President Obama and his 18-month Afghani Projection
The scenario -- General McChrystal decided to play a nasty power game by leaking his report requesting 40,000 more troops to the press instead of adhering to the chain of command and presenting it DIRECTLY to his superior officer, the Commander-in-Chief.
Maybe he and the rest of the generals (like Petraeus) miss their pushover butt-buddy George W Bush whose lack of knowledge of and/or respect for the Constitution shitcanned the part about civilian control of the military and went straight to "Gee -- you guys have such snappy uniforms ... you make my heart sing.. I'm the leader. I'm the leader. Where are we going?"
So McChrystal decided to force the president's hand by taking his case to what H. L. Mencken so aptly called "the boobocracy."
Not quite as much of a potential court-martial case as that which Dugout Doug MacArthur* handed to Harry Truman, but still, a direct violation of chain of command.
And the President spent several weeks with advisors trying to find any acceptable alternative to giving McChrystal what he wanted.** (Army guys always seem to not understand the ability of the Marines to conduct a no-holds-barred fight.)
And without finding any other way to proceed that didn't present a worse alternative, he said "18 months." It was not a message to Taliban and the world. It was a message to McChrystal that said, quite clearly:
"OK, hotshot, I know what you're doing. You've got 18 months to succeed or retire with your failure chasing your ass through history."
For all that many progressive types are dismayed by the troop increase, it's because they don't understand the difference between the traditional Presidential game of football (formerly baseball) and Obama's game of basketball. Sure, football offers the occasional sidestep to throw the defender off balance, but basketball is a continually shifting fake-out game -- shift and reverse and fake out the big guy between you and the basket.
When he ran for office, I was delighted.
"FINALLY -- a president who knows how to drive to the hole."
Instead of a trash-talking blowhard who mouths off from the safety of the bench, which is what we had for 8 years of the Bush presidency -- and now have from his former puppet-master sidekick, Dick Cheney.
I have no doubt that anyone ruthless enough to become a general knows enough about power and politics to know EXACTLY what President Obama meant.
And oh, yeah, to re-state:
Not quite sedition, you arrogant lifer, but damn close.
Watch your step -- that's PRESIDENT Obama you're fucking with, and if he needs to, he'll run right over you to get to the basket.
* "I shall return --- when the shooting stops."
** Essentially, it was McChrystal's implicit admission that he couldn't do the job he was assigned to with the troops he had.