Monday, October 05, 2009

Beta Male Obama and His Alpha Male General: Reason #497 for Not Voting an Inexperienced Neophyte into the Office of POTUS

Barack Obama is having some serious issues with his general in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. This comes from Jules Crittendon at Forward Movement in his article "Chaos-istan": The big question now is whether this is going to be about Obama’s ego, or about winning in Afghanistan. If any general is so ill-advised as to shoot his mouth off, this business may also teach the administration something about blowing off generals at (unnecessarily extended) criticial moments and insisting that political parameters trump military ones in wartime.

The London Telegraph is reporting that McChrystal angered Obama with his blunt and plain speech. I'm only guessing here, but I'm thinking that Obama rarely if ever is confronted by anyone speaking bluntly and plainly to him. On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh said that the lamestream media has been "overprotective" of Obama: "Just as quarterbacks are sometimes overly protected by overdiligent referees blowing the whistle too soon and therefore hurting the game, so too will the insane media protection of Barack Obama, this country's rookie, undrafted quarterback who played five minutes of one game hurt the country."

It's important to remember that General McChrystal is Obama's hand-picked man to lead the fight in Afghanistan. Someone in Obama's administration, an unnamed source, is actually wondering out loud to the press if McChrystal is "naive or an upstart." McChrystal, four star general, graduate of West Point, commander of Special Forces, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, commander of Joint Special Operations Command, now commander of Afghanistan forces is the naive one--you know, the guy who leads 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and 100,000 Nato forces--he's naive, according to some snot-nosed source in the White House hiding under his anonymous desk who himself has probably never before been off a sidewalk. Good Lord. You'd just like to see some of these people around Obama get publicly bitch-slapped.

In his London speech last week, McChrystal clearly let it be known that he disagrees with that great military strategist, Vice President Joe Biden. Following the plan favored by Biden would, McChrystal said,  lead to "Chaos-istan." When asked whether he would support a strategy switch to more missile strikes and special forces against al-Qaeda, McChrystal said, "The short answers is, no." He went on to say: “Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support.”

So the White House is angry that their general in Afghanistan is standing up and leading the way, providing clear and direct opinion about how best to win the war. General McChrystal delivered his report to the White House recommending more troops on August 31. The 66-page report was subsequently leaked and reported by Bob Woodward. At a White House press briefing today, Press Sec'y Robot Gibbs said that a decision about sending more troops "is a number of weeks away."

Obama knows how to get himself elected to a job, but like in his two positions as Senator, one at the state level and one at the federal, he has never really demonstrated that he can learn how to do the job he was elected to do. That was one of the biggest concerns expressed about Candidate Obama--rather than working at a job and learning what he could from it, his history has been to use a new job as a stepping stone to another, bigger job. Well, I'm pretty sure that the job of King of the World isn't open, so it seems like what Obama really ought to do is settle down and do what he can to learn how to be President of the United States. He could do worse than start with some leadership lessons from former General Colin Powell. [Where the heck is he these days, anyway?]
  1. Never be afraid to make people mad.
  2. The day soldiers stop bringing questions to you is the day you have stopped leading them.
  3. Don't be buffaloed by experts and elites.
  4. Don't be afraid to challenge the pros, even in their back yard.
  5. Never neglect the details.  When everyone's mind is distracted, the leader must be doubly vigilent.
  6. You don't know what you can get away with until you try (Obama can leave this one out--he seems to have learned this one too well).
  7. Keep looking below surface appearances.
  8. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.
  9. Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, your ego goes with it.
  10. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.
  11. Have fun in your command. Take leave when you've earned it. Spend time with your family.
  12. Command is lonely.
There's an article at the American Thinker today by Greg Lewis titled "Did We Elect a Beta Male as President? Lewis writes: While we've all been seeking a political rationale for the president's actions, his behavior goes beyond the political to something deeper and more personal: like all beta males, Barack Obama simply does not have the temperament to confront tyrannical alpha males around the globe.

Obama has had some bad weeks lately where, to all appearances, the common denominator is that he seems in over his head. My guess is that Alpha males like General McChrystal don't bring out the best in Beta male Obama. He would do well to get out of his way and let the professional soldier do his job.

As always, my prayers go out to the troops and to their families waiting for them to come home.

Oh, and P.S. The attendees at the Beer Summit at the White House got 15 more minutes of face time with Obama than his General did.

Update: An excellent article from The New Republic by William Galston: "How Soon Liberals Forget: Is McChrystal the New Shinseki?"

Update #2: An article from the Wall Street Journal dated 10/7/2009: "Obama and the General: The White House finds a four-star scapegoat for its Afghan jitters" Though a decorated Army four-star officer, the General's introduction to Beltway warfare is proving to be brutal. To be fair, Gen. McChrystal couldn't know that his Commander in Chief would go wobbly so soon on his commitment to him . . . .The President's very public waver is already doing strategic harm. The Taliban are getting a morale boost and claiming victory, while our allies in Europe have one more reason to rethink their own deployments. Such a victory, as the head of the British army Sir David Richards warned on Sunday, would have an "intoxicating effect" on extremist Islam around the world.

In an interview with Newsweek, Gen. McChrystal said he wouldn't resign if the President rejects his request for more troops. If he were really trying to dictate policy, he'd have given a different answer. But we don't think Gen. McChrystal should stay to implement a Biden war plan either. No commander in uniform should ask his soldiers to die for a strategy he doesn't think is winnable—or for a President who lets his advisers and party blame a general for their own lack of political nerve.

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