Kathy Kelly: the real offense in the McChrystal saga

Kathy Kelly, a co-director of Voices for Creative Non-Violence and a long-time anti-war activist and chronicler of what’s happening in war zones, was recently in areas of Pakistan that are regularly in the news, and she also spent some time in Afghanistan with members of an Italian relief organization. She’ll be writing about her experiences and observations for NCR in the near future.

I emailed her today to see what she thought of President Obama relieving Gen. Stanley McChrystal of his command in Afghanistan. Here’s her reply, one that you won’t get on this evening’s news:

“It seems to be rearranging the deck chairs. In the Rose Garden, President Obama said there would be no change in policy. Def. Sec. Gates replaced General McKiernan with Gen. McChrystal because he and others in the Obama administration wanted to employ McChrystal's experience in organizing special operations. In Iraq, that experience involved developing death squads, planning night raids, and coordinating undercover assassinations.

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"McChrystal has threatened U.S. national security by fostering, in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, conditions that build intense rage toward the U.S. Again and again, in the past year, he has given a wink and a nod to U.S. special operations atrocities and then stood before cameras and microphones to say, "We're sorry." He pretends to be interested in protecting Afghan people. He is reckless and duplicitous.

For these reasons, he should not be regarded as a leader and he assuredly shouldn't be advising world leaders. “Defense Sec. Gates, General Petraeus and President Obama, are just as culpable as General McChrystal for the killing, destruction, and criminality that goes on, every day, in Afghanistan.

"We shouldn't be lulled into thinking that the most serious offense committed involves a general and his aides making sniggering and critical remarks about U.S. officials. The real crimes committed involve killing innocent people, including children, and prolonging the agony of a war of choice waged by war profiteers.”

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