Tuesday, June 22, 2010

What is General McChrystal's Motive for Allowing this Insane Article to Go to Press?

General Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, made explosive, negative anti-Obama comments. The general and his team knew they were on the record when they made every one of their explosive comments. The editor of Rolling Stone said today, "They knew when we were on the record. They said a lot of stuff to us off the record that's not in the story. We respected those boundaries. This was all when they knew they were on."

In the article, General McChrystal and his aides speak negatively of Vice President Biden, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, National Security Adviser General James L. Jones, Richard C. Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, an unnamed minister in the French government, and President Obama himself. What startled me about the article is the sheer irreverence the General had for some of the duties he, as a general in charge of leading a war effort, was expected to perform. In the article, he is portrayed as a brash "regular guy" who hates anything fancy (restaurants, food, shoes, clothes, movies, alcohol), rife with profanity, the middle finger, raunch and no one can kick his ass.
Mainstream, liberal and conservative websites have all condemned the General's judgement in allowing and approving this article for publication. Many of the conservative sites condemned McChrystal for allowing this type of interview in a "Liberal Rag" and also for saying he voted for Obama. Both sides are angry he violated UCMJ rules - criticizing the President and Congress, and for "letting loose" in the middle of a war.

I cannot imagine WHY the General allowed this interview. He approved it. He knew the firestorm it would create. I used to have utter respect for Gen. McChrystal. I saw his interview on "60 minutes" and he seemed so knowledgeable, patriotic and logical.

The general fired his PR Aid that set up this article with "Rolling Stone." McChrystal has apologized for what he called a mistake reflecting poor judgment. "I extend my sincerest apology for this profile," the statement said. "It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never have happened."

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out why he would do this. He had up until the time they went to press to rescind his approval of the article, but he let it go through. What can he possibly gain from this insanity? He is a career man with an outstanding record. He will either be asked to resign or voluntarily resign, either way, in disgrace. There are only two possible positive outcomes:
1. He never has to return to Afghanistan
2. He has a face to face meeting with the President -- but why would he want to be face to face with a man he criticized? Hmmmmmmmmm.....

1 comment:

ultima said...

He has no choice about the face-to-face. He was ordered to appear. He said he would not offer his resignation. I think his reputed practices of sleeping only 4 hours a day, running 9 miles every day, and eating only one meal a day are affecting his mental faculties. If he has had a propensity to screw up like this in the past, he must have had some very important offsetting achievements to be elevated to the 4 star rank. I thought he was Obama's handpicked choice in the earlier shakeup of the military commanders involved.

Maybe McC is going to give Obama an earful about what is needed to be successful in Afghanistan and what the current problems are in the way the war is being prosecuted. He might as well if he is going to be cashiered anyway. No sense in letting this crisis go to waste. He needs to do a "Rahmer."

Although civilian control of the military is important, the civilians need to get out of the way once the job has been defined. There is some question about whether the job has been adequately defined and what will constitute success.

If I were Obama I would give the man one more chance but I would make absolutely clear that he expects him to show some respect for his civiian superiors and to never again indulge in any public criticism of any of them. I would do this primarily to avoid disrupting the current efforts in Afgh. and any adverse effects on troop morale if he were to be fired. I don't believe if McC was retained in his current capacity, that would be considered a sign of weakness on Obama's part. It would be a recognition that in a difficult war it is not desirable to remove a commander who is vigorously pursuing the mission he was assigned. If he screwed up militarily and was shown to be incompetent in that regard, that would be a different matter. In the meantime, I would make sure there is another general who is up to speed so he could step in immediately if McC steps on his tongue again. If that happened there would be no White House meeting. He would just be gone.

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