Given the reports about Gen. Stanley McChrystal's self-sacrificing personal regimen: four hours of sleep, one meal a day, rigorous exercise, it's hard to believe that he and his aides stumbled blindly into criticism of President Obama and his advisors. I mean: who would be dumb enough to talk to a free-lance writer writing for the liberal magazine Vanity Fair: someone with nothing to lose by breaking a confidence.
No. You have to believe that a man whose devotional exercises amount almost to mortification knew exactly what he was doing. The idea was to blow up the president's policy, knowing that the price of the explosion would be McChrystal's head on a platter.
So McChrystal took out a grenade, pulled the pin, and then jumped on it. It's the least he could do for the men serving under him.
In doing so, he puts the Obama administration between a rock and a hard place. Back in the 2000s Sen. Obama was part of the Democratic faction that accused the Bush administration of fighting the wrong war: in Iraq not Afghanistan. Obama ran for president on that platform. So President Obama found himself as president forced to go through the motions of caring about Afghanistan.
The plan was to do a surge, but not too much, and then start withdrawing troops by mid 2011, just about the time that the presidential campaign for 2012 would begin. Absent withdrawal from Afghanistan, Obama would risk an anti-war candidacy to challenge him from the left.
With his indiscretion, McChrystal has put the Obama Afghanistan strategy on the national radar, just where the Obamis don't want it.
If the Obamis fire McChrystal then they have to find another general to run the Afghan war and they have to do a deal with him, which might require more resources.
If the Obamis don't fire McChrystal then they show themselves as weak to the world.
But they also show themselves weak to their liberal base, and that is important to them.
One of the major liberal shibboleths is civilian control of the military. It's a big deal for liberals because they know that the military doesn't like them. At the back of their minds is the thought that the military might do a number on them, even a coup, so they have to show who's boss. You can imagine what liberals would think of a president that allowed a general to shoot off his mouth about the commander-in-chief.
This year, 2010, is going to be an annus horribilis for liberals, and I'd guess that 2011 and 2012 won't be much better. The reason is pretty simple. It is that liberals have gotten into power under a false flag. They don't believe in a strong defense, but they pretended that they did. They don't believe in God and guns and family, but they pretended that they did. They don't believe in the free market and people succeeding on their own, but have to pretend that they do. They don't believe in live and let live, but have to pretend that their national nannying is just for the children.
But when liberals actually get into power, then they haul down the false flag and hoist their real one, emblazoned with the motto: Big Government For Ever! Moderates--i.e., Americans not paying much attention to politics--are shocked. They upchuck at the next election.
The big question is: what comes after that? Bush or Reagan, or something new?
My vote is for a woman-centered, woman-led conservatism that changes the rigid administrative top-down welfare state into a social, convivial, cooperative, responsible society.