It's funny, sometimes you can really tell, just from the look on a guy's face, that he's crazy as a bedbug. I always found Stan McChrystal an easy diagnosis that way.
Everybody by now has read the Rolling Stone piece -- which is an enviably good read, I must say. My favorite bit:
"I'd rather have my ass kicked by a roomful of people than go out to this dinner," McChrystal says.
He pauses a beat.
"Unfortunately," he adds, "no one in this room could do it."
Let the record show this is a 55-year-old senior manager in a large corporation,
talking in a way that would embarrass an 18-year-old frat boy. What a weird strange
world the US military must have become, staffed in large part by serious cases of arrested development.
It's been pretty strange for quite a while, of course. The obvious comparison to McChrystal is Douglas MacArthur. First time as farce, second time as... as... what's downstream from farce? Sitcom, that's it. Sitcom. It even sounds like soldierspeak: SECDEF, CENTCOM, POTUS, SITCOM. Starring Bill Cosby as the President. Here's Dougie:
There was something so lovably naif about image-making in those days, wasn't
The interesting question, of course, is this: If any fool can plainly see, just from a picture in a newspaper, that Stan McChrystal was a first-class loon, how does it come about that Obie decided to make him Proconsul of Afghanistan in the first
Obie has placed a number of other obviously deranged individuals in positions of
authority and emolument. One might mention, off the top of one's head, Larry "El Puerco" Summers, Arne "Dotheboys Hall" Duncan, and Hillary "Whatever Israel Wants" Cllinton. So the McChrystal appointment can't be dismissed as a fluke. We're looking at a pattern here. These are the people he wants -- perseverative Mad Hatters. His idea of a military commander is a gaunt hagridden insomniac stunted psychic dwarf, permanently damaged as only an alum of some "elite" regiment can be. His idea of a diplomat is Lady Macbeth. His idea of an educator is a man who should be managing a Chicago slaughterhouse. His idea of an economist is... Larry Summers.
McChrystal, so far, is the only one who's actually dropped trou and shat on the
Oval Office carpet, however. Hmm. What do we make of that?
A fine old phrase, beloved by my hero Richard Nixon, creeps into mind here: "Crazy like a fox." I can't take credit for this hypothesis -- it floated across one of my lefty
I think it’s a brilliant move on McChrystal’s part. There’s no way he can achieve a real victory in Afghanistan. Why not play the tough guy, get himself
fired, and when things fall apart strut about claiming that had he been
allowed to run things victory will be assured.
The only thing I might object to in this otherwise brilliant insight is the slightly weaselly
phrase "real victory". The Empire is not going to see any victory in Afghanistan, real, unreal, virtual, or even colorable. But my correspondent has grasped the essence of the matter: Stan didn't want to be holding the bag when the spooks start scrambling from the embassy roof for the last chopper out of Kabul.
I suspect Mad Stan will have the last laugh.