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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pointless Blame

Here’s a brief comment on what I’ve been seeing on multiple conservative websites and from several conservatives on Twitter.

The argument from many within the conservative movement is that it’s actually Obama’s fault that General McCrystal acted in an insubordinate fashion. This is such a childish stand-point to take up. It’s precisely the excuse someone would make when they refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions – which is a hallmark of the conservative movement the past 18 months.

Not only is this a clear example of conservatives inability to hold General McCrystal accountable for his own words, it’s a resurgence of the “dithering” talking point originally put forth by Dick Cheney. And as we all found out, it was actually the Bush administration that had been sitting on their hand for months on end when it came to implementation of more troops and a more specific plan in Afghanistan.

But let’s follow this “it’s Obama’s fault” logic on through. At what point does a member of the Armed Forces gain the right to opening and forcefully question their superiors without fear or recourse? I’d like to see a Private openly criticize his chain of command and not have to face the full wrath of his superiors. Would they be relegated to Limbaugh’s “phony soldiers” list?

The reality behind conservatives willingness to gloss over McCrystal’s unblushing insubordination is that they can’t been seen holding our military servicemen accountable if it means that the Obama administration is seen as correct in their actions. If the modern conservative movement put even a fraction of the energy that they invested in the hatred and the desire to see Obama and his administration fail into actively helping their country, we would all be much better off.

Back to this notion that Obama made McCrystal say all these things certainly doesn’t paint a very good portrait of the General at all. A man in his position has likely faced multiple challenges and has the resolve to not only hold their tongue when it is required, but to serve in his position with honor and dignity. No one is expecting everyone in the military to agree 100% with the mission they are tasked with, but if your approach is to win the “hearts and minds” of those you are attempting gain an alliance with, it doesn’t lend a great deal of confidence in your cause if you are openly besmirching your President.

The Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, has terminated service members for offenses much less severe than what Stanley McCrystal is guilty of. This notion that Obama and Gates can’t remove McCrystal from duty because they “need” him is beyond preposterous. To me, and many others, it sounds like McCrystal cares much about his status in the American armed forces, since he sees his Commander in Chief as someone to be mocked. What do you think that tells the Afghans?

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