General discussion

All Comments

  • Author
    • #2868829

      I think

      by santeewelding ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      At the moment, all I can do is hold my breath.

      • #2868827

        All too many people use . . . . .

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to I think

        ….. the immature (or not mature) word. I’m not sure why it really applies to anyone over ~25.

        • #2868825


          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to All too many people use . . . . .

          The White House gets to say anything it wants. The general doesn’t.

        • #2868823

          Even General Douglas MacArthur got fired. . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Peripheral

          ….. by a haberdasher from Missouri that very few people respected (at the time).

        • #2868819


          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to Even General Douglas MacArthur got fired. . . . .

          I remember that (I got me 60+ to your 50+). I think it was — who? — Lincoln that did it before that. In any case, it is rare and it is serious. Each is cornered and there is no way out but the hard way.

        • #2868817

          General MacArthur, however. . . . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Precisely

          Openly defied and acted against President Truman’s explicit orders. McCrystal, on the other hand, merely expressed an opinion to a reporter. (Not to excuse such voicing of opinion, but to only note the difference.)

          And Lincoln, I believe, fired more generals than we can count – finally settling on my very own G-G-G-G Uncle, U.S. Grant (Yes, he really was.)

          P.S. I really like Truman, by the way. (And I grew up not too far from his home in Independence, Missouri.)

        • #2868814

          I specially liked him

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to General MacArthur, however. . . . . .

          For the roll of toilet paper he kept on his desk.

          Everybody uses it, he said; even, Maxwell.

        • #2868811

          hmm that could be where the expression

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to General MacArthur, however. . . . . .

          opinions are like a$$holes, everyone has one and they usually stink. got it’s inspiration. 😀

          Truman’s roll of TP. 😀

          edit for typo

        • #2868809

          A boyhood regret (in hindsight)

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to General MacArthur, however. . . . . .

          I could have literally, without a doubt, taken the city bus (or asked my parents to take me) from my home just across the Missouri/Kansas state line to Truman’s home in Independence, Missouri (probably ~25 miles), knocked on the door, and sat on the former president’s front porch to pass the time, chew the fat, etc., with Harry S Truman.

          I sure wish I would have done that.

          I don’t agree with all of his policies, but I sure like the moxie he had.

        • #2870715

          Maxwell: You’re a Scion then?

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to General MacArthur, however. . . . . .

          Are you related to the Edison too?

        • #2870750

          Mature vs. matured.

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to All too many people use . . . . .

          This boy here, he’s been sitting on the shelf maturing for 35 years. Not quite there yet.
          See? Maturing is a process, it leads towards a goal, an achievement.
          Being in the process doesn’t guarantee ever making it to the destination, just like clambering up the side of Mt Everest holds no guarantees to making it to the top.

    • #2868826

      of course he/she can.

      by jaqui ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      if the general has never seen action, or been outside of a major homeland military base it’s possible.

      problem is, you don’t get 4 stars with no military action or overseas deployments without having someone pulling ropes and calling in massive favors / debts.

      • #2868824

        And consider this

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to of course he/she can.

        The 4-star general in question is exponentially more qualified to voice an opinion and/or assess a war-zone situation that just about everybody currently associated with the White House.

        Hint: if you had a war to fight – and win – who would you turn to? General McChrystal or ANYONE in the Obama Administration?

        I’ll choose the general.

        • #2868815


          by jaqui ·

          In reply to And consider this

          unless that extremely unlikely chain of circumstances occurred, yeah, so would I.

          we have proof that mental competence [ or lack thereof ] is not an important factor to be the CinC of the US Forces. [ Bush jr. 😀 ] So it’s not completely beyond the realm of possibility that there is someone similar within the US Forces right now. 😀

        • #2868813

          A Question for you Max

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to well

          who is the CinC for the Canadian Forces?
          [ hint, it isn’t the Queen or Prime Minister ]

        • #2868812

          A difference between GWB and Obama regarding the generals

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to well

          I might suggest that GWB asked the generals what they needed to accomplish the defined mission (and then provided it), while Obama told the generals what they had to work with to accomplish a non-defined mission.

        • #2868810

          that is eassily understood though

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to A difference between GWB and Obama regarding the generals

          Bush, for all his shortcomings as a President, does have active military experience, Obama doesn’t

        • #2868798


          by jackofalltech ·

          In reply to that is eassily understood though

          Unfortunately, President Obama has no experience in ANYTHING except campaigning.

        • #2870912

          Wrong Bush

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to that is eassily understood though

          Bush I had WWII active duty experience. Bush II had combat-free reserve experience, none in a leadership position, and there’s some question as to his participation. It’s certainly more than Obama has, but nothing like his father’s.

        • #2870732

          Ah, but you forget

          by delbertpgh ·

          In reply to A difference between GWB and Obama regarding the generals

          “GWB asked the generals what they needed to accomplish the defined mission (and then provided it)…”

          Remember General Eric Shinseki, chief of staff of the army? He said what was needed to occupy Iraq, i.e. several hundred thousand troops, and was fired by Rumsfeld for screwing with Rummy’s weirdly optimistic war plans (a hundred thousand to start, and under 30,000 by the end of twelve months.)

          Obama seems to have kept a much more realistic idea in his head of what war is for, and has been more responsible about giving his generals freedom of action, than was that bold amateur, George W. Bush.

        • #2868803

          Even though

          by nexs ·

          In reply to And consider this

          I sit a long flight away from the US, I think it’s commonsense worldwide.
          Sure, being in such a high position(the general in Afghanistan), it’s got to be known that any expressed opinion they make will be publicized. But that being said, an opinion is still simply that. Something said by someone about something. It doesn’t actually affect something which has already happened. Firing someone because their opinion has upset them is the epitome of un-professionalism. It also holds a level of hypocrisy.

          Though the comments that I’ve read, spoken by McChrystal’s ‘aides’ were leaning very heavily on the side of ‘slander’ and ‘rudeness’, I believe that military issues should be dealt by the military.

        • #2868802

          Including, you say

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to Even though

          The plan I intercepted via Secret cable that McChrystal was about to depopulate the mountain range between Afghanistan and Pakistan with a series of neutron weapons, and from there to turning Pakistan into a glass parking lot?

          With no oversight?

        • #2868801

          There’s definately oversight

          by nexs ·

          In reply to Including, you say

          Even my far superior looking-glass didn’t see that one. Your secret cable must be genuine.

        • #2868800

          You land good on your feet

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to There’s definately oversight

          It’s why I enjoy flucking with you.

        • #2870724

          the General

          by xnavydk ·

          In reply to And consider this

          But he has to do what he is told by the very people we know are not qualified to make a decision, there is no win in afganistan.

        • #2870708

          That is where the assumptions come in

          by jdclyde ·

          In reply to And consider this

          As if Obama wishes to “Win” the war in the first place. Don’t you recall his discomfort with the idea of a victory?

        • #2870914


          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to And consider this

          “Hint: if you had a war to fight – and win – who would you turn to? General McChrystal or ANYONE in the Obama Administration?”

          Since any replacement will be coming from the upper echelons of the Army and not from the administration, the question is irrelevant. That said, I don’t see anyone in the past three administrations I think could have handled the job except Colin Powell. (I’m appalled by the lack of military experience at all levels of both the legislative and executive branches for the last fifteen or twenty years, but that’s another topic entirely.)

          The place to raise questions in the planning sessions. Once a commander gives his orders, be he a squad leader or the CinC, duty requires a servicemember to follow them to the best of this ability. Obviously changes in the situation may require taking other actions, hence the old military axiom, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.” The place to raise subsequent concerns is directly to the commander, not in a public forum. Unlike a private or seaman, a four-banger has the option of resigning; if McC felt strongly that he couldn’t support the policy, he should have left the service BEFORE opening his mouth.

          As a service member I would have followed the orders of the Sect’y of Defense and the President as required by my oath, regardless of my perceptions of the capabilities of the people in those offices.

    • #2868799

      Not in my estimation

      by tig2 ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      But it appears that a President can be.


    • #2870800

      Well, he can be wrong.

      by charliespencer ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      I don’t go with ‘immature’, but I can agree with ‘poor judgment’. Not necessarily in what he said, but in his choice of forum to say it and his choice of phrasing. It’s one thing to express such opinions with your staff and comrades-in-arms; we all did it. It’s another to trot them out in front of a reporter.

      We had a Lt. Gov. here running for Gov. who lost in the recent primary. He had some potentially appealing approaches to welfare and unemployment, but his comparison of the poor to stray dogs looking to breed ruined any chance he had of getting his message across. It reminded the voters of his previously demonstrated inability to express himself in a way that would unite people behind his ideas instead of splitting them into opposing factions.

      I’m not sure why McC agreed to this in the first place. The purpose of the military is to carry out policy, not to debate it in public forums, and questions regarding those policies should be referred to the civilian authorities. Interviews like this one should be granted after leaving the service, and McC has been in long enough to know that. Unless removal is his goal?

      Nothing in the above paragraphs should be interpreted as a call for his resignation or removal. I think he stepped on it, but I don’t think it was bad enough to affect his ability to lead. It’s possible to oppose a policy while effectively carrying it out. Whether one should do so is a personal decision, with resignation as an option; and whether one should tolerate an employee who openly criticizes policy while carrying it out is also a personal decision that has removal as an option.

    • #2870789


      by pser ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      some of the “remarks” he (and his fellow Officers) made, coming from someone else, in a different “job” … I would call “immature”. I mean REALLY “did you say bite me” … “be sure not to get any of that on your leg”, sounds pretty immature to me.

      What do you suppose would happen to someone serving under the General, making the same statements to a reporter, about the General?

      It may be a “job” but it’s the Military, there is a chain of command and as such this is nothing less than insubordination and conduct unbecoming of an Officer.

      Like him or not (your case NOT) President Obama is the Commander in Chief. The General was WRONG on many levels, plain and simple.

      Have a good Day Max.

    • #2870780

      The General was certainly naive

      by neilb@uk ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      but – at least as far as I’ve read this story – most of the criticism of Obama and his administration has come from McChrystal’s aides and none from the General.

      I have to wonder if Obama is playing politics, keeping the General on the defensive with the sole aim of reducing any public disagreement with Obama’s future Afghan withdrawal strategy. If this IS the case then you may just find you’ve lost your top man in Afghanistan. He’ll probably resign.

      Like a lot of the crap levelled at BP, Obama’s actions and rhetoric achieve nothing positive; it’s all political puff aimed tomake Obama look like he’s doing something about issues that he cannot control.

      I had high hopes for BA but he’s becoming quite a disappointment.


      • #2870767

        Article 133

        by pser ·

        In reply to The General was certainly naive

        “McChrystal and his staff had imagined ways of dismissing Vice President Joe Biden with a one-liner as they prepared for a question-and-answer session in Paris, France, in April.”

        “‘Are you asking about Vice President Biden?’ McChrystal says with a laugh. ‘Who’s that?'”

        “‘Biden?’ suggests a top adviser. ‘Did you say: Bite Me?'””

        “I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team, and for the civilian leaders and troops fighting this war and I remain committed to ensuring its successful outcome,” McChrystal said in the closing to his apology.”

        McC and his staff had “imagined ways” but has “enormous respect”?

        • #2870753

          So? What do you want from a General?

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to Article 133

          Can’t say I know enough about Biden to decide whether he’s worth his Oxygen but I do know that I’d like my Generals to be adept at killing the enemy and saving the lives of my troops. Other than that, I couldn’t really care.

        • #2870745

          A general must defer to civilian authority

          by delbertpgh ·

          In reply to So? What do you want from a General?

          Once you let generals rebuke civilian leaders, you run this risk of turning your democracy into Franco’s Spain or Pinochet’s Chile or Turkey of the last 50 years. Military men are the ultimate public servants, but when they govern from the barracks, they lead as an interest group, not as a corps of politicians who balance the diverse needs and purposes within the nation.

        • #2870739

          I don’t dispute that at all

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to A general must defer to civilian authority

          The General has been extremely naive in this whole affair. He should have kept his mouth shut and those of his aides very much so.

        • #2870742

          But part of that job is to obey their superiors

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to So? What do you want from a General?

          That is fundamental to the maintenance of discipline. If a General can get away with criticizing the commander in chief, then the officers below him may think they have the same license, and down the line it goes. If the General can diss the commander in chief and get away with it, can the private diss the sargeant?

          And the offences went beyond a disagreement about policy. It was numerous instances of lack of respect. In front of a journalist, diplomats, government officials, VPs etc were mocked. This is a serious judgement issue.


        • #2870736

          Oh, I know

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to But part of that job is to obey their superiors

          I was, I’m afraid, stirring the pot a little.

          The General has been naive, stupidly so. What on Earth were his press aides doing? I mean, Rolling stone? Why?

          I still can’t find anywhere that McChrystal has, himself, been quoted being critical of the President or his policies.

          I’m still waiting to se what happens, though, as this is going to be a kicking about the Rolling Stones article an NOT the rising death toll in Afghanistan.

      • #2870717

        The universal constants…

        by ansugisalas ·

        In reply to The General was certainly naive

        Mortgage payments hurt, whatever the interest rate.
        Politicians suck, whatever their creed or color.
        Any others?

        • #2870672

          You could check it out with

          by j-mart ·

          In reply to The universal constants…

          The British Empire of Victorian times and the 1980’s Soviet Russian Army on the pitfalls of tying to defeat Afghanistan tribesmen in a war. Maybe he wanted an easy way out.

        • #2870872


          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to You could check it out with

          I’d agree with that notion.
          From Vietnam the US learned not to take over a conflict that the French have given up on.
          I do hope they’re not going to go through the whole list now. What would be next? Chechnya?

          But he should’ve just declared victory and … wait, no, that’s been tried.

          Bah. They just have to do it the old-fashioned way. Arm the locals into militias, foment rivalries between them, and then tip-toe out.

      • #2870706

        A growing theme

        by jdclyde ·

        In reply to The General was certainly naive

        “achieve nothing positive” is associated with Obama at every turn.

        Heck, he even refused to use a Presidential order to change the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” Presidential order. Instead, he punted to Congress and hid behind red tape. Could have been changed the first day he was in office, but he refused to do it.

    • #2870760


      by locolobo ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      McChrystals knew what he was doing. Maybe he thought it was worth his job to force the issue. No way of knowing, but..

    • #2870759

      Until I read the articles, I would have agreed

      by jamesrl ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      This goes much deeper than an off the cuff remark. The reporter was with Mccrystal’s team for weeks.

      While some of the immature remarks were merely attributed to the general by his staff, the General has to take the rap for the attitude shown by his staff. As a manager, my staff reflect on me, and I am judged by their performance. Generals aren’t different.

      The big underlying issue is respect. Clearly the general and his staff demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the President, VP, Ambassadors and just about every government person involved in Afghanistan.

      In any private company, a senior VP saying things like that about the CEO would be fired without a second thought.

      My father in law was a officer who worked with many government officials, including Rumstead and Al Haig. He was quite opinionated to say the least, but he knew enough not to share those opinions with the press, or allow his staff to do likewise. Once you are retired, you can write a book and tell it your way. While you are actively serving, you either understand military discipline and don’t diss your commander in chief, or you leave.

      Having said all that I agree with a commentator I saw this morning that says that this is a no win for the Obama White House. It distracts from the mission. If Obama lets him off with an apology, he looks weak, and that reinforces many people’s perception of him when it comes to military matters. If he fires him, he has to look at how he managed him in the first place. Its a failure to have gotten to this point, and no matter what the outcome, its a failure.


    • #2870751

      One word

      by ansugisalas ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      And that is “LeMay”.

      • #2870707


        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to One word

        History proved LeMay correct. It’s too early to tell in this case who, if anyone, is right.

        • #2870693

          On which one?

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to Hindsight

          I refer to the repeated “If we hit them ruskies with ALL of our nukes now, we’ll win! We’ll win!”.
          How many Presidents he tried that one with?
          And no-one proved him right.

        • #2870917

          You typed ‘Lemay’, but I read it as ‘Mitchell’.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to On which one?

          You typed ‘LeMay’, but for some reason I read it as ‘Mitchell’. I thought you were referring to Mitchell’s then-controversial position that airplanes could sink battleships, that air superiority trumped naval power. Please excuse my brain-dump.

        • #2870871


          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to You typed ‘Lemay’, but I read it as ‘Mitchell’.

          I guess that’s the closest LeMay has had to a fan in a long time :p

        • #2870666

          LeMay? Correct? Hah.

          by delbertpgh ·

          In reply to Hindsight

          LeMay looked at the greatest military on earth and saw in it the means to win decisively for the greatest nation on earth. Victory was only withheld by people who did not have the vision or courage to seek greatness. (Or who were greatness-hating communist types, which is about the limit of detail on LeMay’s political reasoning.)

          About what was he correct? He certainly knew how to forge and use a strategic bombing force. He was incapable of understanding why, or why not, to use it. He’s the perfect example of a military man who should NOT have political power.

    • #2870740

      You had an “immature” President for 8 years…

      by fregeus ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      ..why not a four star general???


    • #2870738

      Obviously, yes.

      by delbertpgh ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      If a president, governor, or senator can be immature, why not a general?

      The job description of a general in the U.S. is to work for the elected political authority of the land, i.e. the president. McChrystal has tremendous authority and latitude to make and execute policy within Afghanistan, which is a privileged position, but doesn’t grant you the public powers of, say, Senator DeMint. Military leaders are not allowed to say any damn thing they please, because they can quickly become a center of executive power contravening that of the president, and of the American people who elected him. If you have a president who is worried about a coup, or just political sabotage from power centers within the military, he won’t feel free to use and direct the armed forces. They would become a power acting in their own interests.

      A general just has to know when to shut up. He can grumble about politicians over drinks with his buddies, but he can’t run his headquarters with everybody feeling free to gripe about leadership, and he certainly must not publish his detailed complaints in the popular press. Losing track of you mouth like that is immature.

      I can’t compare him to MacArthur. Mac was literally defying orders, attempting to ignite a wider war onto Chinese territory, and entertaining invitations to run for President. McChrystal is just griping.

      • #2870676

        But if he wasn’t just blabbering boyishly…

        by delbertpgh ·

        In reply to Obviously, yes.

        It could be that McChrystal wanted to get himself fired. It’s kind of a stretch to believe he got to where he is without exercising control over his mouth. Some people are even suggesting he was trying to tell some truths so that the war in Afghanistan could be saved from treacherous and spineless Obama people. However, to believe that explanation, you’ve got to face other contradictions:
        1) He didn’t propose any changes to strategy, other than dumping on his enemies; so how does this advance the war?
        2) He falls on his own sword, and destroys his reputation, because he’s supposedly selfless (Four stars and no ambition? Be real.)
        3) He came to think the war is hopeless and cannot imagine a solution, but cannot imagine pulling out, so thus became clinically depressed. (Now THAT’s almost plausible.)
        4) If Obama and his team are trying to sabotage a war they have no faith in, why did they go against the majority opinion in the Democratic party and commit so much to this war?

        Nope, on further reflection, I can’t see a better explanation than that the guy got to thinking he was special and invulnerable, and that a talented interviewer got onto his good side, and the blabbermouth who complained all over his headquarters about his superiors started spewing to the nice young man and his tape recorder.

        After all, if we think back to Bill Clinton, we have a Rhodes scholar and the most talented politician of his generation, who couldn’t resist the impulse to go squirting on a slightly chubby college-aged intern. Or Mark Sanford, an equally promising politician, who believed he could keep elaborate transcontinental trysts with a mistress a secret. Or Donald Trump and Ron Blagojevich, who both think they look good under their haircuts.

        Immaturity is there, in all men, waiting to leap out and destroy them. You’ve got to fight it every day.

    • #2870700

      I hate politics

      by tink! ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      politics are so full of hypocrisy that it makes my brain hurt. Therefore I avoid politics.

      Anyone in a public position should know better than to state opinions publicly. Whatever they say can, and will, be used against them. So they HAVE Freedom of Speech but must face the impending consequences of what they say and therefore must censor themselves to NOT say whatever things might come back to slap them in the face.

      Is the general immature? Not compared to many adults I know!

      • #2870696

        Yup, Politics and Religion

        by pser ·

        In reply to I hate politics

        They walk around thinking they’re better than me and you … Then they get caught in a motel room doing what they said not to do.

    • #2870697

      McChrystal Relieved of Command

      by charliespencer ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      CNN is reporting he was relieved this morning. One wonders if that was his goal all along.

      • #2870691

        I have to wonder

        by jck ·

        In reply to McChrystal Relieved of Command

        He can know all sorts of things, but not who the strange guy being allowed into his entourage from Rolling Stone is?

        If not immature, he is incredibly naive and/or ignorant of what reporters generally do…which is print what sells the most copies of their publication.

        I don’t see the reporter from Rolling Stone making any friends at the Pentagon…or winning a Pulitzer very soon either.

      • #2870685

        I’ve been wondering the same thing

        by netman1958 ·

        In reply to McChrystal Relieved of Command

        McChrystal had to know all of this was going to be printed and get back to the administration. If he was trying to get hisself ousted he couldn’t have done a better job. Makes you wonder if he offered his resignation or insisted on it.

      • #2870661

        I’d like to hope so

        by nexs ·

        In reply to McChrystal Relieved of Command

        Because, to me, it sounds equally ‘immature’ to fire someone because of conflicting opinions.

        • #2870915

          Nay, not so.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to I’d like to hope so

          Your profile doesn’t mention if you have any military experience, but one of the key principles in the US military is it works for and is subordinate to the civilian authorities. This is emphasized from Day One of boot camp, and drilled into young officers from the beginning of their careers. There are portions of US military law that cover criticism of leaders while in service.

          At that level, offering a conflicting opinion during strategic and planning sessions is expected as a responsibility of the job. However, once a strategic policy has been set, it is a duty and a requirement to do one’s best to carry it out. Publicly questioning those policies undermines them in the eyes of both the public and military subordinates, and clearly doesn’t contribute to executing the policy. It can also lead to subordinates questioning YOUR orders.

          But even in a civilian context as someone else put it, would a CEO tolerate a VP who public criticized his major decisions? It’s okay to question them behind closed boardroom doors, but in the annual report?

    • #2870678


      by ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      I think the immature person here is President Obama. We now know he’s got a big Ego. That was fast if you compare it to his oil spill response.

      • #2870657

        You mean?

        by nicknielsen ·

        In reply to no.

        [i]We now know he’s got a big Ego. [/i]

        You didn’t know this before? Haven’t been paying attention, have you?

        • #2870654

          Thank you captain….

          by mr_m_sween ·

          In reply to You mean?


          He has an ego that drove him to be the leader of an entire country. I dont even have to define the particular ‘he’ I’m refering to, it is universally applicable. I think the only President that we ever had that didnt particularly want the job was Washington. Everyone else has stood in front of a nation and said “I should be in charge” I cant even think of a better definition of ego.

        • #2870645

          The president’s ego

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Thank you captain….

          You’re right, it doesn’t matter which name is behind the title; it does take a pretty big ego to think one’s self as capable of being President of the United States.

          I make the distinction, however, between two possible definitions of [i]ego[/i] (my own definitions, not dictionary definitions); one being an inflated sense of self-importance, while the other is a high level of confidence in one’s own ability to achieve, to lead, etc.

          One is usually looked upon favorably, while the other is not.

        • #2870643

          One usually

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to The president’s ego

          Can be pricked and deflated easily. The other cannot.

        • #2870639

          Excellent point! (eom)

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to One usually


        • #2870638

          As soon as I hit Submit

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to Excellent point! (eom)

          I found myself wondering which one.

        • #2870834

          Hah! Good call.

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to Excellent point! (eom)

          People immune to realizing their own limitations are dangerous indeed.
          On the other hand, even the most capable can become demoralized, their ability becoming impaired. That’s what the pep-talk is for, right?

        • #2870637

          Which is quite a predicament

          by nexs ·

          In reply to One usually

          Seeing that the favourable of the two is the fragile of the two.

        • #2870911


          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Thank you captain….

          Gerald Ford, who didn’t want to VP, much less sit in the big chair.

    • #2870631

      I think his behavior is very curious

      by av . ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      I wouldn’t say immature or poor judgement describes it; I think he wanted out but the Obama Administration wouldn’t let him leave. Why else would a four-star general open up to a reporter from Rolling Stone in that manner? Nothing else makes sense.

      A four-star general doesn’t make mistakes like that. He knew exactly what he was doing and that Obama would have to replace him to save face.


    • #2870929

      Well, you voted Obama in to give you “change”

      by neilb@uk ·

      In reply to Can a career four-star general really be “immature”?

      and you are surely getting it!


      The “you” in this case is a plural pronoun indicating the electorate of the United States rather than the singular “Maxwell” who was a little unlikely to have voted for the current President.

      More seriously…

      it is just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. Wars in Afghanistan have been unwinnable for all of recorded history and you, the US, have VietNam as an example of just how bad things can get. Why do we never learn?

      The US will leave Afghanistan once the number of troops killed becomes politically unacceptable to the government. I would guess that it’s already unacceptable to the population – it certainly is over here. All that CAN happen is a redefinition of the “win” to allow us all to leave. I would support Obama in having some sort of exit strategy – any sort of strategy at all! – but I just wish he’d be honest about it.

      British soldiers are losing their lives because the perceived gains in remaining “allies” of the US are greater than the effects of our unilateral withdrawal from the alliance in Afghanistan. Politics at its most simple.

      The majority of the British population analyse Afghanistan simply and see British body bags in an unwinnable war for a goal that we don’t believe was ever achievable. But we can’t leave until you do because, looked at dispassionately, the current level of British troop losses and the disquiet that it causes here is preferable to the economic and political fall-out that there would be were we to unilaterally withdraw and abandon the US.

      But we KNOW that there is no win.

      • #2870925


        by nicknielsen ·

        In reply to Well, you voted Obama in to give you “change”

        [i]…there is no win. [/i]

        Extrapolating to the entire “war” on terror (so many stupid flippin’ wars on whatever, the word has lost its meaning), the only way to win is to develop an economical fuel source that isn’t oil, then pull completely out of the Middle East, taking our money and going home.

        Of course, as long as fuel prices in the US are held artificially low, that’s not likely to happen.

      • #2870908

        I can’t help but wonder

        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to Well, you voted Obama in to give you “change”

        about our ‘success’ rate in Afghanistan had we focused on it and not diverted resources to Iraq. I think our chance of ‘winning’ would have been better.

        On the other hand, we’re not fighting a conventional war. Both the current and previous administration are defining ‘success’ and ‘winning’ in pre-Sept 11. terms. Another old axiom, “The military always fights the last war” was certainly applicable for the first few years of both operations. These aren’t wars of conquest, and the capture and holding of land doesn’t have the significance it did fifty years ago. Yet I was still participating in division-level command exercises that focused on controlling territory when I retired in late 2002.

        I also can’t help but notice a total lack of sacrifice on the part of the civilian population, and the complete lack of leadership requesting / requiring such sacrifices. Compare the impact of our southwest / south central Asian operations on our civilian populations with those of WWII. Doing so assumes you can find a present-day sacrifice to compare.

        • #2870905

          What do YOU define as ‘winning’, Palmie?

          by neilb@uk ·

          In reply to I can’t help but wonder

          Or anyone else for that matter.

          Me? I have absolutely no idea how we get out and leave the place any less awful than it was when we went in.


        • #2870897


          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to What do YOU define as ‘winning’, Palmie?

          My short answer is that I agree with you.

          I wouldn’t have gone into the ‘Graveyard of Empires’ in the first place, at least not in force or with the goal of regime change. Other than Bin Laden and his boys, there was nothing of strategic interest in the area; there still isn’t. I would have lobbed ordinance at Taliban strongholds as detected until intelligence assets stopped detecting them.

          Now we’re in a no-win situation. We gain nothing strategically by keeping troops on the ground that can’t be accomplished with air power and remote assets. We can’t pull the troops out because we’ve made them the only stabilizing influence. We’re unwilling to accept the stigma of the inevitable chaos and return to the default feudal state that will accompany our withdrawal. We’re perplexed by a populace doesn’t care about having democracy or a central government.

          We made this bed and now we’re stuck in it. I currently define ‘winning’ as withdrawing with the minimal additional disruption to lives of the Afghan people.

        • #2870876

          Wesley Clark would disagree I think.

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to Me?

          Not sure if he does now, but he advocated a balanced approach of ground and air forces back in the balkans.

          I really do think the US should stop thinking that anything at all can be achieved with air power and remote assets alone. It’s like trying to do home improvement using only a big powerdrill. Of course, you also need to learn not to stick your heads in the wrong hatches.
          So I agree with your final analysis.

          Saddam tried his damndest to vulcanize central government into a similar demographic… and it doesn’t work.

          In afghanistan Reagan cultivated a snake-farm (and that effort included sending Osama “the patriot” in there), now you’re trying to undo that.

Viewing 15 reply threads