Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The coming conflagration By Kamran Shafi

The coming conflagration By Kamran Shafi
Dawn, Tuesday, 29 Jun, 2010
But first to Gen Stanley McChrystal who was always quite a favourite with me if only because he understood that if innocent lives were lost in the struggle against terrorism some form of apology, if not outright recompense, were immediately in order.

So, there he was, this rough and ready general, standing on the doorstep of those who had been affected, saying sorry. He was there too, his lean and businesslike look for all to see, leading his men from the front.

But, to say what he said must have taken some brass, some idiocy! “Biden who?” about the vice president; likening Holbrooke to a wounded animal and the president’s national security advisor Gen James Jones to a joker or some such; and describing certain events in barrack language which does not bear repeating in this family newspaper.

As someone has already said, McChrystal’s shooting off at the mouth could be a direct result of his being exposed rather a lot to Pakistani generals who say what they want when they want with complete and utter abandon. And, as we say in the vernacular ‘take their eyes out’ (aankhein nikaltay hain) at any ‘bloody civilian’ who dares question their pronouncements.
We must note here and now the shameful way in which, barring DawnNews, not one TV channel spoke about the message that President Obama’s firm and correct handling of McChrystal’s shooting off at the mouth should have immediately sent to the Pakistani civilian leadership and to Pakistani army generals: that this was the only correct and appropriate way of dealing with insubordination. Instead, all we saw were a few senior pundits tiptoeing around the issue as if they were ballerinas dancing on broken glass.

What makes this so much more important is the fact that the completely unmilitary and ill-disciplined way in which our prima donna brass hats, a most appropriate term used by President Truman for Gen Douglas MacArthur when MacArthur attempted to become emperor of all he surveyed and was sacked for his pains, behaved at the time of the announcement of the Kerry-Lugar Bill far surpassed anything McChrystal said or did.

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