McChrystal Fired: Happy Taliban, Happy ISI

In an earlier blog post, before Obama fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, I said the US president had two choices: Accept McChrystal’s resignation and appear thin-skinned. Reject it and look like a wimp.

When Obama took the thin-skinned option, public opinion was surprisingly supportive about McChrystal’s ouster.

There are many reasons why kicking out McChrystal based on a shoddy piece of one-sided reporting, written in testosterone-driven prose and published in a pop-culture magazine was NOT a good idea.

The best reason is best described in the New York Times piece, "Pakistan Is Said to Pursue a Foothold in Afghanistan," by Jane Perlez, Eric Schmitt and Carlotta Gall.

Obama’s overreaction to published locker-room quotes has handed the Taliban, its al Qaeda friends and their Pakistani state intelligence backers their biggest PR coup in years.

Haven’t they always maintained that “the Americans” are too divided, too fractious, too encumbered by democratic forces at home to ever win this war?

The vanity contest – again

I can’t believe it. They did it again. When will the Americans ever learn?

Senior Afghan officials have announced that the much-awaited peace jirga scheduled for May 2 has been postponed until after Afghan President Hamid Karzai returns from his Washington trip next month.

All very well. Except that once again, a senior US official had announced this important piece of information BEFORE the Afghan government.

At a briefing in Washington on Monday, April 22, US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke rolled out the following dates at a press briefing. “President Karzai will be here [in Washington] May 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and leave on the 14th,” Holbrooke told reporters before adding that the peace jirga is “now scheduled for May 20th”.

The US had jumped the gun again, irking Afghan officials who said they had not taken any decisions a peace jirga postponement nor did they set a new date until Wednesday.

The message is clear: guess who calls the shots in Kabul.