Thursday, June 24, 2010

Kamisori Stanzō

And speaking of General McChrystal...Since the man got the top job in Afghanistan, we've been slathered with accolades to his manly manliness and his warriorish intellectuality:
"...the ascetic workaholic seems to have modelled himself on a classical ideal of the warrior straight out of Herodotus or Thucydides. Eating once a day, it is said, and often sleeping little, he was noted during his time as a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations for running 12 miles a day, part of his rigorous fitness programme conducted while listening to audio books on his iPod."

"Mastermind the hunt for Al Qaeda in Iraq and plot stealth raids on Taliban strongholds in the Hindu Kush while getting just a few hours of sleep a night, exercising enough to exhaust a gym rat and eating one meal a day to avoid sluggishness. One meal. Who was it who said an army runs on its stomach?"

He’s lanky, smart, tough, a sneaky stealth soldier,” said Maj. Gen. William Nash, a retired officer. “He’s got all the Special Ops attributes, plus an intellect.”

"The friendship (between McChrystal and GEN Petraeus) that ensued stands at the heart of the transformation of the U.S. Army in recent years, from the world's most fearsome conventional-warfare force to the world's most sophisticated counterinsurgency force."

An uncompromisingly innovative, ruthless and manly man among men? Terror of terrorists and brilliant warrior-ascetic. It took me a while, but I suddenly realized who GEN McChrystal really was.Hanzo the Razor.
I wonder if he had a bale of rice with a hole in it stashed somewhere in the ISAF HQ CONEX?

As my old first shirt would say; there's some good training.


  1. I don't get the "piling on" here. McChrystal is gone. He took responsibility and went quietly as he should have done. By all accounts he was a decent officer who was promoted beyond his abilities. What purpose is served by this needless display of triumphalism?

  2. 1. Because he got fluffed so much to begin with and turned out to be such a zero, a fairly clueless zero at that, who also turned out to be a fucking poster boy for the clueless zeroes who seem to be running this clueless clusterfuck, and since it wasn't the first time we've been here we need to be reminded, again, and again, and again (since we seem to have no collective memory of how many times we've been told that this or that or just one more Friedman Unit will make things perfect and lovely and how we'll all get rainbows and magical ponies) that the same dumbasses who are telling us this stuff are the people who told us that Dubya was a loveable good ol' boy, that we would be greeted with flowers and candy in Baghdad, that if we just clap HARD ENOUGH the Pakis and Afghans and Palestinians will stop being nasty Muslims and want Bud Light and Hooters and Freedom and Democracy until we have the understanding that ITS NOT THE INTENT AND ITS NOT THE STRATEGY AND ITS NOT THE COMMANDER AND ITS NOT THE TIMETABLE, ITS THE ENTIRE IDEA OF REMAKING CENTRAL ASIA THAT'S FUCKING STUPID, and

    2. Because Hanzo the Razor is whack, and there aren't many opportunities to do a post where I can mention Hanzo the Razor.

    Looking back, having two posts picking on the whole Three Days in June thing does seem excessive, until you realize that we've been doing this Groundhog Day now for eight goddamn years.

    Then it doesn't seem so excessive.

  3. Chief,

    As time goes by your tirades make less and less sense. Tell me exactly what personal and vindictive comments toward McChrystal do, even assuming your characterization of him as essentially a worthless officer are remotely accurate?

    Stan "the man" is only the latest in a long line of Commanders who were tasked with implementing incoherent and unattainable policy on Afghanistan across two administrations. If you think policy or anything will change by raging on a fired General, well good luck with that.

  4. Not to worry. We still got Petraeus. James Morin, ex-captain U.S.A. and Iraq vet, writing in yesterday's NY Times, said:

    "Gen. Petreaus has already helped to turn the lights on in Iraq. It is his success as a battlespace owner that has earned him the reprise role of national savior [and] an opportunity for an encore role the like of which hasn't been seen, oddly enough, since Douglas MacArthur took over the Korean war."

    The general also has a "dominating footprint."

    Paul Dempsey

  5. Andy, as time goes by, your almost superhuman ability to extract, focus on, and obsess about the most insignificant and meaningless bits of trivia help me better understand the apalling mess that passes for public discourse in the U.S.

    If you, a serving officer and supposed smart guy, can manage to reduce to personal vindictiveness a satiric comment embracing bad generalship, poor public policy, tongue-bathing press puffery, bizarre Japanese jidaigeki films, and the general credulity of the American press, political classes and general public, you point up the very things I was mocking and reassure me that is it still nearly impossible to lose money betting on the stupidity of the American public.

    You really DON'T get it, do you?

    That "Stan the Man" was just the latest in the long line of commanders who - having been tasked with "implementing incoherent and unattainable policy on Afghanistan across two administrations" - managed to help kick that idiot can yet another goddam Friedman Unit down the road. He's a Poster Child for seydlitz's observations on the geopolitical- and strategic-thinking sterility of the U.S. general officer corps.

    By failing to tell his political masters that his mission WAS incoherent and unattainable, by failing to use all that ascetic warriory-ness to man up and bring to light all the problems and realities he couldn't change he wins the Robert E. Lee Award for Military Futility and fails huge as a military leader in a democracy.

    That's why what he represents is so frustrating to me.

    But, in the end, it's not ABOUT McChrystal. It's about us. You. Me. And the fact that we are too wrapped up in our own business to bitchslap the people, from the lowliest Pentagon PAO prick to the Chief Executive, who are selling us this snake oil about how if we just find this guy, the right guy, the tough guy, the right policy, the right whatever, that we can make black white, dark light, and Afghanistan into Belgium only with more goats.

    But rather than get pissed off at the moronic way this guy was sold to us, at the reckless and foolish way that our country has been sold a bill of get pissed off - not because of the fucking mess this guy's entire command tenure represented or the utter intellectual disaster his dismissal revealed about the mindset of this general officer's coterie - but because I'M pissed off and mocking it.

    And then you probably wonder why the "policy or anything" just keeps rolling along. Look in the mirror, man.

  6. Andy, just look at it as the Chief's version of the old—and excellent—Saturday Night Live. Those folks would have had a field day with this whole goatfuck.

    You don't really see how McChrystal and this whole mess lends itself to parody? That the "warrior monk" and his staff, AKA, the "saviors," not only screwed up bigtime in airing their personal vendettas to a reporter, but also were busily hosing the mission they were given. You know, it's not as if this general was successful in anything he did in Afghanistan. Sure, he was handed a shit sandwich, but it was a sandwich of his own making. Or do you disagree?

    Four hours of sleep a night, one meal a day, running 50 miles or whatever seemingly does nothing to improve generalship. Maybe we need a Grant whom we keep in whiskey and cigars. The Bud Light Lime crowd clearly didn't cut it. Bud Light Lime. In Germany. That says it all.

  7. The Bud Light Lime crowd clearly didn't cut it. Bud Light Lime. In Germany. That says it all.

    Best f*cking lines I've read all morning!



    John Krakauer wrote a book detailing the investigation and exposes the truth about General McChrystal, explaining it to Jon Stewart:

    Krakauer: Friendly fire happens and it's sad how that happened to him but what's worse is what happened to him after he was killed. The way he was used by the last administration to advance their political ends and that's upsetting to me.

    The Tillman family warned President Obama not to put the General in charge of the Afghanistan mission.

    The parents of slain Army Ranger and NFL star Pat Tillman voiced concerns Tuesday that the general who played a role in mischaracterizing his death could be put in charge of military operations in Afghanistan. In a brief interview with The Associated Press, Pat Tillman Sr. accused Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal of covering up the circumstances of the 2004 slaying. "I do believe that guy participated in a falsified homicide investigation," Pat Tillman Sr. said.

    He later apologized for his role in the cover up.

    I bet his apology made the Tillmans forget about all their troubles. The President should have listened to their warning.


  9. Andy,
    Mc C did not take responsibility- it was forced on him.
    Notice that he didn't say that he was wrong , he only said that he used poor judgement.
    Yep, we pay ass holes 203,000$ plus for poor judgement. Yep, i've got sour grapes.
    Bacevich was right- this event is not over.

  10. This snippet from a news article sums it up:

    Adm. Mike Mullen, said Monday he backed Obama's decision to remove McChrystal because the "cumulative representation" of the magazine article revealed "poor judgment that included a bad command climate" that tolerated harsh criticism of the U.S. civilian leadership.

    Speaking in Colorado at the Aspen Forum, Mullen said military leaders must always be mindful that they serve elected leaders. "We must ensure that we are adhering to that in every way - publicly, privately, formally, informally," he said. "To the degree that we tolerate it even in private discussions, it's corrosive."

    Big Stan appears to be as oblivious to the notion of "command climate" as the entire chain of command (up to the White House) was in contributing to Abu Graib and other abusive situations. Since both he and his staff felt free to speak in a derogatory fashion about their civilian leaders, it is clear that the climate was not one that accepted the time honored and Constitutional role of the military serving their civilian leaders. There's something severely wrong with that picture as presented in Rolling Stone.

    Now, looking back at Stan's actions in the Tillman affair, one does have to question his integrity. Hell, as a Marine Private, I clearly remember the "Old Gunny" telling us that if you sign it, you own it. 100%. Just as no Marine should go back on his word, even more so, never go back on your signature. But Stan minimized his signature on the award recommendation with a barrel of hum-de-woof. For the glory of the mission, he gladly signed, but when the fecal matter hit the fan, he waffled away from it, knowing it was bullcrap long before he was ever questioned.

    I fear that folks fell sucker to the age old tactic of "brochure-ism" with this guy. But once someone got to look past the slick paper color advertisement, he shows all his warts and farts.

  11. I think your analogy to Hanzo is bloody brill!

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