Wednesday, June 23, 2010

McChrystal the latest casualty in the Dirty War of Afghanistan

The original article:

This mess about Gen. McChrystal is way overblown. If you read Blackfive or any other mil-blog you would come to conclusion that any officer above the rank of captain in that theatre has similar views to McChrystal on the civilian leadership in Afghanistan.. And any cadre of military men in Afghanistan, from the lowest boot privates to the COs, probably would express the same attitude and make the same snarky marks that McChrystal's inner circle did if given the chance. Obama and his diplomatic adjutants would have to be extremely thin-skinned to get offended by this interview.

The biggest mistake McChrystal made was putting his trust in a journalist who clearly had the sole intention of furthering his own career - even at the cost of McChrystal's. The whole media too is now after his head for some reason - Keith Olbermann last night even went so far as to quote the UCMJ about officers bad mothing the civillian leadership. I mean COIN is a dirty and costly and lengthy business with no guarantee of success but it did eventually succeed in Iraq.

I mean c'mon what does Olbermann or Michael Hastings or any of us know about the war in Afghanistan? McChrystal was the commanding general of Special Forces - the best of of the best. He made his whole career about unorthodox tactics, thinking differently, and speaking his mind. Maybe he overplayed the whole rebel-warrior thing for this reporter and deserves to be pegged back. But not lose his job.

McChrystal is not beyond, reproach far from it. His actions in the Pat Tillman case many view as reprehensible. But there are no clean-cut G.I. Joe heroes any more. All that stuff came to an end on 9/11.The War on Terror is about as dirty as it can get. And maybe McChrystal is just the guy for the job. His actions going after the insurgency structure in Iraq probably broke a lot of rules, but as one famous WWII admiral remarked "When the going gets tough they send for the sons of bitches." And he succeeded.

It's really ironic that neither Al Qaeda or the Taliban nor the despicable Hamid Karzai could cost McChrystal the most important job of his militrary career, but one Rolling Stone reporter. But that's the dirty war that's being fought today. Those are the rules of the game. Just like Vietnam the war is being fought and lost in the hearts and minds of the Afghan and American people. And one mistake in the eyes of hostile media can be more costly that a whole regiment of Taliban.

UPDATE: It's official - McChrystal's done.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cross of Iron

Caught this on TCM last night and I thought it was pretty damn good. I think this is the first WWII film I've seen from the POV of German infantry. It really takes you through the pathos and trauma of soldiers, especially in a desperate, hopeless situation like the crumbling German Eastern Front. It doesn't try to be ultra-realistic and historically accurate like Band of Brothers and modern war epics, but the story really isn't about the combat. It's mostly about ordinary men in an unnatural situation and the extremes they are driven to - both good and evil. It is ultra-realistic about the insanity of war. A lot of the stuff that's depicted, Saving Private Ryan and most American films wouldn't touch.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Friday, June 04, 2010

Filtering join/quit messages in Irssi

Even though I followed the instructions in the startup howto, I couldn't seem to filter all those join/quit and nick change messages in any of my channel windows just by setting /window level -JOINS -PARTS etc. This write-up shows you how: