Antiwar general has a change of heart?
It wasn’t something that got a lot of play in the MSM, but last weekend a major figure in the military anti-war movement came out in support of many of our Long War objectives. Writing on the American Thinker website, Rick Moran notes that retired General John Batiste apparently is switching his allegiance from the anti-war Votevets.org, where he was a member of the board of directors, to the supportive Vets for Freedom group. As evidence for Moran’s thinking, Batiste, as part of an op-ed in the Washington Post with Vets for Freedom head Pete Hegseth, noted:
We are veterans of the Iraq war with vastly different experiences. Both of us commanded troops in Iraq. We, too, held seemingly entrenched, and incompatible, views upon our return. One of us spoke out against mismanagement of the war — failed leadership, lack of strategy and misdirection. The other championed the cause of successfully completing our mission.
Our perspectives were different, yet not as stark as the “outspoken general” and “stay-the-course supporter” labels we received. Such labels are oversimplified and inaccurate, and we are united behind a greater purpose.
It’s time to discuss the way forward rather than prosecute the past. Congress must do the same, for our nation and the troops.
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Overall, the column was meant to tell recalcitrant Democrats who continue to hold funding for the Long War hostage to get with the program and united behind a cause. But with that advisory also came a message for the Bush Administration to begin working on the diplomatic side in Iraq as well as with Iran. Another point made by the duo is summed up thusly:
(O)ur military capabilities need to match our national strategy. Our military is stretched thin and will be hard-pressed to maintain its current cycle of deployments. At this critical juncture, we cannot afford to be weak. Numbers and capacity matter.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, America was not mobilized for the Long War. This was an opportunity lost, but it is not too late. Many Americans are frustrated by the war effort, the burden of which has been shouldered by less than one percent of our citizenry. Our country is accustomed to winning. We deserve a comprehensive strategy that is focused on victory and guided by decisive leadership. America must succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan, but we also cannot focus too narrowly on those conflicts. We need a regional and global strategy to defeat worldwide Islamic extremism to ensure a safer world today and for future generations.
Moran also cites a column by Weekly Standard writer Michael Goldfarb that agrees with his assessment. I’m not totally convinced yet, though. To me, time will tell if Batiste is truly changing his stripes or has a different agenda.
I regularly read American Thinker, but what jumped out at me about this particular article was the Votevets.org angle. Some of my readers may recall that the group sponsored a radio commercial for Wayne Gilchrest back around Labor Day. In fact, Batiste was the man who recorded the spot on Wayne’s behalf. Whether that will bend Gilchrest’s views on the conflict is doubtful – in fact, some of the items in the Post op-ed were among the things Gilchrest sought in the conflict. He just did not agree with the surge aspect, and some of us don’t forget these sorts of things.
Crossposted on monoblogue.