quote:Originally posted by TommySama: "Yeesh. We can't even decide if we're winning or losing. In fact, we can't even decide what winning or losing looks like."
I finally figured out why McChrystal would let himself say those things in front of a reporter. He realized that if he is retired from the military, Obama will hire him back as a private contractor at three times his old pay.
I know you are just being sarcastic, but that's probably what will have to happen. When Patreaus was in charge the first time, it was McCrystal and his staff that had his back in the field.
I don't like this kind of reporting. It served no purpose but to embarrass the president, and ruin the career of a brilliant general. Tom, if this reporter is the best you guys got... I will take liberty with Shakespeare.
quote:As Dick utters the famous words “first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” he was referring to ways that the rebellion might be successful. They recognized that to succeed, they must get rid of those who knew and enforced a system of laws. They did not want any learned and informed opposition to the rebellion they had planned against the government. This makes sense. If you are tempted to create anarchy through rebellion, the first objectives will be to get rid of legal process, individual rights, and the truth. The members of the rebellion realized it would be the lawyers that would stand up and identify how individual rights were being abused and due process was not being afforded. It was the lawyers who would recognize that rebellion sought to take away freedoms rather than grant them.
quote:I know you are just being sarcastic, but that's probably what will have to happen. When Patreaus was in charge the first time, it was McCrystal and his staff that had his back in the field.
I don't like this kind of reporting. It served no purpose but to embarrass the president, and ruin the career of a brilliant general.
I don't see why it would embarrass the President except in his choice of running mate.
As to a brilliant general - is he? I don't mean that disparagingly, but I'm curious how that determination is made. While it seems he was brilliant in his leadership of lesser rank, I really don't see anything to suggest brilliance in his performance as a general.
It was unfortunate that the reporter included the parts that led to his dismissal, the story is quite interesting and well written. It certainly shows him as smart, hardworking, and a great leader, but also suggests that his plan is not working and is unlikely to work.
quote:I don't see why it would embarrass the President except in his choice of running mate.
I would say this quote was embarrassing:
"The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked "uncomfortable and intimidated" by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn't go much better. "It was a 10-minute photo op," says an adviser to McChrystal."
Obama often has to fight criticism that he is too inexperienced for the job of executive chief.
I think the fact that this article brought the war front and center again probably worries the President the most. Last month's death toll was the worse since the beginning of the war, and this month surpassed that. But we weren't paying attention as a nation, and if Obama could just get through to the November elections without us paying attention, even better.
quote:It was unfortunate that the reporter included the parts that led to his dismissal, the story is quite interesting and well written. It certainly shows him as smart, hardworking, and a great leader, but also suggests that his plan is not working and is unlikely to work.
You work with with what you got. Obama is at the helm. I thought that was the point.
quote:Tom, if this reporter is the best you guys got....
Didn't you state you also had worked as a reporter when you were applauding this snake-in-the-grass-Judas-Hastings as one of the 'best' reporters of today? Or was that someone else? If it was, my apologies. Or, did you mean like he is the best reporter today, as in fifteen- minutes-of-fame category?
I also find it bewildering that no one knows who was paying the tab for this PR aide for McCrystal. The Pentagon? CENTCOM? Where are the reporters now to ask the questions? Why on earth would this aide set the General up with Rolling Stones? And would he have to run it by someone else, since he wasn't on the General's staff?
And how do I get a PR job like that? I could have done it better. One quick google on Hastings and it would have been a big, fat NO THANK-YOU.
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quote:Obama often has to fight criticism that he is too inexperienced for the job of executive chief.
While that was a talking point during the elections, I've not heard any particular claims or discussion since the elections.
quote: think the fact that this article brought the war front and center again probably worries the President the most. Last month's death toll was the worse since the beginning of the war, and this month surpassed that. But we weren't paying attention as a nation, and if Obama could just get through to the November elections without us paying attention, even better.
The only thing that credibly could have been done different is he should have pulled the troops home and cut our losses. Fighting wars already lost by the Bush Administration is a losing proposition.
quote:You work with with what you got. Obama is at the helm. I thought that was the point.
Actually the problems pointed out were those with the Generals strategy not with the Administration.
The strategy that he favors is wholly dependent on a strong and respected central government, which the Afghanistan government isn't. Without that key piece the rest of the strategy can't be executed. He attempted to bolster the publics opinion of the government by doing appearances with him etc, to essentially no effect (see the article). Thus he picked a failed strategy.
quote:I also find it bewildering that no one knows who was paying the tab for this PR aide for McCrystal. The Pentagon? CENTCOM? Where are the reporters now to ask the questions? Why on earth would this aide set the General up with Rolling Stones? And would he have to run it by someone else, since he wasn't on the General's staff?
The Pentagon has historically been hiring press aides for Generals. This particular press aide had been passed to McChrystal from another officer.
The set up with Rolling Stone was most likely the same reason most press access is granted - to gain positive publicity in order to convince the public to keep giving hundereds of billions of dollars for a war during major domestic economic issues.
Also as noted in the article we have lost all of our allys in Afgahnistan with the rest of the world having realized a long time ago that we made a massive strategic blunder 9 years ago - running off to Iraq instead of finishing the job in Afghanistan, and now it is too late to reverse it.
quote: And would he have to run it by someone else, since he wasn't on the General's staff?
quote:And how do I get a PR job like that? I could have done it better. One quick google on Hastings and it would have been a big, fat NO THANK-YOU.
If the General had been more discrete then he probably would be a net beneficiary from the article rather than having it blow up on him. It isn't like a PR guy should expect a General and his staff to commit firable offenses and take that into consideration when choosing interviewers.
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quote: The strategy that he favors is wholly dependent on a strong and respected central government, which the Afghanistan government isn't. Without that key piece the rest of the strategy can't be executed
Actually, in reading the Jonathan Alter book on Obama's first year in office, during their three months of deliberations they realized that the centralize government of Afghanistan was terribly flawed, perhaps critically so. The current strategy includes separate outreach to the different ethnic groups in the various provinces without the involvement of the central government. They realized that the chances of success were less than 50/50, but the alternate that was driving their decision is growing Taliban strength in Pakistan and the risk that the Pakistani nuclear weapons could fall into the control of the Taliban (their growing influence in Pakistani government was considered the biggest risk). This results in the need to have Pakistan aggressively resist the Taliban, and that's what drives the American presence in Afghanistan.
Posts: 4178 | Registered: Dec 2006
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quote:Originally posted by TomDavidson: But I wonder why reporters are "you guys" instead of, say, "fellow Americans."
That's a good question Tom, it really is, and it needs to be asked. I'd also love to know exactly when reporters began referring to the green machine as "the army" instead of "our army." It would be wonderful if everybody was on the same team.
Basically, I think some reporters don't like the military, and I think some citizens don't like reporters. C'est la vie.
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quote: I don't think there will be any appreciable response. I think a few of the ex-military guys, especially the ones who went into journalism after the Army, will whine a bit, but most journalists are going to recognize that Hastings Got The Story; they respect that.
Tom, out of curiosity, do journalists have a code of ethics, and does that code of ethics ever limit what they are willing to report based on other criteria beside "getting the story"?
It seems to me that this "story" (or at least the parts of it that mattered) didn't really illuminate the public or reveal any great truth to anyone, but it did result in a seemingly competent general being forced to resign in disgrace. Basically, the story destroyed this man's career, although obviously he was highly complicit in his own demise.
Now would a journalist who happened to agree with me on the above points have any ethical problem with running the story? Could a journalist make the decision to refrain from reporting certain damaging or inflammatory facts out of a sense of ethics? Or would that in of itself violate a journalist's professional ethics? (like a lawyer betraying a guilty client)
Are there any journalists who would think that Hastings shouldn't have run this story, or should have censored the story to avoid destroying this man's career?
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quote:Now would a journalist who happened to agree with me on the above points have any ethical problem with running the story?
A journalist who didn't think it revealed any truth or accomplish any other good, but merely destroyed someone's career for no valid reason, would probably sit on it if he were an ethical person. While not all journalists are ethical, there is no single ethical standard to which journalists as a body are held; unlike, say, the Bar, there is no formal certifying body for journalism.
It's worth noting that I can't think of a journalist offhand who wouldn't think this was a story worth reporting, however.
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Isn't it interesting that, through Robert Gibbs, Obama says that he doesn't think McChrystal is "mature" or "capable", when the person who really isn't mature or capable is ... Obama? Could he be projecting?
(Sorry. I heard Monica Crowley say this on the radio.)
Posts: 1966 | Registered: Nov 2003
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While this journalist may have violated common ethical guidelines, the editors of Rolling Stone decided to print what he wrote, so they bear the major responsibility for what happened. It is the nature of things that writers tend to think what they have created is wonderful, but editors are supposed to have a more balanced viewpoint, and over the years many stories have been killed because the harm they would do exceeded their legitimate news interest. In this case Rolling Stone decided to print a story which would probably destroy the career of the senior commander in Afghanistan, and probably create uncertainty which might lead to the deaths of some American soldiers. That is not necessarily wrong, as if McChrystal was the wrong man for the job because of his rather public disagreements with others responsible for carrying out policy in Afghanistan, he deserved to be replaced. But the management of Rolling Stone decided to incur that responsibility, and not the man who wrote the story. And they need not have scrapped the copy altogether, as they could have rewritten it without the completely unacceptable quotes, which more or less forced Obama to ask the general to resign.
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quote:General Stanley McChrystal wasn’t fired for the name calling and sarcasm in the recent Rolling Stone article, or for a lack of military decorum and good discipline. He was fired for telling the truth about the mission in Afghanistan in a statement he made in March.
"We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force." This statement is the most embarrassing and potentially crippling to Obama’s AFPAK effort, for it brings attention to how badly the war is going with a focus on the killing of innocent people.
McChrystal’s statement is candid admission of the futility and failure of the so called counter-insurgency campaign. Troops are supposed to be protecting more civilians by defending them and their villages, but with the price of that security coming in part from paying off warlords, and an Afghan military with shifting allegiances, the resulting chaos ensures lots of innocents who happen to look like the ”insurgents” are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And with simultaneous JSOC missions and drone attacks and bombardments, the human debris of collateral damage is piling up....
Let his own words from the statement in March further illuminate, and give perspective to, what likely got the Commander of NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces, Afghanistan sacked:
“I do want to say something that everyone understands. We really ask a lot of our young service people out on the checkpoints because there’s danger, they’re asked to make very rapid decisions in often very unclear situations. However, to my knowledge, in the nine-plus months I’ve been here, not a single case where we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it. That doesn’t mean I’m criticizing the people who are executing. I’m just giving you perspective.”
If you read the transcript of the military town hall meeting, you would generally get a better sense of context over why Gen McChrystal said that. He was addressing a proposal to enagage local afghan communities in a dialogue to improve understanding on just what is causing their innocent people to get shot at.
They way I read it was this: Snuffy is at a checkpoint when a van comes towards him. Snuffy orders the driver to stop the van, and have all the occupants climb out. Instead, the van speeds up or tries to flee. Snuffy fills the van full of lead. Turns out innocent people were killed. The soldier brought up the subject, which leads me to believe that the troops don't like this happening either, but they're following orders. McChyrstal agrees that by engaging the locals and letting them know what they are supposed to do at checkpoints, maybe they can avoid some unnecessary bloodshed. McChrystal did not make any comments on changing the rules of engagement, though he has made several comments about "heroic restraint" before.
A year offers some perspective and the results of an investigation, via CBS:
quote:A report by the Department of Defense Inspector General casts doubt on the accuracy of the article in Rolling Stone magazine which cost Gen. Stanley McChrystal his job as the top commander in Afghanistan.
“Not all the events at issue occurred as reported in the article,” the report says. “In some instances, we found no witness who acknowledged making or hearing the comments as reported.”
Via Ed Morrisey:
quote:Nor could the IG confirm another major part of the story. While in Paris, Hastings reported on a dinner meeting in a Paris restaurant that supposedly spiraled out of control. The IG concluded that the party, which celebrated McChrystal’s wedding anniversary, was celebratory rather than a drunken bacchanalia. The investigation also could not confirm the existence of an exchange in which one of McChrystal’s aides called National Security Adviser James Jones a “clown.”
I don't think McChrystal presented himself well with the Rolling Stone reporter but it's become increasingly clear that the reporter helped himself to his own facts and context to conduct a bit of a hatchet job.
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