Skip to main content

As we hear more of the breathless fallout over the McChrystal interview and his staff's foot-in-mouth, you might want to keep in mind the following fact: McChrystal was given the chance to voice objections to the controversial parts of the Rolling Stone article in which drunken aides were quoted, but he signed off anyway. reports:

"Eric Bates, the magazine’s editor, said during an interview on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" that McChrystal was informed of the quotes prior to its publication as part of Rolling Stone's standard fact-checking process — and that the general did not object to or dispute any of the reporting.  Asked if McChrystal pushed back on the story, Bates responded: "No, absolutely not."  "We ran everything by them in the fact-checking process as we always do," the Rolling Stone editor said.

McChrytal then offered his resignation before Obama ever asked for it, and headed for the White House after being summoned by the reportedly "angry" president.

Wait a minute, Let me get this straight.  McChrystal was given the chance to voice objections to his aides' "shitfaced" comments but didn't say, "uh, these guys were drunk.  I know you are a fair publication so can some of this be off the record?"  Other comments made during the now famous bus ride were made after agreement that they be off the record, so the situation would have called for cutting a little slack, at least as far as the "gotchas."

Now it sounds as if it may have been more like: "hey, you forgot the good one about "bite me.""

So what's really going on here?  Are we to believe the explosiveness of these remarks would have escaped someone who has risen to the top of an organization known for some of the most vicious political infighting in the world? What did McChrystal apologize for?  For staff making the remarks?  Or for him approving them? It is interesting that the aides are never associated by name for their remarks, thus shielding them from an Article 88.  

The popular narrative of the party boys getting all chummy with the ruthless reporter they shouldn't have trusted in the first place, then waking up with headaches to see their boss being summoned by the president, falls apart.

Which leaves us with the possibility that this is a show made for the lunkheads in Peoria, to borrow from Mark Twain. I've been had.  I was getting caught up in all this civilian versus military control stuff too.  It precedes an impending vote on war funding which is making the politicians nervous, judging by how long it is taking them to take the vote. Retiring Chairman of the key House Appropriations Committee David Obey has so far kept the funds bottled up, and is starting to look like the anti-war tactician he began his career as, when he came into Congress as an anti-Vietnam War maverick.   It's in the Appropriations Committee's hands now.  (House Appropriations Committee Members)

The bill is laced with many crucial and necessary funds for good program, what peace activists call the "lipstick on the pig" gambit.   The good things need to be separated into another bill, so the war in Afghanistan can get a clean up-or-down vote.  

The mime lays bare what should be clear to most people by now: the policy in Afghanistan is there ain't no policy, except to keep it going.
 Fewer civilian casualties?  More American casualties.  More firepower and more civilian casualties?  More hatred, more Taliban.  As Cindy Sheehan, who first noticed the McChrystal contradiction, writes, the little play we just witnessed is an admission that the war is officially "FUBAR."

FUBAR: Military slang for: Fu#ked Up Beyond All/Any Repair/Recognition. FUBAR also has a close military acronym: SNAFU: Situation Normal All Fu#ked Up."

MacBeth, er, McChrystal, the Movie, was along the lines of a considered strategy called "Somebody do something!"  It goes: "Somebody do something!" -- "What?" -- "ANYTHING! We've got a war vote coming up and it's got to look like something's happening!"  

Think our august chamber of Congress couldn't possibly be this vacuous, this shallow when the lives of young Americans hang in the balance?  Not to mention thousands of Afghans, not to mention hundred upon hundreds of billions of your tax dollars which could be used for something else?  The same people who are itching to approve war funding just turned down an extension of unemployment benefits.  

Nope.  Where that money is going is fittin' and proper.  Into the hands of Halliburton and Dyncorp, Xe-Blackwater and General Dynamics, who all pony up quite nicely at election time, thank you.

Sheehan writes:

"All of this posturing and speechifying is nothing but a distraction from the fact that our economy is FUBAR, the Gulf of Mexico is FUBAR, the wars are FUBAR..."

All for a war, people now realize, which could be won for the cost of a few months of military spending in the beginning, for carefully-targeted, Afghan-led jobs and development programs.  This takes advantage of the fact that almost nobody in Afghanistan really wants to fight, or even likes the Taliban.  But if you plop a bunch of foreigners in those foreigner-type uniforms in the middle of a valley, by gosh, they just wouldn't be Afghans if they didn't take a few shots.  Nothing personal.

It is no exaggeration: some remote Afghans have been quoted as asking "which ones are those?" of soldiers in the distance.  Not as in -- are those Dutch or Americans?  But as in, I thought the Russians were gone. British?  They're still here?  I thought we threw them out.

The official policy for Afghanistan is to keep the money flowing no matter what is happening.  That's as much of a policy as there is.
This has nothing to do with COIN, COUNT or anything of the kind.  This has to do with $$$$.  The McChrystal fiasco was theater because the war is theater, a very deadly kind.  The good guys against the bad guys in the fourth poorest country in the world where anyone will fight for whomever pays.  

The fear that if we withdraw, there will be civil war, instability, and possibly a Taliban takeover, is overblown.   What this neglects is the lingering hatred of the Taliban, even among ordinary Pashtuns.  But young men will fight for the ten-dollar-a-day wage in the vacuum of 40 percent unemployment and widespread hunger.  The UN estimates 35% of Afghans are malnourished as well as 40% of children.  Yes, the local Taliban also serves as an outlet for expressing traditional Afghan dislike for foreign occupation.

Unlike in 1992, Afghans are weary to death of war.  Targeted, cash-for-work jobs programs, countrywide, for a couple of years, building basic infrastructure would make warlords irrelevant, as young men drift away and seek to feed their families in less risky ways.  We don't do nation-building?  Too expensive?  We've already spent $250 billion on military operations in a country whose entire GDP is $12 billion a year.  

Most Afghans want both sons and daughters to learn to read.  There are many areas of Afghanistan, such as in the north, where security is far less of a problem.  Wouldn't you know it?  These are the areas that are most ignored for jobs and development, since that would be addressing a problem before it arose, instead of after.  Farsightedness has never been one of the strong points of American foreign policy.  

For whatever the true reasons for the 2001 invasion, whether to fight Al Qaeda or to monopolize an oil pipeline, troops could have been on their way out by now, and stability assured, had the U.S. come through on even a fraction of the assistance it has been promising since Zbigniew Bzrezenski first salivated at the chance to draw the Soviets into "their own Vietnam."  Instead, the assistance has gone to foreign contractors who keep half the money in profits, even though other conduits are now available.

The diversion is important, but we need to tell Congress that it didn't work.  At this moment there are thousands upon thousands of unemployed men lining the street corners in Kabul, the most secure city, still waiting for Western promises to be kept.  The vehicles for Afghan-led development, budding Afghan institutions, and civil society actors independent of the Karzai government, consisting of honest and dedicated technocrats who will be doing the work long after the Karzai and other governments have come and gone, are now in place.  We should insist that Congress deny the Pentagon funding for anything but orderly withdrawal, the way the Vietnam War was ended, and carefully targeted civilian assistance.  This kind of peace plan would cost far less than 10% of what we dump into military operations, year after year, to no avail.  Jobs and development for ordinary Afghans which will put an end to this murderous theater.  No more war for these people, just help.  Amen.

To see how your congressman has indicated he or she would vote if the war funding bill is released from committee, go to's WHIP WARS.

Originally posted to Ralph Lopez on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 11:18 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  There are new characterizations (4+ / 0-)

    of the General that seem to conflict with the rock solid, deadly serious, and meticulous image he was given in the days after the article was released.

    Some are now saying he was an upstart, a loose cannon, and a knee jerker putting his men at risk.  If that's the case, it would be easy to see why he would have thought his words might be recieved with fist pumps and hoots.

    (Metaphorically speaking) not only did he COMMAND a bus full of undisclipined farting boys, he was one of them.

    Catholic Church: Example of Religion thats TOO BIG TO FAIL

    by Detroit Mark on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 11:23:20 AM PDT

  •  a very interesting, thought provoking (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lcrp, corvo, Involuntary Exile, miss SPED

    and well written diary.  Thanks

  •  McChrystal: "Better to burn out, than fade away" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tikkun, miss SPED
  •  Interesting link focusing on the vote for those (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Involuntary Exile, miss SPED

    who support the wars and war supplementals.  It's not getting enough discussion, the issue of whether to vote for a democrat who supports them.  Which would indicate most will continue to vote for them. That's a shame.

    "I will no longer be labeled, except as a human being."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 11:40:47 AM PDT

  •  I Don't Think He Saw the DRAFT (3+ / 0-)

    This quote and a reporter Tweety was interviewing did agree that the QUOTES were run by him and otherwise verified, but I'm pretty sure the article itself wasn't given to them, according to the Tweety interview I heard.

    Don't know if that makes any difference.

    But as far as it being intentional, well McChrystal did issue a press statement response after Obama's announcement that referenced the policies, which I think is a pretty interesting act for a guy who's just been more or less fired publicly.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 11:49:16 AM PDT

    •  That's pretty much what I was going to say. (0+ / 0-)

      Subjects don't get to read the "final draft." They just get their own quotes read back to verify or correct (or deny), and that's only if it's a person of certain rank or influence who doesn't regularly do interviews, such as a reclusive author you don't want to ruin your access to for a potential longer book gig, or maybe Oprah Winfrey.

      I was a newspaper reporter and magazine journalist for a while and have been in the editorial business all my working life. Almost nobody gets to read the final draft. Not unless it's a positive PR story or advertiser puff piece and not actual journalism.

      I've often verified quotes -- but not always -- and never let anyone but my editors and copy editors read a completed piece before it was published.

      That's not journalism -- especially not journalism as practiced by Rolling Stone.

      "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

      by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 02:05:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I started out thinking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Involuntary Exile, Amayi

    that the General's deliberate career self-destruction was done to get a RW teevee gig or to run for President next go-round.

    But the more I read about this general, the more I realized how unelectable he is. If the skeletons in McChrystal's closet reach the light of day, I wonder if even his mother or his wife would vote for him.

    "No Blood, No Foul." Now do the American people really want the next CiC to be one whose political life is consumed by torture and Tillman? Does Special Ops really want the spotlight?

    Can't wait for Hastings' sequel articles.

    •  career destruction or playing ball? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      miss SPED

      I know this is a serious charge but he has some 'splaining to do.  The policy analysis parts of the article are off-limits and the reporters' sole judgement, but the gotchas, with alcohol involved and soldiers coming out of a combat zone?  If I were McChrystal I would have said MY GOD YOU CAN'T PRINT THAT PLEEZE WAAH!  

      Surely Hastings would know to run remarks obtained in this context would mean he'd never get another interview higher than dog-catcher (unless he was told, 'really, it's ok.')

  •  People (2+ / 0-)

    get promoted beyond their capacity.  Known as the Peter Principle.  

    Power goes to people's head, and clouds their judgment.

    No conspiracy theories necessary.

    Master's degreed tri-lingual professional looking for work. Email in profile.

    by pvlb on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 12:04:51 PM PDT

  •  I don't think so... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Involuntary Exile, miss SPED, PhilJD

    ... I think he just thought he was untouchable.  So did Icarus.

    •  He didn't give the WH a heads up either. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Even though McPistol knew this was coming out for a week, he never notified the Administration.

      Intentional blindside with the planned result of the "great man" Petraeus, now unfirable, in the driver's seat.

      "Capitalism is irresponsibility organized into a system." -- Emil Brunner

      by goinsouth on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 12:11:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rec'd, for being thought-provoking (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miss SPED

    and coherent. Extra credit for

    British?  They're still here?  I thought we threw them out.

    I can't quite buy it though. I think this is exactly what it appears to be: Tough-guy soldier vs. "wimpy" civilian President, would would never dare take him to task.


    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 12:14:42 PM PDT

  •  Well, I got reamed once, so I'll post it again (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    buckstop, miss SPED

    McChrystal has played this one masterfully!

    It alarms and saddens me that in lockstep unison, the chattering punditocracy ascribes McChrystal's "fall" to a "lack of political sophistication." Look, the guy's entire field of expertise is in counterinsurgency – he's been studying deception, misinformation, psychological manipulation his entire career – psyops is his field of expertise. On Charlie Rose's show, the editor of Rolling Stone was adamant that they checked the most controversial of the aides' quotes with McChrystal himself – he knew exactly what was being published, and he put it there for his own reasons.

    All you have to do is look at it from McChrystal's point of view - Afghanistan has absolutely, inevitably got to blow up into a unwinnable, untenable disaster – installing a democratic government where tribesmen are all going to obediently  line up to get their voter registration cards to vote in their school board candidates and debate about garbage pick-ups? Christ on a biscuit with gravy. And, there is NO ONE in a better position to know just how hopeless this idiotic affair is than General McChrystal.

    He HAD to have looked around and asked himself, "Where do I want to be in a couple of years?" Either he's left there holding the bag - when the bag explodes spewing shit all over everyone associated with this horrible farce of "nation-building", in which case he goes down scapegoated in history as "the general who LOST the Afghanistan War." A war that has been doomed ever since 2003 when we yanked out the A-team to go fart around in Iraq.  Or, he figures out a way to bail out completely, but - WITHOUT being a "quitter," without being the coward who "cut and ran."

    So – will he be "the Quitter?" Or will he be "the Loser?" Hell, no, he'll be the FOX network "senior military analyst" who will have predicted the whole exploding bag of shit, he'll be the military genius who signs a million-dollar book contract and releases a book titled "I Told You So" in the summer of 2010, explaining how Obama fired his ass just as he was on the verge of winning the war. No, but of course he's not bitter, he wouldn't dream of trying to fuck up Obama's re-election... sigh. You guys are so-oo fucking innocent.

    (Addendum: you don't fact-check "drunken-steam" quotes, and then agree to print them all - McChrystal approved his own aide's quotes... this was calculatingly-placed, kids. Just have to wait and see where Mac's working in 2012, huh?)

    After all this time, I'm still the only one who's cynical about what government & military guys say and do.

    If you can't be a good example, at least be a horrible warning.

    by David Mason on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 12:17:54 PM PDT

    •  There's much truth in what you say. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I agree that this wasn't accidental, McChrystal is not politically naive, and no way was he going out as a loser or a quitter.

      Fox may offer him a big gig, true dat.  lol or CNN.

      All I am saying, McChrystal spent a long time as the Pope. He never allowed the Red Cross into Nama. If you remember how the American public reacted to Abu Ghraib torture, I can imagine how the citizenry would react to an up close and personal inspection of McChrystal's Special Operations background.  As it is now we don't know and maybe we don't want to know.
      Who the hell is stanley mcchrystal?

      Even Ollie North didn't have 'Elite Killer' as his caption...

    •  Maybe Mc's got a new gig? (0+ / 0-)

      I hear Xe (aka Blackwater) may need a new CEO.


    •  What he didn't count on (0+ / 0-)

      was Petraeus accepting a technical demotion to pull this shit out of the can.

      Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

      by MrMichaelMT on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 01:42:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  He could have been fired on the spot, but (0+ / 0-)

    because this was Obama and not Bush, he had the opportunity to resign.

    My personal thoughts are that the man lost his marbles.

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 12:30:44 PM PDT

  •  Is "Morning Joe" the only show people watch? (0+ / 0-)
    The R.S. editor was on Charlie Rose Show on Wed. night saying the same thing.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 01:06:35 PM PDT

    •  S and M usually pay per view (0+ / 0-)

      Morning Joe  S and M slightly cleaner but free...usually included with some cable deal.

      Also the only thing on except for infomercials...and they have some interesting people on...if you can get past the S&M.

      Kill yer tv....that's my advice.

      Does this rec make my head look fat?

      by KenBee on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 01:38:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a function of the wine... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...I have with Rachel every evening. Get too sleepy to change the channel for morning.

        But you are ABSOLUTELY right about the S and M. Joe is a pervert, and she loves it.

        Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

        by MrMichaelMT on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 01:43:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My guess is (0+ / 0-)

    that McChrystal represents a faction of the entrenched military that truly believes they are in control, and truly believes that our civilian government are wimps. He believes that Obama is a kid, and never dreamed it would end this way.

    Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur.

    by MrMichaelMT on Fri Jun 25, 2010 at 01:40:48 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site