August 1, 2010  

Blind arrogance

TO ARROGANCE. The most far-reaching and damaging comments in Rolling Stone’s profile of Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal were not his dismissive attitude toward the vice president and other Obama administration officials, but rather his contempt for America’s foreign partners. “How’d I get screwed into going to this dinner?” he asked in his four-star Paris hotel room before dining with a French minister. He and his staff mocked the dinner as “Gucci” and “gay,” sounding more like middle-schoolers than America’s best and brightest. As commander of the International Security Assistance Force, it was McChrystal’s job to sell his war strategy to allied leaders, which is why he was sent to Paris. America is certainly bearing the heaviest burden in Afghanistan, but it is not alone. In June, the deadliest month of the war so far with 101 combat deaths, some 43 of the dead hailed from our NATO allies. Keeping the fragile coalition together is a critical part of the job. The irony is that McChrystal fully recognized the necessity of respecting Afghan cultures as part of his counterinsurgency strategy — yet was blind to the need to extend the same respect to our European allies.