Thursday, June 24, 2010

The McChrystal 'Resignation', in Perspective

The recent 'firing/resignation' of General McChrystal from his Post in Afghanistan has raised a flurry of commentary from both the right and left along with a boat load of speculation. Both sides have provided ideologically skewed versions of the events of that past three days and the relationships of the players. To start with; Obama, Petraeus and McChrystal are all linked ideologically. They also have a vested interest in the continued use of COIN doctrine. President Obama because of his penchant for protecting the Muslim peoples of the world, Petraeus as the modern day 'architect' of COIN warfare and McChrystal as, well, the philosoph who placed his career and his men in the petri dish with COIN.

The vast majority of the speculation is then steeped in this skewed understanding of the players and a continued misunderstanding of the conditions on the ground. The vast majority of the commentators have accepted the doctrine of COIN as an immutable truth and a girdle for any military incursion envisioned for this generation. There have been very few voices who have dared question the efficacy of this strategy either in history or in these current conflicts. The reason; poor to zero education in history or the history of military effort.

The questions being asked reveal an unnecessary concern for those who believe that a war cannot be fought without the acronym COIN attached near the top of the order. General Petraeus was initially accredited with the success in Al Anbar Province largely due to his re-mastering the strategy there during the 'surge'. For those of you joining us for the first time; I believe the actual reason for the success in Al Anbar had a lot more to do with troop saturation and a determination to kill the enemy than it had to do with introducing a new attempt at an old strategy. Remember; COIN has been with us since the days of the 'Banana Wars'. It's first formal introduction to the world was in the form of the 'Small Wars Manual' of 1940. Since then every single attempt at conducting combat operations through that prism has seen mixed results - at best.

The decision to introduce COIN on the fields of Afghanistan may have been discussed at an earlier date but it is clear that it didn't become the law of the land until June 2009 when this sitting President replaced General McKiernan with General McChrystal. General McChrystal is not only a strong proponent of COIN, but an ideological brother to President Obama. For those who might not follow; he is a Democrat, voted for Obama and clearly shares his 'world vision'. That is a problem when you have sworn an oath to this country and our Constitution for the two are diametrically opposed. You cannot hold the concerns for a world government and the security of this nation as equal. Neither can you cannot expect efforts to secure the borders, people and originating ideals of this country to be effective while trying to mitigate losses for the enemy.

COIN was determined to be the strategy of choice in Afghanistan, largely due to an unbalanced concern for the Afghan people. Anyone who believes that castrating our military might in this country in an effort to preserve life in Afghanistan is somehow beneficial to this country is confused. The Constitution defines it as sedition.

In any case, the fact is General Petraeus is not only a true believer in COIN, he is also, apparently, ideologically linked to Obama and McChrystal. If he then shares this world vision, it necessarily takes precedence over matters of US national security. Is this hard to hear? Most obvious truth is. There is absolutely nothing in Afghanistan or any Islamic theocracy that would even suggest, catering to the well-being of their people over the well being of our troops would then benefit this country or our security interests. Only a dreamer or someone with zero historical perspective would dare think otherwise. So some other factors must be at work.

The fact is there has to be an underlying reason for someone to gamble with the security of our nation and the well being of our troops. It certainly isn't because there is any historical evidence that fighting within the construct of COIN has proven to be effective. That reason is an ideological bent toward something other than an American success on the battle field with a specific intent to secure the borders of this country. And in that; President Obama, General Petraeus and General McChrystal are inexorably linked. If they aren't; where is all of the press showing either Petraeus or McChrystal counseling the President to take a stronger hand in Afghanistan, to end it, in our favor?

I fully expect to hear a lot more Monday morning quarterbacking from those with nothing to lose, little military experience, little military interest, no specific knowledge of COIN, an Islamic history provided by the Muslim Brotherhood and a penchant for drama. I'm sure it's great for ratings and ratings translate into wealth in the world of media. In the meantime; our Warriors are stuck in the sands of Afghanistan led by people serving their two masters.

Semper Fidelis;

John Bernard