MacArthur and McChrystal. Clark and Ridgeway. Algerian and French birthrates. Sean Penn and Hugo Chavez. Ben Stein and BP, and more!
Re: Jeffrey Lord’s MacArthur Defeats Truman: The Real McChrystal Message:
A nit and a riposte to Jeffrey Lord’s interesting comparison of Truman-MacArthur to Obama-McChrystal….
The nit: It was Gen. Matthew Ridgeway whom Truman sent to replace MacArthur in April 1951, not Mark Clark—who succeeded Ridgeway two years later, and signed the cease-fire in 1953.
The riposte: May I suggest that McChrystal is not MacArthur, and Afghanistan is not Korea? Our country in those palmy days was all behind victory in Korea. Barely half of us are for winning in Afghanistan. What the two situations have in common is insubordination of a commander to his civilian chief — and on those merits Obama like Truman will inevitably be judged right. Undoubtedly, to many in the military, the Administration is not up to the job. But there are right ways and wrong ways to express that, and spewing frustration to left-wing journals who wish only for retreat is the wrong way.
I am writing a piece comparing this to Churchill sacking Wavell and Auchinleck from the Middle East Command in 1941-42 — even more of a stretch, since all three had high regard for each other. The most striking comparison there is how our standards have deteriorated.
Wavell and Auchinleck, as Churchill wrote, placed themselves “at the disposal of His Majesty’s Government.” They continued to serve honorably as soldiers or statesman until their postwar retirement.
Apparently the President offered no alternative appointment to McChrystal, as Churchill did with Wavell and Auchinleck.
We must assume it was not Obama’s opinion, as it was Churchill’s, that “We cannot afford to lose such a man from the fighting line.” So McChrystal is expected to leave the Army, have a lucrative speaking tour, write a book with a hefty advance, and perhaps go into politics. (If the last, he might reflect on what happened to candidate MacArthur.)
The lessons taught by Churchill, Wavell and Auchinleck
about loyalty to one’s chief, and to one’s country, remind us
that standards once taken for granted are now almost extinct.
Perhaps General McChrystal will defy the odds, but the
circumstances of his dismissal give us nothing to rejoice
— Richard M. Langworth CBE
Moultonborough, New Hampshire
Richard Langworth is right about the nit….It was Ridgeway first, then Clark. I sped to the end without stopping to explain Ridgeway first.
As to the clanger, I would disagree. The comparison here is not McChrystal to MacArthur. While I suppose it’s arguable, I think the era of great astride-the-globe generals ended with World War II. No one since (other than MacArthur in Korea) in any conflict comes close, in my mind, to the giants that were MacArthur, Ike, Patton, Marshall, Bradley etc.
The comparison I was focusing on was not Korea and Afghanistan, but the battle against Communism and Islamic fundamentalism in general. The first struggle lasted from the 1940s to the 1990s. The second, actively operative post-9/11, is a bare 9 years old. Like the first, it has its peace movements and pacifists. It will ebb and flow. But I do believe that every time an “incident” occurs attention concentrates — and surrendering to Islamic fundamentalists under those circumstances is never on the table. Certainly the idea of electing any majority of Americans perceived as willing to surrender to those who wish to impose sharia, keep women uneducated, and essentially convert the country into an Islamic fiefdom where gays are executed etc. is just not in the political cards. While a modern McGovern or McCarthy (Gene) can and surely will win elections from time to time under these circumstances today, as with the Cold War, no one who campaigns in a fashion in which they are perceived by all as urging surrender will ever win an election that has any significance. Even Obama is sending the drones.
Alas, I do think we have a loyalty problem in today’s culture. Something to work on.
As some Englishman once said: “Never give in. Never, never, never, never…”
An inspiration beyond compare.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online