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From Great Man to Great Screwup: Behind the McChrystal Uproar

Norman Salomon @ Common Dreams - When the wheels are coming off, it doesn't do much good to change the driver.

Whatever the name of the commanding general in Afghanistan, the U.S. war effort will continue its carnage and futility.

Between the lines, some news accounts are implying as much. Hours before Gen. Stanley McChrystal's meeting with President Obama on Wednesday, the New York Times reported that "the firestorm was fueled by increasing doubts -- even in the military -- that Afghanistan can be won and by crumbling public support for the nine-year war as American casualties rise."

It now does McChrystal little good that news media have trumpeted everything from his Spartan personal habits (scarcely eats or sleeps) to his physical stamina (runs a lot) to his steel-trap alloy of military smarts and scholarship (reads history). Any individual is expendable.


Like thousands of other U.S. activists, I've been warning against escalation of the Afghanistan war for a long time. Opposition has grown, but today the situation isn't much different than what I described in an article on December 9, 2008: "Bedrock faith in the Pentagon's massive capacity for inflicting violence is implicit in the nostrums from anointed foreign-policy experts. The echo chamber is echoing: the Afghanistan war is worth the cost that others will pay."

The latest events reflect unwritten rules for top military commanders: Escalating a terrible war is fine. Just don't say anything mean about your boss. Read more.

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