IMO, the information that has been revealed since the start of this saga reveals that although General McChrystal is a good general, he was a bad leader. While he might be a brilliant military tactician e.g., as evidenced by his performance with Special Operations in Iraq, that is not the same thing as being a good leader. Leaders need to work with people to align and sustain support. Disparaging people, even those with whom one has fundamental disagreements, destroys the leader's prospects of aligning or sustaining support. IMO, Harvard Business School professor John Kotter put it well when he wrote:
Aligning...is more of a communications challenge than a design problem. Aligning invariably involves talking to many more individuals than organizing does. The target population can involve not only a manager's subordinates but also bosses, peers, staff in other parts of the organization, as well as suppliers, government officials, and even customers. Anyone who can help implement the vision and strategies or who can block implementation is relevant.
The text that I underlined is vital. The effort in Afghanistan is a team effort. Richard Holbrooke, Amb. Eikenberry, and General Petraeus are all strong personalities with strong ideas. A fundamental challenge of General McChrystal's responsibilities was to be able to work effectively with that team. Disparaging key members of that team [Holbrooke and Eikenberry] either by General McChrystal or his core circle destroyed his ability to foster effective implementation of the strategy he designed.
In terms of leadership ability, General Petraeus is light years ahead. Today's edition of The New York Times highlights the contrast when it came to building working relationships with key players, reporting, "While his predecessor, General McChrystal, was on icy terms with the American ambassador here, Karl W. Eikenberry, General Petraeus forged a tight bond with his civilian counterpart during the Iraqi surge, Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker." Indeed, it is likely on account of that leadership ability that President Obama has developed sufficient trust and confidence to task General Petraeus with the difficult task of taking charge of Afghanistan.
Last edited by donsutherland1; 06-24-10 at 08:58 AM.
I stated when this first broke that the general screwed up and there was NO justiifcation and the consequences would and SHOULD be dire.
Now...you can IGNORE the comments...sure. The comments are critical of D'ohbama and his administration. But if you choose to continue to ignore the FACT that there probably is a REASON such contempt exists then you continue to put soldiers lives at risk.
Im not justifying his comments. Far from it.
Last edited by VanceMack; 06-24-10 at 09:02 AM.
absolutely supportive" of the agreed timeline. That the strategy may be working out in a fashion not envisioned by those who designed it has to do with the strategy's underlying flaws, the biggest of which I believe is its Kabul-centric orientation.
If one wants to go about suggesting modifications to the strategy are needed, there are much better ways to go about it than going through Rolling Stone and thereby poisoning working relationships with key players. But to do so, one needs to have the humility to acknowledge that perhaps others [in this case, Amb. Eikenberry] had better understanding of the underlying situation in Afghanistan and the courage to admit that things are not working as well as they should have been and to request mid-course adjustments. That's not what happened.
Initially, I thought the issue concerned bad judgment and favored retaining the general--so long as the key members of the team charged with Afghanistan retained sufficient trust and confidence in him to work together as a cohesive team--but prohibiting him and his staff from having any future media contact. Subsequent information reveals that one was dealing with a much larger problem than a simple act of bad judgment. Instead, one was dealing with but one example of a greater problem of bad leadership. Given the high stakes in Afghanistan, bad leadership is an intolerable situation that needed to be addressed decisively.
Last edited by Guy Incognito; 06-24-10 at 09:34 AM.
I believe McChrystal also had problems with the Marine commander in Helmand. The Marine commander was doing things his way...
Holy bat****. Seriously. You Just said "The Administration's responsibility is that it approved General McChrystal's strategy". Really? Thats BEING IN CHARGE? Is it a GOOD strategy? Is it working? Why is there animosity between the Afghan War commanders entire staff and the administration? Could there ACTUALLY be some fault in the administration that needs addressing???
Oh...we SEE the pattern. Obama is in charge of the gulf oil spill...has been since DAY ONE...OK...so its in its THIRD ****ING MONTH and its still gushing 60 THOUSAND barrels of oil a DAY...but they are IN CHARGE and giving BP what they want...And they are in charge of the budget. And spending. And unemployment. And the housing crisis.
OK...so Obama KEPT McChrystal and his inompetent policies and only booted him because he dared to be critical of his administration. Got it...
Ivve NEVER suggested his comments where excusable. I HAVE suggested that you MIGHT want to think outside of your tiny little box. Nah...never mind.