Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan– Michael Hastings (Blue Rider Press)

If you believe:

  • That terrorism should be dealt with as a law enforcement matter…
  • That you can use diplomacy and negotiate with terrorists…
  • That the treatment of prisoners during interrogation at Abu Ghraib amounted to heinous acts of torture…
  • That politicians and diplomats have all the answers….

Then this book is for you.

The Operators is Michael Hastings’ book length adaptation of his Rolling Stone magazine article entitled The Runaway General, which profiled General Stanley McCrystal and caused the firestorm that led to McCrystal’s sacking from his role as commander of the Afghanistan operations.

Of course to buy into the story, you would have to buy into Hastings contention that General McCrystal and his team, are the first members of the military that ever blew off a little steam and chose to disagree with their boss, in this case President Obama and his policies. Hastings seemed genuinely shocked that McCrystal and his pals would occasionally consume large quantities of adult beverages and bad mouth the boss and tell a few bad jokes.

Hastings seemed concerned about the honor of no less an intellectual heavyweight than Vice President Joe Biden from being labeled Joe “Bite Me”. Imagine the outrage…soldiers who swear, drink and drop F-bombs! Oh the humanity!

After reading The Operators I can’t help but wonder what the Pentagon leadership is thinking when they delude themselves that they can win friends and favorable coverage by allowing access to clearly liberal reporters like Hastings and equally liberal outlets like Rolling Stone. That magazine came of age during the Viet Nam war and while society has evolved, Rolling Stone has remained firmly implanted in the mindset of mistrust of the military and anything but liberal socialist government.

Hastings disdain for the military seeps through in his writing despite his desire to be a part of the action and fit in with the people he writes about. I can’t quite shake the image of Jack Nicholson’s monologue from A Few Good Men with the line about wanting him out there on that wall…Liberals love to disparage the military at the same time they enjoy and indulge in the freedoms that the military fights to preserve every day.

Hastings seems to have three guiding forces at play throughout the book; he is first and foremost a liberal. Second he is clearly a supporter of Hillary Clinton and is influenced by the Clinton doctrine – that treats terror a legal rather than military issue, that would have us go back to the do nothing approach to dealing with terror where we try diplomacy and to buy our friends. Third, he supports Obama, but only because he sees the President as a fellow traveler while clearly questioning whether President is Liberal enough.

The only real revelations to come out of The Operators was the sickening fact that the Pentagon was actually considering awarding a medal for “courageous restraint” to members of the military who put themselves in harm’s way, but rather than taking out a threat with force they held back. The clear stupidity in this thought process would have lead more often than not to this being a posthumous award. It isn’t now, nor has it ever been the charge of the military to restrain themselves; their purpose has been twisted over time by Liberal outcry.

The second revelation is that even in war torn Afghanistan the Obama administration feebly clings to the ridiculous notion of so-called “green energy” as Hastings describes the Afghan disgust over a $1.9 million solar panel array that ‘didn’t work.”

No comments: