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General McCrystal challenges the President's authority; who will prevail?

By       Message Michael Payne       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   10 comments

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Americans await the decision President Obama will make relative to General McCrystal's proposal to send more troops to Afghanistan. Obama and McCrystal, the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, are locked in a test of power that will have monumental effects on America for decades to come. There are definite indications that Obama does not favor sending more troops, but the general may have cleverly maneuvered Mr. Obama into a no-win situation.

General McCrystal recently sent a formal proposal to President Obama in which he requested at least 40,000 additional troops for the Afghan conflict. The call for more troops is not the least bit surprising but the way he went about doing it is; he decided to take his request to the public before sending it to his Commander-in-Chief. Someone in his organization leaked the document to the Washington Post. Thereafter, he appeared on 60 minutes and then gave a speech in London about his Afghan counterinsurgency strategy. There is no question whatsoever that he is challenging this president's authority.

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The behavior and actions taken by our top commander in Afghanistan are very reminiscent of a similar scenario when, in April 1951, President Harry S. Truman removed General Douglas MacArthur from his command of the United Nations forces in Korea when that famous World War II general tried to use the national press to pressure Truman to agree to bomb Communist Chinese bases north of the Yalu River. Truman wasted no time and fired MacArthur, that famous and respected war hero.

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McCrystal, hardly of the public stature of McArthur, should read the accounts of this historical incident and decide if he wants to take a risky chance that might make him the modern-day MacArthur. He apparently has crossed the line between who makes the U.S. military policy and who is charged with carrying it out. President Truman, when faced with gross insubordination on MacArthur's part, wasted no time in sending him into retirement. So now we wait while Mr. Obama, who does not like conflict or confrontation, decides what to do about Afghanistan -- and, specifically, about his general.

Here's a quote made recently by Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former top adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell "We had this happen one time before, with Douglas MacArthur" -- the right-wing general who was fired after he defied President Truman over the Korean War in 1951".

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This is an extremely serious situation just as it was back in 1951. America stands at a critical crossroads and we had better make the right turn because of the great impact it will have on the future of our nation. While Mr. Obama is taking a long, deliberate look at the pros and cons involved, as he certainly must, he is taking all kinds of flak from right wing conservative war hawks in Congress, the military and the national media. They want him to accede to the general's request and do it immediately.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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