Paris: The ‘most anti-McChrystal city'
Okay, I’ve read the text – or should we say, I’ve squirmed through the offending Rolling Stone article on Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
As a resident of Paris, I’m amused to learn that the City of Lights is, to quote a McChrystal adviser, “the ‘most anti-McChrystal city you can imagine.’”
For the record, I’m not taking offense. I guess if you’re the top US commander in Afghanistan, soldering through the dust of Helmand and you’d just like a Bud Light Lime, candles and Bordeaux on the table might seem a bit ooh-la-la-la.
But I’m being deliberately flippant. There are some serious issues at stake and I’m wondering what the good general is thinking as he makes his way to that White House meeting on Afghanistan and Pakistan today.
The meeting, by the way, is closed to the press. So we can only guess what will happen behind closed doors.
But not for long. Washington is the one of the leakiest capitals and before long, we’ll get a pretty detailed lowdown from someone present at the proceedings.
At the heart of the matter lies this: Do they kick out McChrystal for his lack of judgment? If he offers to submit his resignation, will Obama accept it?
Lists of Likely Replacements
Washington insiders tell me White House and Pentagon aides are already drawing up lists of likely replacements.
What does this mean for the counter-insurgency in Afghanistan though?
There’s no dearth of pretty good US generals in the ranks. But none of them are as up-to-speed as Gen. McChrystal.
Remember, this is the general who laid out the current military strategy in Afghanistan. His most obvious success is the fall in Afghan civilian casualties since he established new military rules of engagement.
For Obama, it’s a double-edged sword. Accept McChrystal’s resignation and look thin-skinned to the world. Reject it and look like a wimp.
Whatever they decide, they should do it fast. There’s an ongoing Kandahar operation. And a country that needs to be put on track before the July 2011 deadline that Obama imposed – which, by the way, is not something McChrystal agreed with in the first place.