General Stanley McChrystal screwed up. Big time. There is no other way to put it and it’s a shame. In a series of interviews with Rolling Stone magazine the General spoke more frankly than he should have. He let his personal feelings about his boss, the Commander-in-Chief President Obama and a few others on his national security team be known. This should have never happened that’s for sure. Now General McChrystal is on his way to the White House, quite possibly to be fired. That is a bigger shame.
President Obama is the only Senator to have voted against the Iraq War. He has never supported the American war effort. He has even actively undermined the efforts of General McChrystal by not deploying all the troops he requested, setting arbitrary timetables and forcing overly restrictive rules of engagement on our troops. Other members of the President’s party and administration have also done their absolute best to undermine the American war effort as well. But for a professional soldier like General McChrystal that should not matter. His job is to do the best he can with what he has. It’s a shitty deal sometimes when politicians pretend to know more about everything than those who spent a lifetime learning their trade. This is especially true when it comes to war fighting where bad decisions on the part of politicians get soldiers killed. But that is our system. It’s designed to keep the military from challenging our elected civilian leadership.
General McChrystal’s comments fell short of insubordination or dereliction of duty but they were embarrassing for everyone involved. With a thin-skinned, weak politician like Barack Obama that is just the excuse he needs to “kick some ass”. A real leader would have correctly summoned the General home. By doing so you are showing everyone who the boss is. He would also make it clear that the General was being given the sternest possible public reprimand. He deserves it. Then a real leader would realize how important General McChrystal is to our efforts in that part of the world. A real leader would force the General to take a few weeks off while his status was “reviewed”. Then a real leader would hold a press conference where he explains that he and General McChrystal have had a serious conversation. That the General unequivocally supports him, his policies and those civilians appointed above him. He would emphasize that our mission in Afghanistan is bigger than some poorly thought out comments.
General McChrystal would then thank the President for being given a second chance to complete the vital mission he has been given on behalf of the American people. He would pledge his total support and the support of everyone in his command toward achieving the stated goals of the mission. It’s a classic case of showing everyone who is boss and saving face at the same time.
My gut feeling: Obama fires him outright.