• Ryan Crocker Slips Quietly Away, Again

    June 3, 2012 // 4 Comments »

    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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