By Bob Steiner
Having served on the staff of some four General officers during my twenty years active duty with the U.S. Army, I have had exposure to rules and regulations as they apply to the military. With regard to questions dealing with politics, it’s simple. Such issues should not be raised. Further, under our form of government, the military is sub-servient to a civilian, our president. I personally did not vote for him and dislike many things he has done. Still, he is the “Commander in Chief”! He is in charge!
History has shown us that many gifted leaders have not always respected this arrangement. In most instances this occurred when they voiced personal opinions or strategy to the press without obtaining clearance from the executive branch to do so. During World War II, George S. Patton was admonished several times for forgetting this point. He had repeatedly criticized the conduct of the war by our British allies. Douglas Mac Arthur, regarded as an untouchable war hero was relieved from his position as the Supeme Allied Commander in Korea because he openly advocated bombing Chinese territory.
Now we come to the case at hand, General Stanley McChrystal. This is a leader who was probably in line to be the Army Chief of Staff at some future date (I’ll be surprised if he makes it now). When he announced to the press that he needed 40,000 more troops to win the war in Afghanistan, he had apparently not checked with the President. While this troop increase is still being considered by the President and the Defense Department, General McChrystal may not have committed an actual security violation, still he has given the enemy an insight into potential future operations. In this case they could be better prepared to fight our troops and cause us to incur more casualties. Incidentally, why did he insist upon asking for U.S. troops? This is supposedly an allied effort. Maybe we should insist upon our allies pulling a greater share of the load?
NOTE: According to the online Telegraph.co.uk of October 15th, President Sarkozy of France stated that his country would not send even one additional soldier to Afghanistan. He strongly indicated that he believed the Afghans, themselves, should shoulder more responsibility for the war effort. France presently has some 3,000 soldiers in the country.
PREDICTION: Look for the status quo to continue for a few months with no apparent personnel changes being implemented. Then, since the General has more than forty years active service, he will be quietly retired.