I revised and extended -- way extended -- some of the thoughts in this post over at the Washington Independent after John McCain's stunt to compel McChrystal to testify flopped. And I think they're worth recapitulating. The New York Times, I think, fucked this story up, even down to a slight misquotation.While the Times quoted McChrystal saying, about his resource request, “I think if you don’t align the goals and the resources, you will have a significant problem. If we don’t do that, we will,” it left off the preceding part of his answer:I think any decision to go forward will not just be based on resources, it will be based on what are our goals. And I know people are re-looking what our goals and objectives are and redefining and clarifying those, and I think that’s helpful. Once they do that, I think the resources, of course, are linked to that, because obviously you have to have a ways and means match. So, I don’t think that if we align our goals and our resources, we will have a significant problem. Our problem would be as — if we didn’t.
Still not convinced? Want another quote? OK: “This is a necessary process we go through so we come to a clear decision, and then move forward, and I think once we make that decision — once he makes that decision, in concert with our international partners — then I think we’ll be in a much stronger position.”
Or how about this? When asked if he would “circumvent” some caveats placed by European parliaments on the use of their troops, he said, “I’m certainly not going to circumvent any political leadership, because at the end of the day, political leadership and the people are who I work for, and I’m proud to do that. I think the more deliberations we have, the more debate we have, the healthier this is gonna be. Because at the end of the day, we would be in much worse shape to have a decision made without that level of public debate.” You listening, Karl? Because McChrystal rebuked your old boss, not his current one.
With this added context its hard to draw any conclusion other than the one Spencer has already come to in that the New York Times DEFINITELY fucked this up. The problem of course is that in this point in our history our mainstream media sucks to the point where instead of other outlets rushing to fact check the Times' story, they just picked it up and ran with it. I am sure the added dimension of having a "juicy" military versus the President story was also a part of the motivation. Spencer is actually doing a public service here by pointing out the fallacy of the premise of the meme which has now become almost conventional wisdom My hat is off to him for that but the work he is doing, while outstanding, should be the rule and not the exception. At the least it should be what other media outlets strive for but I see no evidence of that anymore.