With a heavy heart and a long stare into the mirror, I must acknowledge: I am on the same side of an argument about the propriety of Gen. McChrystal’s remarks as Michael O’Hanlon. This is when the voice in my left ear says, Are you sure you want to continue down this path? But we’re– we’re– we’re right, damn it, and it’s disconcerting how few people criticizing McChrystal are able to produce full, contextualized quotes from the man to support this narrative of insubordination. Gates and Jones addressed a media-driven controversy to end it, and to get McChrystal, indeed, to stop giving the press opportunities to feed a narrative that’s irresistible to the press. That’s why Gates and Clinton deaded the issue last night with a very vocal bit of support for the general.
Mikey Hemlock Mike D: Dude, nine times out of ten I will agree with you that we should focus on the thing-itself, and not the bollicksed-press-coverage-of-the-thing, but when the issue is a narrative, then it’s important to keep pointing out the discrepancy between the two. Your regularly-scheduled programming will resume. [VERY VERY SORRY FOR MISATTRIBUTING THIS COMMENT. VERY.]
For the record: I really don’t like disagreeing with Gene Robinson, but I disagree with him on this column, because it reads like he’s read the bad press coverage of McChrystal, rather than McChrystal’s actual remarks. And while I share a number of O’Hanlon’s concerns about counterterrorism, he does his case an enormous disservice by both writing with evident condescension for a position that deserves real consideration and by glossing over the deep and serious problems with counterinsurgency in Afghanistan, starting with the fraudulent election and continuing on to the lack of civilian resourcing. You make me not want to take my own side. Stop it.