In what appears to be a mutiny in the upper ranks of the military, General Stanley McChrystal has resigned his post after a public dispute with Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama. What started over reports that McChrystal criticized Obama and the White House in an article from Rolling Stone magazine has turned into McChrystal possibly submitting his resignation, according to the Washington Post and CNN.
Every person who talked to the Post said that the things McChrystal said are indeed insubordinate, and he should be relieved of his command. A top media aide for the General has already resigned over the fuss about the article, already online and hitting newsstands on June 25. A top Senator, Democrat Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, has said that McChrystal should step down.
Handling of the War
McChrystal, in the Rolling Stone article, openly joked theat Vice President Joe Biden’s name is pronounced “Bite Me,” and that Obama is disengaged with the war and out-of-touch. McChrystal also stated that, if the American people truly knew what was going on in Afghanistan, there would be even less support for the war now than there ever has been.
The American military is at a Catch-22 point in Afghanistan. It’s too late to pull out because the Taliban would regain control and make the situation worse. But, handing over control to the Afghans isn’t prudent yet because they don’t have the resources to defend themselves.
Obama meets with McChrystal on Wednesday, June 23, to determine what his future should be. Many feel that McChrystal will not be in the military after that meeting.
If history is any indication, McChrystal should have read more about legendary general Douglas MacArthur. MacArthur did the same thing to Harry Truman, when he criticized him for his handling of the Korean War.
MacArthur, after getting United States forces on the border of China and North Korea by the Yalu River, asked permission from Truman to bomb targets in Manchuria, over the border in China, to try to drive the Chinese troops who had amassed at the border back. Truman refused, and MacArthur was removed from his command in April of 1951, when the general took his disagreement to the public.
The military is all about taking orders. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Ultimately, it is Obama who will take any blame for a lack of strategy in Afghanistan, as opposed to McChrystal. McChrystal will be fired for insubordination ,as would anyone in the Armed Forces of the United States.
No matter who is in command in Afghanistan, the war cannot be won easily or readily. Perhaps the war the Obama administration is trying to win is not the war they are fighting. Opium used to be a cash crop for Afghanistan, but the numbers this year are sharply down from last year, according to the New York Times. But, there are difficulties in getting Afghans to change from such a lucrative crop to something more based for food. The Taliban uses the proceeds from opium growing to fund their initiatives in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
In order for us to put Afghanistan in better stead with the international community, there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way they shape their economy. Until the poppy plants are replaced by corn, wheat, and soy, no one will win in Afghanistan.
The Washington Post, New York Times, and CNN all contributed information for this article.