• Ryan Crocker Slips Quietly Away, Again

    June 3, 2012

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Iraq

    Antiwar.com’s Kelley B. Vlahos uncorks an excellent essay on the never-ending leadership transition in Afghanistan:

    Washington’s foreign policy elite loves to mock the overuse of the cliché “graveyard of empires,” but it seems as though the last decade of our increasingly failed bid in Afghanistan is littered with lackluster epitaphs for American generals, envoys and diplomats.

    The latest, of course, is Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who is leaving his post as early as July. Gen. John Allen, current commander of U.S. and ISAF in Afghanistan, will also be leaving, as well as Cameron Munter, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan. All three leave records of little renown (complete with shifting goal posts and neon question marks) and earlier than expected. Crocker exits after only one year on the job, Munter less than two and Allen, perhaps a record, announced his departure after only eight months on the job.

    Referring to the similarly short reigns of Gens. David McKiernan, David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, Spencer Ackerman of Wired’s Danger Room noted wryly of Allen’s early promotion to head the U.S. European Command, which will take him far away from the battlefield: “Afghanistan war commanders have tenures as long as Spinal Tap drummers.”

    The Crock has been an Administration favorite all through the years, and was well-loved by both Bush and Obama. Indeed, after Crocker as Ambassador to Iraq won that war personally, he was lauded as a “modern day Lawrence of Arabia.”

    Crocker’s tenure in America’s wars of choice in Iran and Afghanistan has been the subject of frequent fodder for this blog and others, as the guy just can’t stop himself from saying dumb things. It suggest perhaps Afghanistan might be better known in this century as the graveyard of assholes, as well as empires. But don’t listen to me, listen to Antiwar.com again:

    Turns out Crocker was just one in a line of diplomats who were put into a mission that was designed to fail, where professional legacies and even personal stamina appeared to wither over time against the perfidious Hamid Karzai, the labyrinth of Kabul’s corruption and always having to take the child’s seat at the military’s table.

    Read the entire piece on Antiwar.com. The Crock would want you to.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Janice said...


      “The Crock has been an Administration favorite all through the years, and was well-loved by both Bush and Obama. Indeed, after Crocker as Ambassador to Iraq won that war personally, he was lauded as a “modern day Lawrence of Arabia.””

      Well, anyone knowledgeable about the Middle East knows this is a dubious honour to be called a Lawrence of Arabia, and why people with regional expertise should be retained in government, not shown the door. For reasons that escape me, there is fear of people with regional expertise and perhaps it is easier to sideline such folks than to open a book or two and enrich one’s mind. What our officials say and do is followed by people in other countries, and think how this makes our leadership look

      06/3/12 6:17 PM | Comment Link

    • lafcadio said...


      It will only be a few months before you see the “Ryan Crocker Award” prabably for some bullshit like “Outstanding Expeditionary Diplomacy.” Hell, they named an award after Mary Ryan shortly after she was fired for lying to Congress about “Visa Express.”

      State Department celebrates the failures of its chosen elites.

      06/4/12 12:30 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Some former colleagues call Ryan Crocker “our T.E. Lawrence.”

      Yes, Peter, “a tool.”

      06/4/12 1:34 PM | Comment Link

    • Art Brennan said...


      Crocker is indeed a “tool.” I served as director of the short-lived US Embassy Office of Accountability and Transparency (OAT) in Baghdad, summer of 2007. I testified about Crocker and his ilk to the House and Senate in 2007 and 2008. Billions of dollars lost, stolen, and wasted–thousands of innocent Iraqi and American lives lost. Later, Obama went on to nominate Crocker for Ambassador to Afghanistan. Obama too, it a tool.

      06/7/12 1:19 PM | Comment Link

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