By Andrew Krystal -
Intemperate remarks by General Stanley McChrystal (no relation) in a Rolling Stone article have created a firestorm not seen since the days of McArthur and President Harry Truman.
But both the Afghan war and the Korea war share something: frustration.
Then, General McArthur was encouraging the use of the atomic bomb on North Korea and the Chinese. This time, McChrsytal and co. simply reflect the growing frustration with Washington, the diplomatic corp. and folks like Vice President Joe Biden who don’t subscribe to McChrystal’s counter-insurgency strategy.
The Afghan mission is at an important stage with summer offensives and Canada has invested — and still invests — lots over there in terms of blood and treasure and each Canadian has a stake in how Afghanistan turns out.
The problem is Afghanistan is now America’s longest war. The goal posts of victory there constantly move, and it is, perhaps, even less winnable than Vietnam. The ARVN, (the Army of the Republic of Vietnam) was a better partner for the U.S. than the Karzai regime has been for NATO. While improvements are being made to the Afghan army, it is not soon enough, or deep enough.
And as ugly as Korea was, General McArthur had an easier time with the Chinese and North Koreans than McChrystal has had with an Afghanistan where there are no uniforms, just a sea of unending tribal and religious strife, a Medieval war waged with modern weapons for Medieval ideologies and ends.
Perhaps General McChrystal’s biggest frustration is not that he would love to trade places with McArthur, but that General Stanley McChrystal is a time traveler and the hour glass — for everyone — is running out of sand.
Andew Krystal is the host of Maritime Morning, News 95.7 FM, Rogers Radio. He is now contributing his blogs to Thursday Night Magazine.