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McChrystal: Americans Must Serve the State

McChrystal: Americans Must Serve the State

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
January 26, 2011

For anyone who might have thought General Stanley McChrystal and Barack Obama no longer saw eye to eye, it might surprise them to read McChrystal’s recent article, “ Step Up For Your Country,” published in the January 31 issue of Newsweek. For all the hype having to do with McChrystal being relieved of command, it seems the General and the President have more in common than the average television watcher might think. That is, at least when it comes to implementing civilian labor programs along the lines of Joseph Stalin or Mao. The illustration to the right is an interesting choice to represent McChrystal’s article in Newsweek, as it echoes the very same work camp and civilian service propaganda posters of former totalitarian regimes.

In his op-ed piece for Newsweek, McChrystal makes the case for the creation of a national civilian service program and laments the fact that we have “allowed the obligations of citizenship to narrow.”

McChrystal writes, “’Service member’ should not apply only to those in uniform, but to us all . . . the concept of national service is not new, nor is it outdated.” Of course, the General is correct in this assessment, as dictators from all political backgrounds have found “national service” to be an indispensable tool of tyranny.

He goes on, “All of us bear an obligation to serve – an obligation that goes beyond paying taxes, voting, or adhering to the law. America is falling short in endeavors that occur far away from any battlefield: education, science, politics, the environment, and cultivating leadership, among others.”

This obligation, which McChrystal defines as “community responsibility,” goes beyond merely providing services to the community. In the end, he writes, “ . . . we must understand that our real objective must be in shaping Americans. We must build into our society, and into ourselves, a sense of ability and responsibility.”

One would be justified in asking who is this “we” whose real objective is shaping Americans? To be sure, if Americans wanted to shape themselves they would be able to do so without their government forcing them wouldn’t they? If Americans have decided that, as a country, they would prefer not to accept these “responsibilities,” then their government would be operating openly against the will of the people. Either way, it is clear that “we” does not mean “we the people” and, instead, “we the controlling elite.”

If one were wondering exactly what this “community responsibility” would entail, McChrystal provides a definition. He writes:

    We must recognize that service is typically doing things that you would not choose to do, but that must be done. It can be rewarding; it can also be difficult, onerous, and even dangerous. It cannot rely on short-term volunteers any more than our independence could be won by the people Tom Paine termed ‘summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.’ It must have people with a firm commitment, backed by a society that values their contribution.

First, it should be pointed out that in the quotation McChrystal utilizes, Tom Paine was in no way referring to forcing Americans to engage in work projects. In fact, Paine’s position was quite the opposite of the McChrystal’s.

Second, McChrystal’s definition of service is steeped in Orwellian doublethink. If service is “doing things that you would not choose to do,” then it is no longer service. Serving without one’s choice or consent is therefore slavery. Interestingly enough, the term service is derived from the Latin servus which means “slave.”[1]

Third, it is important to note McChrystal’s claim that service can be “difficult, onerous, and even dangerous.” This sounds a bit different than Habitat for Humanity or teaching in low-income communities. One must wonder exactly what kind of “service” McChrystal has in mind for the useless eaters that will be working beneath him.

Barack Obama famously called for a program of national civilian service in a campaign speech two years ago that drew a great deal of attention. Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel echoed his desire for a domestic work and re-education program as well.

McChrystal concludes his article by claiming that “we” will realize “we” have succeeded when “new graduates of high schools and colleges talk with each other about how, not whether, they will serve America.” In this statement, Gen. McChrystal is quite correct. Unfortunately, we will know that America has officially been turned into a tyrannical and dictatorial state who is as dead and lifeless as all of its historical and current parallels.

You Will Serve Obama’s Civilian Army

Obama’s New National Military Draft

 



Obama Urged to Rally Support for War

Obama Urged to Rally Support for War

Wall Street Journal
September 7, 2009

The White House is facing mounting pressure from lawmakers to work harder to rally flagging public support for the war in Afghanistan.

With casualties rising, the administration is struggling to persuade voters that the war can be won or is worth the human and financial costs. Afghanistan is President Barack Obama’s top foreign-policy priority, but recent polls show that a majority of voters oppose the war for the first time since the conflict began eight years ago.

The politics of the war are getting trickier for key American allies as well. A junior minister in Britain’s Ministry of Defense resigned Thursday, criticizing his government’s strategy in Afghanistan on the eve of a major speech by Prime Minister Gordon Brown about Britain’s efforts there.

In the U.S., a growing number of lawmakers say that Mr. Obama needs to make the case for Afghanistan more forcefully — and more frequently — than he has done to date.

“The president, unfortunately, because of the crush of everything else, hasn’t talked about Afghanistan all that much,” said Sen. Bob Casey, a centrist Democrat from Pennsylvania, in an interview. “There’s so much on his plate that it has an adverse impact on his ability to spend enough time on Afghanistan.”

The president’s most extensive recent comments about Afghanistan came in an Aug. 17 speech to a Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Phoenix, where he devoted less than three minutes of a half-hour speech to a conflict he described as “a war of necessity.” Since then, most of Mr. Obama’s public remarks have focused on health care.

White House officials said there were no plans for Mr. Obama to address the Afghan war in a major speech in the near future. Tommy Vietor, an administration spokesman, said that “the president talks about Afghanistan all the time.”

“There are a lot of critical issues the president deals with every day, and a lot of critical issues he talks about,” Mr. Vietor said. “Afghanistan is on the top of his list.”

Still, a raft of recent polls shows that support for the war is falling rapidly, especially among Mr. Obama’s core Democratic and independent constituencies. A CNN/ORC poll late last month found that 74% of Democrats and 57% of independents opposed the war, dragging overall support for the conflict down to 42%.

The CNN poll found that Republican support for the conflict was holding solid at 70%, highlighting the awkward fact that Mr. Obama’s strongest allies on the war are Republican lawmakers who oppose most other parts of his agenda.

“If the president asks for more troops based on the recommendation of the commanders in the field, I expect virtually every House Republican would support the increase,” said a GOP leadership aide. “This is a fight that will be almost entirely among Democrats.”

Some Republicans say they wish Mr. Obama would make a stronger case for the U.S. role in Afghanistan. Asked recently on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether the president had sufficiently explained U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, Sen. Richard Lugar (R., Ind.) said, “No.”

“The president really has to face the fact that his own leadership here is critical,” said Mr. Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations panel.

The Afghan war’s shifting political fortunes could make it harder for the administration to sell the public on the need for further expanding the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

Mr. Obama has already agreed to send 21,000 American reinforcements, pushing U.S. troop levels there to a record 68,000, and the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is expected to ask for tens of thousands of additional troops later this month.

Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates sounded more amenable to such a request than he has in the past. “I’m very open to the recommendations and certainly the perspective of Gen. McChrystal,” Mr. Gates said.

The White House’s relative silence on Afghanistan comes as a surprise to many military and civilian officials at the Pentagon, who witnessed firsthand in 2007 and 2008 how the Bush administration employed Gen. David Petraeus as an effective public advocate for the Iraq war.

Gen. Petraeus, then the top U.S. commander in Iraq, testified at high-profile congressional hearings and regularly addressed large audiences at think tanks and other public venues.

The appearances helped to shore up flagging congressional support for the Bush administration’s handling of the conflict, and to prevent lawmakers from making a serious push to force a drawdown of troops.

“There’s a blueprint for how to do this,” a senior defense official who began serving in the Pentagon during the Bush administration said in an interview. “The Bush team knew that Petraeus was a great public face for the war, and they put him out there as often as they could.”

A second senior military official said he believed the Obama administration erred earlier this week by failing to publicly release a new strategic assessment of Afghanistan prepared by Gen. McChrystal. The official argued that a public presentation of the new commander’s strategic vision would have helped rally support for the war effort.

“Americans want to see a plan and how we’re going to achieve success,” the official said. “We owe it to them.”

Gen. McChrystal’s gloomy assessment was classified only at the “confidential” level, rather than the more sensitive “secret” or “top secret” classifications, meaning it could have been easily scrubbed for public release.

Mr. Gates told reporters that he was comfortable with the administration’s efforts to rally support for the war, and said Mr. Obama’s public explanations of his strategy for the conflict had been “crystal clear.”

“The nation has been at war for eight years,” he said. “The fact that Americans would be tired of having their sons and daughters at risk and in battle is not surprising.”

Anti-war groups turn against Obama after Afghan surge