At a gathering in Washington, D.C., a number of high-ranking military men are lashing out at the White House for trying to muzzle Gen. Stanley McChrystal, comparing him to Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the Army chief of staff who became a hero to the Left by arguing with then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about troop levels in Iraq. (That’s when military men who spoke truth to misguided civilian leaders got ticker-tape parades from liberals.) The comments are telling:
“We take the kids to war and ask them to take a bullet. So you won’t stop Stan from saying what he thinks is best for the mission and the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.” . . .
“McChrystal was sent to fix Afghanistan — is that to get rid of the Taliban or al-Qaeda? . . . Without the mission being defined well, you’ve left it to them to decide what to do.” . . .
“Gen. McChrystal has given an assessment of what the military strategy should be to achieve the political objective.”
The White House brought this on itself, of course. The dithering and handwringing (and the predominance of domestic-policy concerns in what should be a strategy-making process based on the substance of the commanders’ analysis) have obviously frustrated our military leadership. And the public should be equally frustrated — and appalled. Our civilian leadership is behaving in a fundamentally unserious and irresponsible manner. While it is annoying for the White House when someone points this out, it is perhaps the only way to get the White House to do its job — which is to make a timely decision on the merits. So far, they’ve failed to do so and deserve the backlash that has ensued.