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Obama decision is McChrystal clear for all; LORNE JACKSON Tell Lorne what you think. Write to Lorne Jackson, Sunday Mercury, Fort Dunlop, Fort Parkway, Birmingham B24 9FF.

Byline: LORNE JACKSON

WE live in an undisciplined age.

Believe me, I know what I'm talking about. For the last twelve months I've been trying to force myself to diet.

It really was about time. My belly had become so huge and cumbersome that whenever I wanted to pull on my socks and shoes, I had to log on to Google Maps to locate my feet.

The diet started well, when I bought a book called 'How To Get Slim The Easy Way'.

I lost a few pounds immediately. Well, seven pounds ninety nine pence, to be precise.

When I got the book home, I eagerly opened it to page one, to discover exactly how easy this diet was going to be.

I had hoped it would involve plenty of Mars Bars and cheese and Onion Pringles.

Not a chance.

Instead, the book's author wanted me to eat less and exercise more.

An outrageous suggestion! In a fit of pique, I deep-fried the book, covered it in spray cream, sprinkled some sugar on top, then devoured it for lunch.

Though I didn't forget that I was meant to be watching my weight. So I also dropped a lettuce leaf on the plate, which instantly turned my snack into a salad, meaning it was probably rather slimming.

Following the advice of a dietician I once glimpsed lecturing on TV, I even left a portion of my wholesome meal on the plate.

The lettuce leaf, that is. As you can see, I am one of the few people in this slovenly world of ours who can truly say they know what discipline is.

I know it well enough to dodge it when I see it.

Stroppy However, I don't think anybody really expects me to have much of a backbone.

I'm a journalist, after all. And we hacks are as sloppy as we're stroppy.

But what has happened to the American military? Those guys have never been known for being weak in any way.

Okay, they were a bit sluggish when it came to getting involved in World War II. But that was only because they were waiting for McDonald's to be invented, so they could enjoy a decent hamburger when they arrived in Europe. But I can't think of any excuse for the behaviour of General Stanley McChrystal, the man who was President Obama's top general in Afghanistan before getting the boot.

So what was McChrystal's crime? Did he plot a military coup, so he could oust Obama and become President? I'd probably have some respect for him, if that was the case.

At least it would have involved forethought and planning. It might have been the result of hubris and over-arching ambition. Not bad qualities to exhibit if you're a military leader.

Unfortunately McChrystal was fired for being a gossip. For acting like one of those fishnet fagmouths on Coronation Street, who yack across the clotheslines.

Stanley gabbed non-stop to Rolling Stone magazine.

In the published article, he disparaged the political team leading the US war effort in Afghanistan.

How can a military leader be expected to demand order and clear-headed focus from his men, if his own runaway tongue hasn't even enjoyed the benefits of boot camp? Sloppy Stanley's mouth was an unruly subordinate, and it had to go - along with the rest of Sloppy Stanley.

Looking at the other side of the war in Afghanistan, I note that there are plenty of plonkers in the Taliban, too.

They're a sexist, bigoted, backward bunch, with an ideology straight out of the Middle Ages.

But at least they don't chat to pop music magazines.

At least I don't think they do. Or maybe I missed the Kandahar edition of the NME, where Osama Bin Ladin picks his favourite singles.

I can just imagine that interview...

Osama: "Well, I just adore '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction' by The Rolling Stones.

"It's jaunty, singalong attack on the infidels, and their love of Western consumerism.

Really floats my boat.

"Unfortunately, The Stones are despicable infidels, themselves, who must burn in the fiery flames of hell.

"Though it would be rather nice if they could have a few more number one hits, first..."

General McChrystal took on the job in Afghanistan to fight for freedom.

Sometimes that means the freedom to make a silly ass of yourself in a magazine interview.

However, the President of the United States also has the freedom to kick the ass of the silly ass.
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jun 27, 2010
Words:746
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