Gary Leupp: The McChrystal Affair: A Boon for Obama?





[Gary Leupp is a Professor of History, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion at Tufts University, and author of numerous works on Japanese history.]

In the now famous Rolling Stone interview by Michael Hastings, Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff disparage a number of top officials, including President Obama, Vice President Biden, Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, and Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry. Among the comments made by McChrystal, himself, frankly and on the record, is this one on Eikenberry: “Here’s one that covers his flank for the history books. Now, if we fail, they can say ‘I told you so.’”...

For some reason I’m reminded of how George W. Bush replied to Bob Woodward’s question about how history would judge the Iraq War. “History?,” he replied, “We don’t know. We’ll all be dead.” I’m also reminded of an unnamed neocon’s disdainful comment to New York Times journalist, Ron Suskind, in 2002 about people in the “reality-based community” that “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” And “how that’s not the way the world works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality… We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to study what we do.”...

Perhaps McChrystal at some mental level realizes that the war is going to fail, like the U.S. effort in South Vietnam. In his London talk he noted, “The situation is serious, and I choose that word very carefully. I would add that neither success nor failure for our endeavor in support of the Afghan people and government can be taken for granted. My assessment and my best military judgment is that the situation is, in some ways, deteriorating, but not in all ways.”...



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