Noodgreep: Obama vervangt generaal McChrystal door zijn chef, generaal Petraeus

Volkomen terecht heeft president Obama generaal Stanley McChrystel op staande voet van zijn Amerikaans en NAVO opperbevel in Afghanistan ontheven. Verrassend – en politiek gezien heel handig en verstandig – is zijn aanwijzing van generaal Petraeus, chef van McChrystel, als diens vervanger.
Militair gezien betekent dit een hoogst uitzonderlijke functionele demotie van Petraeus. Het pleit voor diens loyaliteit dat hij deze overplaatsing heeft aanvaard – en waarschijnlijk zelf heeft aangeboden. 
Plaatst men dit hele gebeuren in een bredere context, dan stijgt de twijfel over het welslagen van de Amerikaanse/NAVO strategie in Afghanistan  – en rijst de vraag in hoeverre de militarisering van het Amerikaanse beleid is doorgeslagen. Enkele artikelen in de, kritische maar deskundige, Britse Guardian en Amerikaanse The Nation en Right Web, werpen hier fel licht op.

Barack Obama sacks Afghan war commander Stanley McChrystal (Guardian)

..Obama forced McChrystal’s resignation because he said that while would tolerate debate on the war policy, he would not tolerate the kind of division created by the article – in which the general and his staff accused the US ambassador to Kabul of undermining the war, called the president’s national security adviser "a joke", and mocked the vice-president, Joe Biden. There was also indirect criticism of the president as "uncomfortable and intimidated" by senior military officials. McChrystal left the White House within minutes of being dismissed at a short meeting and did not attend a conference of Obama’s Afghan policy team shortly afterwards, which included many of the people insulted by the profile in Rolling Stone magazine. The article prompted a frenzied debate about McChrystal’s future, underpinned by doubts among politicians and in the military as to whether the war can be won…

The amazing media story behind the astonishing McChrystal interview (Guardian)

..Now McCrystal is on his way to Washington to face the music by meeting Obama who, as you can see from the above video clip, is none too happy with the general he has previously had reason to slap down. But the media story behind the story is also fascinating. First off, there was a fuss about whether or not McChrystal was speaking to Rolling Stone’s writer, Michael Hastings, on or off the record…

David Petraeus: Stanley McChrystal’s successor (Guardian)

In Iraq, he helped to transform the US army from an organisation built to fight conventional wars against industrialised enemies

Few would argue that running a failing war is for the faint hearted, so there is some irony in the selection of David Petraeus to replace Stanley McChrystal.

The current head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), Petraeus passed out while giving testimony on Afghanistan to the US Congress last week.

But as the man credited with turning round the conflict in Iraq when it was at its most desperate, the decision to send Petraeus to take command of 120,000 US and allied troops in Afghanistan could be seen as an inspired choice.

Petraeus did not just save the US’s bacon in Iraq (earning rumours that he could one day run for presidential high office), he helped to transform the US army from an organisation built to fight conventional wars against industrialised enemies, to a fighting force that became the world leader in fighting against lightly armed guerrillas.

He has unrivalled knowledge of the theory and practice of counterinsurgency – the incredibly difficult and time-consuming business of simultaneously killing insurgents while winning the support of the indigenous population. Indeed, the highly intellectual scholar soldier rewrote the US army manual on how such counterinsurgency campaigns should be waged…

With such concepts seen as critical to victory in Afghanistan, it was necessary for Obama to find a new commander whose mastery of fighting such multi-faceted battles cannot be challenged…

Fears for Afghan strategy after 24 hours of turmoil (Guardian)

Counterinsurgency is not working, say experts, and critics warn that replacement strategy indicates more of same

..Obama insisted that in sacking McChrystal he was making a change of personnel, not policy. The appointment of General David Petraeus, the architect of the counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, was a signal that Obama does not plan to shift from the plan he committed to last year.

But the Rolling Stone story has focused attention on the serious divisions and personality clashes among those in charge of the military and political strategies. That in turn has led to further questioning of whether McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy is working.

There is growing scepticism in Congress about rising casualties, the delay to some combat operations and a lack of confidence in the Afghan government. It is also a conflict with no end in sight. It is now America’s longest war. Increasingly, it is called Obama’s war.

Two of the most senior diplomats to have worked in Afghanistan in recent years told the Guardian that McChrystal’s departure would help to force a full review of a counterinsurgency strategy which is being increasingly attacked by policy experts as unworkable..

General McChrystal and the militarisation of US politics (Guardian)

America has settled into being a nation perpetually at war. In this climate it’s no surprise generals sometimes get out of control

Barack Obama has a problem with America’s generals that is unlikely to be solved quickly or easily, whatever the outcome of the Stanley McChrystal affair. The disrespectful behaviour of the US commander in Afghanistan and his aides was symptomatic of a more deeply rooted, potentially dangerous malaise, analysts suggest. This week’s events might thus be termed a very American coup.

One reason for Obama’s difficulty lies in his own inexperience. As a greenhorn commander-in-chief and a Democrat to boot, Washington watchers say Obama has had scant opportunity to win the military’s respect, let alone its affection. His unease with his violent inheritance in Afghanistan and Iraq is evident.

Another reason appears to be the willingness of American conservatives of all stripes, in an increasingly polarised society, to buy into the "wimps in the White House" narrative peddled by General McChrystal’s army staffers. It echoed rightwing criticism that Obama, who has never served, is personally unfit to lead.

It is not a big step from there to outright accusations of cowardice. "The ugly truth is that no one in the Obama White House wanted this Afghan surge," wrote New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on Tuesday. "The only reason they proceeded was because no one knew how to get out of it – or had the courage to pull the plug."

But perhaps the main reason why Obama’s problem with the generals is bigger than McChrystal is the continuing impact of the post-9/11 legacy. George Bush defined the US as a nation perpetually at war. The Pentagon produced a theory to suit: the Long War doctrine postulating unending conflict against ill-defined but ubiquitous enemies. Unquestioning patriotism became an official ideology to which all were expected to subscribe…

Whatever misgivings he may harbour about his uppity generals, Obama remains largely at their mercy while he perpetuates the idea of the US as a nation at war and pursues the war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon is already resisting this December’s White House policy review and next July’s "deadline" for the start of an Afghan troop withdrawal. Petraeus, meanwhile, last week refused to rule out the deployment of yet more troops – a potential second Afghan surge…

Bad News from Afghanistan (Right Web)

While U.S. officials insist they are making progress in reversing the momentum built up by the Taliban insurgency over the last several years, the latest news from Afghanistan suggests the opposite may be closer to the truth.
Even senior military officials are conceding privately that their much-touted new counterinsurgency strategy of "clear, hold and build" in contested areas of the Pashtun southern and eastern parts of the country are not working out as planned despite the "surge" of some 20,000 additional U.S. troops over the past six months.
Casualties among the nearly 130,000 U.S. and other NATO troops now deployed in Afghanistan are also mounting quickly..

Obama, who last November set a July 2011 as the date after which Washington would begin to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, has said his administration will conduct a major review of U.S. strategy and whether it is working at the end of this year.
The latest polling here shows a noticeable erosion of support for Washington’s commitment to the war compared to eight months ago when Obama agreed to the Pentagon’s recommendations to send the 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to bring the total U.S. presence there to around 100,000.
An additional 34,000 troops from NATO and non-NATO allies are supposed to be deployed there by year’s end.
According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Thursday, 53 percent of respondents said the war in Afghanistan, which last month, according to most measures, exceeded the Vietnam conflict as the longest-running war in U.S. history, was "not worth fighting". That was the highest percentage in more than three years.
The same poll found that 39 percent of the public believe that Washington is losing the war, compared to 42 percent who believe it is winning.
While public scepticism about the war appears to be growing, the foreign policy elite, including within the military, also seems increasingly doubtful for a number of reasons…

AFGHANISTAN: Shades of Iraq in 2006?

(Right Web)

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal confronts the spectre of a collapse of U.S. political support for the war in Afghanistan in coming months comparable to the one that occurred in the Iraq War in late 2006.

Last Thursday, McChrystal’s message that his strategy will weaken the Taliban in its heartland took its worst beating thus far, when he admitted that the planned offensive in Kandahar City and surrounding districts is being delayed until September at the earliest, because it does not have the support of the Kandahar population and leadership.

Equally damaging to the credibility of McChrystal’s strategy was the Washington Post report published Thursday documenting in depth the failure of February’s offensive in Marja.

The basic theme underlined in both stories – that the Afghan population in the Taliban heartland is not cooperating with U.S. and NATO forces – is likely to be repeated over and over again in media coverage in the coming months.

The Kandahar operation, which McChrystal’s staff has touted as the pivotal campaign of the war, had previously been announced as beginning in June. But it is now clear that McChrystal has understood for weeks that the most basic premise of the operation turned out to be false.

"When you go to protect people, the people have to want you to protect them," said McChrystal, who was in London for a NATO conference.

He didn’t have to spell out the obvious implication: the people of Kandahar don’t want the protection of foreign troops…

In Afghanistan, the Beginning of the End?

(The Nation)


With eighteen Democratic senators voting for Russ Feingold’s legislative call for withdrawal from Afghanistan, is a long and bloody end to the Afghanistan quagmire in sight? Feingold says he was "encouraged" by the May 27 vote in spite of its rejection, particularly because of support from most of the Senate’s Democratic leadership—senators Richard Durbin, Charles Schumer and Patty Murray…
Speaking to graduating cadets at West Point on Saturday, President Obama noted the "ultimate sacrifice" of 78 of their predecessors who gave up their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he did not mention that just days before, five U.S. soldiers were killed in Kabul, bringing the toll of American dead in Afghanistan to over 1,000.
As we pass this grim marker, the Obama administration’s strategy in Afghanistan is foundering because it is fundamentally flawed. It lacks a clear, achievable mission, isn’t in our national security interest and costs too much in treasure and lives.
The counterinsurgency strategy to win the hearts and minds of Afghans is failing — a Pentagon report last month revealed that only 29 of 121 critical Afghan districts could be classified as "sympathetic to the government," compared with 48 "supportive of or sympathetic to" the Taliban. The number of Afghans who rated U.S. and NATO troops "good" or "very good" dropped from 38 percent in December to 29 percent in March — perhaps as a result of the civilian casualties that are on the rise.
There is a sense of Taliban momentum — even Gen. Stanley McChrystal recently declared, "Nobody is winning," and military officials are now minimizing expectations for the upcoming Kandahar offensive. The highly touted operation in Marja that began three months ago has failed to dislodge the Taliban…
A long-overdue alternative strategy begins with a responsible withdrawal of U.S. troops and support for a regional diplomatic solution, including talks with the Taliban, which Afghan President Hamid Karzai wants to pursue and America should support unconditionally. It also includes common-sense counterterrorism measures, intelligence sharing and targeted development and reconstruction assistance.
The president is instead asking for another $32 billion for the Afghanistan surge in a supplemental appropriation that is expected to be voted on in the Senate this week, with a House vote to follow.
But there are signs of a growing opposition. Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) have introduced legislation demanding an exit strategy and a timetable for withdrawal, and Feingold announced that he will introduce an amendment to the supplemental based on that legislation…
Vietnam and Iraq both demonstrated how easy it is to get into war and how difficult it is to get out. We now see that dilemma in Afghanistan. Withdrawal will demand a huge political lift and may well lead to the question, "What were the last eight years of lost blood and treasure about?"
Confronting that question honestly is far less costly than continuing a flawed strategy and a failed war.

A secret military directive signed last September 30 by General David Petraeus, the Centcom commander, authorizes a vast expansion of secret US military special ops from the Horn of Africa to the Middle East to Central Asia and “appears to authorize specific operations in Iran,” according to the New York Times.
Now we know that President Obama secured a pledge from the generals that they would either turn over the war to the Afghans by 2011 or get out. Will Congress hold the president to that deadline?
If President Obama knew about this, authorized it and still supports it, then Obama has crossed a red line, and the president will stand revealed as an aggressive, militaristic liberal interventionist who bears a closer resemblance to the president he succeeded than to the ephemeral reformer that he pretended to be in 2008, when he ran for office. If he didn’t know, if he didn’t understand the order, and if he’s unwilling to cancel it now that it’s been publicized, then Obama is a feckless incompetent. Take your pick.
If Congress has any guts at all, it will convene immediate investigative hearings into a power grab by Petraeus, a politically ambitious general, and the Pentagon’s arrogant Special Operations team, led by Admiral Eric T. Olson, who collaborated with Petraeus. And Congress needs to ask the White House, What did you know, and when did you know it?
Drop what you’re doing and read the whole piece, by Mark Mazzetti, in the Times, which ran it on page 1 as the lead story in today’s paper. (Critics of the “mainstream media” take note: the Times broke this story fearlessly, even though it apparently redacted certain operational details at the behest of the administration.)..

The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate.…
The seven-page directive appears to authorize specific operations in Iran, most likely to gather intelligence about the country’s nuclear program or identify dissident groups that might be useful for a future military offensive…

Amerikaanse opperbevelhebber in Afghanistan door Obama op het matje geroepen

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4 thoughts on “Noodgreep: Obama vervangt generaal McChrystal door zijn chef, generaal Petraeus

  1. Déjà vu, in Vietnam.
    Je moet de steun van de bevolking winnen, anders wordt het niks. Hoe kan een corrupte kliek van Karzai met de steun van de ongelovige buitenlanders het vertrouwen van de bevolking verkrijgen?

  2. Waarom het volkomen terecht is dat Obama de opperbevelhebber in Afghanistan heeft ontslagen vraag ik me af.
    De man zei gewoon de waarheid, leek me.
    Dat die waarheid in Washington niet acceptabel is, is alleen maar triest.
    Maar het is niets bijzonders, in Versailles in 1759 waren de analyses wat er zou gebeuren als de Britten de Fransen uit N Amerika zouden verdrijven ook al niet welkom.
    Had de laatste Franse koning het anders aangepakt dat was er nooit een VS geweest.
    Maar er is ook een positief aspect aan het ontkennen van de realiteit in Washington, als de VS doorgaat met z’n genocides in Afghanistan en Pakistan is de VS des te eerder failliet, kan Iran niet aanvallen, en Israel niet langer op de been houden, kortom, de wereld niet langer bullyen.
    Wie dan de Afghaanse bodemschatten gaat uitbuiten is dan de vraag, net als waar de VS het lithium vandaan moet halen voor de electrische auto’s.
    Maar ook in Kosovo schiet het niet op met het kunnen uitbuiten van de bodemschatten daar.
    Trade no longer follows the flag, schijnt het.
    Er is nog een ander hoopvol punt, ondanks het gezeur over lokjoden.
    Op vakantie in Frankrijk zag ik een grote krantenkop ‘Israel et le diaspore, le Fracture’.
    Als het zo zou zijn dat de joden buiten Israel beginnen door te krijgen dat hen de Israelische wandaden worden aangerekend kan het wel eens snel zijn afgelopen met dit schurkenlandje.
    Ik had nooit gedacht het einde van de USSR te zullen meemaken, maar vroeg me toen dat einde er was wel af, zoveel wist ik toen al wel van geschiedenis, wat de gevolgen voor de VS zouden zijn.
    De geschiedenis van de Italiaanse stadstaten laat zien dat als er één coalitie verandert dat alle coalities veranderen.
    We zien nu het wegzinken van de VS als wereldmacht, terreur onder het mom van vrede stichten lijkt dus op z’n eind te lopen.
    Misschien maak ik in de tien jaar of zo die ik nog te leven heb ook nog het einde van de VS en Israel mee.

  3. Ik keek nog even vluchtig door de gecopieerde woordenbrij, wat me opviel is ‘nobody is winning’.
    Maar dat geldt voor elke oorlog, kijk maar eens hoeveel de koopkracht van de VS’ers daalde door Roosevelt’s wereldoorlog.
    De berekeningen staan in Peter H. Nicoll, ´Englands Krieg gegen Deutschland, Ursachen, Methoden und Folgen des Zweiten Weltkriegs’, 1963, 2001, Tübingen ( Britain’s Blunder, 1953).
    Maar het is ook zonder het boek op te snorren uit te leggen.
    In de dertiger jaren, tijdens de door Wall Street in 1929 veroorzaakte depressie, werden er een paar honderd Duesenbergs verkocht.
    In reele termen kostte een Duesenberg evenveel als nu een 707.
    Alleen in de Arabische olielandjes zijn er nu privé vliegtuigen van dit formaat.
    ‘War is the way politicians destroy appararently superfluous wealth’, schreef een historicus.
    Ik kan niet nalaten nog even op te merken dat we intussen zien wie de tweede wereldoorlog won, Duitsland.
    GB is verdwenen, VS is aan het verdwijnen, de USSR is al lang weg, Japan draait ook heel aardig.
    Kennelijk kun je alleen echt winnen door helemaal uit te roeien, dat lukte met de N Amerikaanse Indianen.

  4. Ik zocht de kritiek op VK censuur van gister, maar vind die niet meer.
    Het is natuurlijk logisch dat censoren kritiek op censuur censureren.
    Lang geleden verscheen er een cartoon van een gecensureerd artikel, er waren twee dingen overgebleven, de rest was zwart ‘die Deutsche Zensoren’ ….’Dummköpfe’.

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