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Sacking McChrystal: Testimony to a Lost War

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Sacking McChrystal: Testimony to a Lost War - by Stephen Lendman

On August 10, 1997, in The New York Times Magazine, David K. Shipler headlined, "Robert McNamara and the Ghosts of Vietnam" saying:

Looking back, one of the key war architects admitted "how dangerous it is for political leaders to behave the way we did" about a war that shouldn't have been fought and couldn't be won.

In his 1995 book, "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam," former Defense Secretary McNamara wrote: "....we were wrong, terribly wrong. We owe it to future generations to explain why."

In 1965, he knew the war was lost and said so, telling Lyndon Johnson: "I don't believe they're ever going to quit. And I don't see....that we have any....plan for victory - militarily or diplomatically," spoken as he began escalating dramatically, knowing the futility and criminality.

Johnson was also uneasy, telling his close friend, Senator Richard Russell, that he faced a Hobson's choice saying: "I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't," the former being impeachment if he quit, the latter certain defeat that destroyed him. After three heart attacks, he died a sick, broken man, four years after he left office, two days before Richard's Nixon's second inauguration, a man soon to face his own moment of truth, omitting what should have brought him down and his successors.

America's Longest War - As Unwinnable as Vietnam, Reshuffling the Deck Chairs to Delay It

McChrystal's out, Petraeus is in, New York Times writers Alissa Rubin and Dexter Filkins announced the switch June 23, headlining, "Petraeus Is Now Taking Control of a 'Tougher Fight," saying:

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He's taking over to execut(e) the strategy (he engineered) with Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal....directly responsible for its success or failure, risking the reputation he built in Iraq," not a winning surge, but by buying off Sunni tribal chiefs and key Baathists not to fight, a much tougher strategy in Afghanistan, the traditional graveyard of empires, defeating Alexander the Great, Genghis Kahn, the Brits and Soviets among others, America likely next, but will Petraeus be around when it happens. More on that below.

Waging a War on Terror

September 11, 2001 was the pretext for a global one, a so-called "just war" to defend America against "outside enem(ies)," manufactured to appear real - "radical Islam," including the Taliban, attacked on October 7, 2001, four weeks after 9/11, planned months in advance in anticipation of what then CENTCOM Commander General Tommy Franks called a "terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event," arousing enough public anger to launch it.

It's America's longest war under a president saying he'd end it as a candidate, then in office tripled US forces from 32,000 - 94,000, but promised to begin exiting by summer 2011. He just reneged, saying:

"We didn't say we'd be switching off the lights," adding that "we said we'd begin a transition phase that would allow the Afghan government to take more and more responsibility," meaning America is there to stay, by August at a planned 132,000 force level (and as many or more civilian contractors) under Petraeus, stepping down from his CENTCOM post to take command, perhaps unleashing greater than ever lethal force "until the insurgents are genuinely bloodied," the preferred New York Times strategy in its June 25 editorial, raising Gideon Polya's December 2009 body count of 3.4 million "post-invasion non-violent excess deaths" and another 1.1 million violent ones - genocide by any measure.

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Under McChrystal, it was death squad terror, mostly against civilians, what he was trained to do as head of the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), what Seymour Hersh called an "executive assassination wing" post-9/11, what Rolling Stone writer Michael Hastings called "a handpicked collection of killers, spies, geniuses, patriots, political operators and outright maniacs," Petraeus perhaps mandated to escalate with greater than ever counterinsurgency (COIN).

Yet America's longest war is unwinnable, according to McChrystal's Chief of Operations, Major General Bill Mayville, saying: "It's not going to look like a win, smell like a win or taste like a win. This is going to end in an argument," already a defeat, US polls showing growing numbers against it, what Ray McGovern calls "Vietnamistan," the analogy needing no elaboration, what looks like Obama's last stand, Petraeus his best shot according to some. For others, it's mission impossible, what no one in Washington will accept so war rages on without end.

Also the cost, Iraq and Afghanistan topping $1 trillion, or $1 million per soldier annually, plus tens of billions more in black budgets (one estimate saying over $56 billion a year) with no end of spending in sight, including hundreds of millions to corrupt warlords according to a June congressional Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform report titled, "Warlord, Inc., Extortion and Corruption Along the US Supply Chain in Afghanistan."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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