Tuesday, June 22, 2010

"Quand le bateau coule, les rats quittent le navire"

Amazing article on the BBC website this morning:

The top US commander in Afghanistan has apologised for a magazine article that mocks senior Obama administration officials and diplomats. Gen Stanley McChrystal said the article in Rolling Stone showed "poor judgement" and a lack of integrity.

In the article Gen McChrystal said he felt betrayed by US ambassador to Kabul, Karl Eikenberry. The general's aides mock Vice-President Joe Biden and say Gen McChrystal was "disappointed" in President Obama.

The Rolling Stone article - The Runaway General - is due out on Friday but Gen McChrystal has quickly sought to limit the damage. He said in a statement on Tuesday: "I extend my sincerest apology for this profile it was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never happened."

He adds: "Throughout my career, I have lived by the principles of personal honour and professional integrity. What is reflected in this article falls far short of that standard.

"I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome."

One of the main targets of the article appears to be Mr Eikenberry. Gen McChrystal says he felt "betrayed" by the ambassador during the White House debate on troop requests for Afghanistan.

Gen McChrystal suggests Mr Eikenberry was using a leaked internal memo that questioned the troop requests as a way to protect himself from future criticism over the deployment.

The general says: "I like Karl, I've known him for years, but they'd never said anything like that to us before. "Here's one that covers his flank for the history books. Now if we fail, they can say, 'I told you so'."

Gen McChrystal also appears to joke in response to a question about the vice-president.

"Are you asking about Vice-President Biden?" McChrystal asks. 'Who's that?" An aide then says: "Biden? Did you say: Bite Me?"

Another aide refers to a key Oval Office meeting with the president a year ago. The aide says it was "a 10-minute photo op", adding: "Obama clearly didn't know anything about him, who he was... he didn't seem very engaged. The boss was pretty disappointed."

Gen McChrystal himself says: "I found that time painful. I was selling an unsellable position."

Another aide refers to national security adviser, James Jones, as a "clown stuck in 1985".

Of an e-mail from US special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke, Gen McChrystal says: "Oh, not another e-mail from Holbrooke... I don't even want to open it."

Last year's Afghan strategy review by the new president was detailed and drawn out, with Gen McChrystal finally getting an additional 30,000 US troops from Mr Obama. Analysts say Gen McChrystal disagreed with the pledge to start bringing troops home in July 2011.
Commentary: The war in Afghanistan is the longest war in US history and a decade into this war, the best McChrystal recently had to say about it was that it was "a draw". The world's only global superpower fights to a decade and ends up in a "draw"?! Needless to say, that is an admission of DEFEAT and, as we all know from time immemorial, "Victory has a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan" and now the war in Afghanistan is clearly entering its last phase: the "CYOA phase".