, the BP oil spill, go to waste.

Here’s Obama showing his ACORN agitator bona fides; unable to demonstrate any understanding on what it takes to be an executive and a leader.  Rather, this is a community activist who knew the potential magnitude of this oil spill and purposely sat on this hands to give it  time to grow.  To grow, so he could demonize BP, the oil industry in general and create a drumbeat of support for the stalled cap-and-tax legislation now stalled in the Senate.

In one sense, it makes no more sense to blame Obama for this oil spill than Bush for Katrina.  But to the extent that Obama planned to use this crisis to push his agenda, this oil spill is now and most completely, Obama’s fault.

This is exactly the type of situation that so demonstrates Obama’s utter lack of executive leadership experience; and his willful refusal to use the last 18 months of his presidency to learn that sorely need skill.  This oil spill is not the result of willful misconduct.  Moreover, it is a problem that the Federal government simply does not have the skill to solve.  Obama is entirely at the mercy of the skills of thousands of engineers and oil field technicians to solve this problem.

But, the executive rarely possesses the intrinsic skills necessary solve many of the problems that challenge the complex organizations that make up many of our governmental and industrial concerns.  Rather, the executive the person that must find and surround himself with people who can provide that intricate and specialized technical information.  Then, that executive must wade through gobs of information and distill that information down to simple, literally yes or no directives.  A decision that clearly points a way, clearly sets very simple and understandable goals.

Then finally, the executive becomes the cheerleader-in-chief.  His job then becomes making the people under him want those same goals.  To create an environment of can-do.  An environment of winning.

But, Obama fumble right from the start.  In his socialist, zero-sum mentality, he saw this oil spill as some sort of convoluted tactical ploy to advance an agenda.  What he should have done was realize, particularly as President, that he is above this agenda and realize that there are situations and crises that require an understanding and solutions that need him to set aside a personal agenda and solve the problem regardless of that agenda.  Prosecuting WW II had little to do with furthering the goals of the New Deal, yet, FDR was wise enough, as of December 8, 1941 to realize that he was now the War President and not the New Deal President.

The directive, on day one, should have been: stop the leak.  Period.  And, to the extent that regulations from myriad federal agencies might stymie such an effort, Obama’s job as to specifically insure that there would be no competing rules, directives or messages.  Or, special approvals or permitting procedures.  In the early days of the spill, the oil could have been contained and burned–greatly reducing the amout of oil that could now spread to various beaches.  The EPA’s squabbling over the choice of dispersant should have been immediately quashed.  Louisania Governor Jindal’s proposal to dredge up berms to protect the coast line should have been acted up within hours instead of three weeks.

Finally, creating a winning team effort is completely in conflict with Interior Secretary’s comment to “keep our boot on their neck.”  I doubt that you will find Dale Carnegie or and subsequent book on leadership recommending such comments to the people you need to create a winning situation.

But, Obama was never a leader.  His whole life was based on spending, usually extorted, other people’s money.  And, it still is.  His life is about creating a win by making someone else, less favored in his mind, lose.  Rather than getting out in front and owning the oil spill in a manner to solve the problem, he sought to allow a crisis to fester for political gain.  Now, he does indeed own the oil spill and it is entirely his fault.