Obama vs. the U.S. Army
Rolling Stone their unflattering opinions of the
military acumen of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, National
Security Adviser Gen. James Jones, Dick Holbrooke and
Ambassador Karl Eikenberry,
Gen. Stanley McChrystal and his staff were guilty of
And President Obama had cause to
cashier them. Yet his decision to fire McChrystal may
prove both unwise and costly.
For McChrystal, unlike Gen.
MacArthur, never challenged the war policy—he is
carrying it out—and Barack Obama is no Harry Truman.
Moreover, the war strategy Obama is
pursuing is the McChrystal Plan, devised by the general
and being implemented by the general in
Marjah and Kandahar, perhaps the decisive campaign
of the war.
Should that plan now fail, full
responsibility falls on Obama.
He has made the Afghan war his war
in a way it never was before.
If the McChrystal strategy fails,
critics will charge Obama with causing the defeat by
firing the best fighting general in the Army out of
pique over some officers-club remarks that bruised the
egos of West Wing warriors.
And though those remarks never
should have appeared in print, they may well reflect the
sentiments of not a few soldiers and Marine officers on
third and fourth tours of duty in the Afghan theater.
Had Obama, instead of firing
McChrystal, told him to shut up, can the interviews and
go back to fighting the war until the December review of
strategy, he could have shown those soldiers he is a
bigger man than they or McChrystal`s team give him
And if success in Afghanistan is
the highest goal, how does it help to fire the best
fighting general? Do you relieve Gen. Patton during
combat because he vents his prejudices or opinions?
This city may draw the parallel,
but the Obama-McChrystal clash does not remotely rise to
the historic level of the collision between MacArthur
Truman had dropped atomic bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ordered the airlift that
the Berlin blockade, and produced the Marshall Plan
and NATO. He had won election in his own right with
a legendary comeback in 1948.
Obama has nothing like Truman`s
credibility as a war leader.
And MacArthur was the
most famous U.S. soldier since Gen. Grant. No. 1 at
West Point, he was a legendary commander in France in
1918, leading troops out of the trenches with a swagger
Driven out of the Philippines in
1942, he had declared,
"I shall return,"
led the liberation of the islands in 1944. He
conducted the famous island-hopping campaign up the
archipelagos of the South Pacific and took Japan`s
surrender on the
Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
As military proconsul, he presided
reconstruction of Japan, wrote her constitution and
converted her into an ally.
When North Korea invaded the South
and drove the U.S. Army into the Pusan perimeter,
MacArthur landed Marines far behind enemy lines at
Inchon in a flanking maneuver that destroyed the North
Korean army and will be studied at military academies
for centuries to come.
In late 1950, MacArthur was stunned
by the intervention in Korea of the armies of Mao
Zedong, lately victorious in China`s four-year civil
MacArthur`s clash with Truman was
not over something so trivial as a gossipy article in
MacArthur`s hands had been tied by Truman.
not allowed to bomb the Yalu bridges over which
Chinese troops were pouring into Korea. He was
not allowed to bomb Chinese troop concentrations and
munitions dumps in Manchuria. He was not allowed to
use Chiang Kai-shek`s armies on Taiwan. He was not
allowed hot pursuit of enemy aircraft into Chinese or
MacArthur was being restricted to
fighting the war Mao wanted to fight, a war of attrition
against the world`s most populous nation, and largest
army, while China was allowed to remain a privileged
sanctuary, off-limits to U.S. bombers like those that
smashed Germany and Japan.
In his address to Congress, after
his firing by Truman, MacArthur put it this way:
soldiers asked of me, `surrender military advantages to
an enemy in the field?` I could not answer."
MacArthur`s letter to Rep. Joe
Martin, in response to a letter from the GOP leader, was
indeed a challenge to Truman`s policy of avoiding any
risk of a clash with Russia, even if it meant U.S.
soldiers would pay the price of Truman`s timidity.
Events would prove MacArthur right.
Truman`s restrictions would ensure
a "no-win war" for two more years that would cost tens of thousands
more American lives, and Harry would be sent packing
with the lowest rating of any president in history.
Gen. Eisenhower would take office,
two years after MacArthur`s firing, and threaten the
exact escalation MacArthur envisioned, ending the Korean
War in six months.
Obama and his party may be
celebrating his cashiering of Gen. McChrystal as a macho
moment, but by firing the fighting general, for his
foolish remarks, Obama has deepened the gulf between his
party and the U.S. military.
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to
VDARE.COM readers; his book State
of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and
Conquest of America, can
be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How
Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost
Paul Craig Roberts.