Patterico's Pontifications

6/22/2010

McChrystal Heads Home

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 6:59 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

General Stanley McChrystal is headed home to meet with the President following the publication of his controversial interview in Rolling Stone. The question is whether he’s home for good given excerpts like this on McChrystal’s view of Obama:

“Even though he had voted for Obama, McChrystal and his new commander in chief failed from the outset to connect. The general first encountered Obama a week after he took office, when the president met with a dozen senior military officials in a room at the Pentagon known as the Tank. According to sources familiar with the meeting, McChrystal thought Obama looked “uncomfortable and intimidated” by the roomful of military brass. Their first one-on-one meeting took place in the Oval Office four months later, after McChrystal got the Afghanistan job, and it didn’t go much better. “It was a 10-minute photo op,” says an adviser to McChrystal. “Obama clearly didn’t know anything about him, who he was. Here’s the guy who’s going to run his fucking war, but he didn’t seem very engaged. The Boss was pretty disappointed.”

This is the story of the day. Heck, of the week.

Marc Ambinder has more on what Allahpundit calls the “poisonous” McChrystal/Eikenberry relationship, the Administration’s response to the interview, and McChrystal’s last-ditch retreat.

– DRJ

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: The .pdf of the article itself is here.

I guess McChrystal found the one way to get face time with Obama. Maybe they can talk about the war while he’s there.

(Just kidding. They’ll talk about what’s really important: the White House’s image.)

UPDATE BY PATTERICO x2: InstaAnalysis from InstaGlenn: “[T]he punchy tone of the McChrystal quotes, coupled with Gen. Petraeus’ collapse in front of Congress last week, suggests that these guys are close to worn out. That’s not a good thing, and it’s an unfortunate contrast to our golf-and-politics-as-usual political class in DC.”

Now who’s up for another round?

120 Responses to “McChrystal Heads Home”

  1. Let’s see how thin Obama’s skin is.

    Arizona Bob (e8af2b)

  2. As I remember from when a general called Clinton “a pot-smoking draft dodger”, there are/were? strict rules in the UCMJ against soldiers criticizing civilian leaders, even state governors for example, let alone the commander in chief. McChrystal will need to work to keep his stars.

    nk (db4a41)

  3. i will read the article over lunch, but from what i have been hearing about it, it comes down to this. McCrystal has a sense of contempt for Obama that is, well, pretty justified.

    But McCrystal is not free to speak his mind.

    So Obama’s crappy leadership leads to insubordination. Its appropriate to can mccrystal for this, but maybe this could have been avoided if Obambi was a better leader. Just a thought.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  4. I think Mr. McChrystal is taking the little president man a little too seriously.

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  5. The guy votes for Obama, why? He thinks Obama would be a better CIC than McCain? He thinks (rightly, as it turns out) that Obama will promote him? He thinks Obama will be so much better than McCain on domestic issues that it is worth suffering through Obama as commander?

    And for a presumably smart guy, how stupid is it to make those comments in an interview? He had to know he couldn’t get away with it, that he would lose his post. He could have resigned and made those comments and kept his reputation… but instead, he will forever be remembered as the general who didn’t keep his mouth shut and was relieved from command.

    steve (369bc6)

  6. Here’s the thing. McChrystal has had his say. He can retire out, and certainly have a more lucrative career if he chooses to continue to wor. He is a hero to many, just for speaking this truth about the conflict, especially about Joe Biden’s attempt to “be right” at the expense of the mission.

    Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do it. All Obama & Co. are doing is trying to get through the next election. McChrystal represents men and women trying to get through their lives.

    TimesDisliker (be8b4c)

  7. First, General McChrystal told the truth, and it was a truth that could only be told by someone who had the standing to tell it.

    Second, serving military commanders are not traditionally permitted to directly oppose the policies of the Commander-in-Chief in public, even if those policies are resulting in negative consequences in the field.

    Third, Obama’s asinine policies in Afghanistan were the direct cause of the unnecessary death of our fighting men and were undermining the possibility of success of McChrystal’s military mission.

    Consequently, General McChrystal was faced with only two choices: resign or go public. McChrystal made the most honorable decision, one that all combat soldiers recognize, he sacrificed himself in an effort to save his men.

    ropelight (f146d6)

  8. mmm, this article is pretty damning, too. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/mcchrystals-real-offense-96873364.html

    Our rules of engagement have been messed up for years.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  9. But is was just peachy for various CIA functionaries to undermine Bush and suffer no consequences? Cracks me up now that even the Euroweenies realize what an empty suit Obama is. Just what will Obama do to prevent Iran from wiping out the Jewish state? Why does an asshat like Carl Levin have so much control over what funds will be available for the Iraqi army after Obama basically quits Iraq? Tell me what Senator ever made a decent POTUS?
    Maybe we can better appreciate the disloyalty and incompetence Abe Lincoln suffered from his military leaders. Of course now it is on the other foot, what with Obama being the idiot and bower to
    despots.

    aoibhneas (6e9f23)

  10. McChrystal runs eight miles a day, eats one meal and sleeps for only four hours a night. (No attribution)

    Maybe true, maybe not. Heck, and so does the mother of one of my daughter’s schoolmates. She also holds down three jobs to pay for private tutors for her son.

    But if true, it does sound like somebody on the edge.

    nk (db4a41)

  11. Can you imagine how frustrated he must be with Teh One’s nonsense to have actually said these things. The effects on his career are rather predictable.

    JD (5375e6)

  12. Aaron Worthing @ 7:41 am,

    Good link. As long as we have an administration of idealists and unrealistic feel-goods who desperately care about the global opinion of us, the rules of engagement will continue to slide into this play-nice requirement for our troops thus putting them in further harm’s way.

    Image is everything. What’s a few more lives lost…

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  13. I find it sick that everyone is more worried about McChrystal’s “disrespect” than Obama’s nonchalance towards issues except when it is Obama that is dissed.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  14. PCD

    Let me put it simply as possible. i completely sympathize with what mccrystal said. But he still shouldn’t have said it.

    However right he is in argument, he is wrong to have made it. if he doesn’t like it, he can return to civilian life. although i suspect he will be regardless of his desires.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  15. I understand your point, PCD, and yet civilian control the military and the chain of command are important topics of concern.

    That Obama has shown that his campaign rhetoric on Afghanistan were brazen lies is part of the cause, but not an excuse for McChrystal.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  16. BTW, I think he was right about the way Pat Tillman’s death should have been handled. There is “truth” and then there is “truth”. The “truth” that eventually came out was demoralizing and dishonoring.

    nk (db4a41)

  17. must not criticize
    dear leader McChrystal not
    get memo sign on

    ColonelHaiku (2ce3dc)

  18. #12, Dana, the Obama Administration isn’t comprised of idealists, they’re ideologues. There’s a significant difference.

    ropelight (f146d6)

  19. You said “I guess McChrystal found the one way to get face time with Obama. Maybe they can talk about the war while he’s there.”

    YES! You are so right! To my surprise, a lot of conservative bloggers seem to me missing this. McChrystal didn’t achieve his rank by politically naive. I think he knew exactly what he was doing – he fell on his sword. His men are dying. Now, Afghanistan is front and center again, instead of on the back burner somewhere.

    Kelly (13cb48)

  20. And for a presumably smart guy, how stupid is it to make those comments in an interview? He had to know he couldn’t get away with it…

    Well, sure – he wanted a way out, and he’s going to get it. But not before he had a chance to speak his mind – while I agree that it’s not his place to be publicly in conflict with the CIC, his primary goal is to help keep his troops out of harm’s way, and for that he should be commended.

    Dmac (cfe27e)

  21. I think I like Glenn Reynolds’ speculation over any idea that this was some sort of Machiavellian political move by McChrystal.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  22. McChrystal is flying to DC to have his “MacArthur at Guam with Truman” moment.
    Time to schedule the “farewell address” before the Congress – well, it would be, if he had the stature of “Dugout Doug”.

    There can be only two possible outcomes of this meeting:
    1- The CW: McChrystal announces his retirement;
    2- The Inside-Straight: The Administration (SecDef Gates) puts forth a new strategy on dealing with the Taliban, and cancels the drawdown slated for 2011.

    I’m not holding my breath on #2, but it would be nice.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  23. McChrystal has a legal obligation to be loyal and respectful to his Commander=-in-Chief, B.Hussien Obama. On the other boot, McChrystal has utterly no duty to grovel to Obama’s hired band of lackeys. like Biden, Eikenberry, Holbrooke and Jones.

    I will have one question for the White House: Did General McChrystal ask for permission to speak freely, sir?

    DavidL (2a854d)

  24. Obama needs to purge the military. The first and only requirement for high rank should be political loyalty.

    After all, its not like competence is going to be number one for this crew.

    Kevin Murphyr (5ae73e)

  25. Yeah, MacArthur’s firing was a pretty awful move, too. Ask anyone in North Korea.

    Kevin Murphyr (5ae73e)

  26. Obama needs to purge the military. The first and only requirement for high rank should be political loyalty.

    Yes, that worked so well for Stalin and the Soviet people (24MM deaths, military & civilian, in WW-2).

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  27. I haven’t read all the links yet, but I’m assuming McChrystal is smart enough to know this was not a good idea if he wanted to keep his job.

    So until other is proven, I’m going to assume that either somebody has set McChrystal up, or McChrystal feels that his duty to the country requires him to take this course of action. A soldier is never required to carry out commands that are illegal, which I assume includes violating his oath of service, if that is what he thinks is currently at stake.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  28. He was not set up, MD.

    JD (5375e6)

  29. Let’s say McChrystal resigns and then starts publicly criticizing BO. How long would it take before people would start saying he’s a racist?

    Gerald A (2b94cf)

  30. Gerald

    > Let’s say McChrystal resigns and then starts publicly criticizing BO. How long would it take before people would start saying he’s a racist?

    You know how they say nothing can go faster than the speed of light. Well him going from critic to alleged racist would shatter that speed record.

    in fact, they say that if you go faster than the speed of light, that you will go into the future. So i expect him to be called a racist before he resigns.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  31. Comment by nk — 6/22/2010 @ 9:31 am

    When MacArthur was recalled by Truman, the Right of the early 1950s lionized him and promoted him to the point where he was given the opportunity to give his “old soldiers never die” speech in front of a joint session of a Democratic Congress that should have known better. The Right has never been fully held to account for such shameful behavior.

    Byron York is doing everyone on the Right of today a big favor by helping ensure Stanley McChrystal doesn’t warrant similar treatment.

    Brad S (9f6740)

  32. Inevitably comparisons will be made with Truman’s dismissal of MacArthur. But Truman, although no intellectual, was a man who read widely, who had been an Artillery Captain in France in World War One and who had lived, worked and even failed in the real world. Obama was a student and not much of a lawyer before he became a community organizer- whatever that is. Obama speaks prettier than Truman even though what he mouths is largely nonsense. Truman didn’t care much for Adlai Stevenson of Illinois and he wouldn’t care much for the current occupant of the White House and frequenter of local golf courses.

    mhr (6b151d)

  33. So until other is proven, I’m going to assume that either somebody has set McChrystal up, or McChrystal feels that his duty to the country requires him to take this course of action. A soldier is never required to carry out commands that are illegal, which I assume includes violating his oath of service, if that is what he thinks is currently at stake.

    MD, a new Politico piece might reinforce the McChrystal falling on his sword suggestion:

    Rolling Stone’s executive editor on Tuesday said that Gen. Stanley McChrystal did not raise any objections to a new article that repeatedly quotes him criticizing the administration.

    Eric Bates, the magazine’s editor, said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that McChrystal was informed of the quotes prior to its publication as part of Rolling Stone’s standard fact-checking process — and that the general did not object to or dispute any of the reporting.

    Asked if McChrystal pushed back on the story, Bates responded: “No, absolutely not.”

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  34. Anyone here know about Red Mike Edson?

    He was a MOH winner from the most brutal battle of WWII, and a Major General. He retired in order to speak out.

    I don’t see that kind of hardness and raw duty in McChrystal, but perhaps he too is going to speak out. Sadly, he’s one of those strange Generals that lets you know their political views. He may very well attempt to be a politician.

    Here’s what I know: his job is to kill and fight for Afghanistan. Whether it’s his fault or not, we are failing and he has provided a bit of propaganda that our command structure is messed up. I think he should take off the uniform and let someone else take his command, completely retire, before he makes this kind of statement.

    He’s undermining Biden, our ambassador, and our president. Obama’s job is hard enough without his most critical officer acting like that. Politics stops at the water’s edge for me no matter if that favor is returned.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  35. He chose Rolling Stone, because like the Atlantic, it’s one publication Obama’s sure to read. Now Hastings has some admiration for MacChrystal, but
    he’s also sort of jaundiced about war, his girlfriend was killed in Iraq. Was he naive for a legacy career military man, possibly; he may have just thought ‘Obama was a good man who deserved a chance”

    Now going forward, he was the Walton Walker or Ned Almond of the situation, you’re more likely to get a MacArthur in the deal, as a replacement

    ian cormac (38cac7)

  36. “…undermining Biden, our ambassador, and our president…”

    Biden undermines Biden, Eikenberry is a Fool of the first order, and our president is an empty-suit.
    McChrystal is following in a long tradition of making an issue of something he feels is wrong, and being willing to “fall on his sword” in order to do so.
    And, there is a small difference between this and Korea:
    MacArthur was the UN commander, and outranked virtually everyone else in the Army at the time, including the CinCPac, and reported directly to the President;
    McChrystal is a relatively junior 4-star, and reports to Petraeus.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  37. Article 88, Uniform Code of Military Justice:

    “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

    509th Bob (4ae072)

  38. Reading this thread while listening to Gibbs’ press briefing. Gibbs is making clear that Obama’s feelings are hurt and that Obama’s feelings are the most important thing at stake.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  39. Comment by 509th Bob — 6/22/2010 @ 10:22 am

    Then Patraeus should bring him up on charges.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  40. Ian

    > He chose Rolling Stone, because like the Atlantic, it’s one publication Obama’s sure to read.

    Well, you forgot about “High Times.”

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  41. I am a 28 year Army veteran and as conservative as can be. I loathe Obama. BUT, McChrystal crossed the line in a serious way. He is either an idiot (I don’t think so) or he deliberately ignored the rules to let this criticism go out. I don’t think Obama can help but fire him and, actually McChrystal deserves it.

    Gene Dickey (f0607e)

  42. not sure you’d want to have a Court-Martial: what if his peers decline to vote for conviction?

    the clowns in the White House are likely just bright enough to realize that’s a possibility and will likely just cashier him.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  43. Aaron and SPQR,

    My point, Obama only gets decisive when he can kick someone who can’t kick back.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  44. Not sure where MD got his ‘McChrystal may have been set up’ idea from. Set up how?

    Falling on his sword in order to express his discontent sounds a lot more plausible to me.

    And what a shocka! Teh Won is upset. Thin skin? The “first post-racial candidate” has no skin.

    Icy Texan (092752)

  45. PCD

    Ah, i get you now.

    And yeah obama has some screwed up priorities.

    For instance, is there a way we can trick Obama into thinking Osama bin Laden is a BP executive. then maybe he would figure out how to capture the guy.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  46. OT- FOX reporting the drilling moratorium was overruled.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  47. “is there a way we can trick Obama into thinking Osama bin Laden is a BP executive.”

    Big contributions to the Democrats?

    Machinist (497786)

  48. It is impolitic to be honest as former engineer with
    the petroleum industry, Joe Barton, has found out;
    we’d rather be lied to, rather than know the truth

    ian cormac (38cac7)

  49. No court martial. Bet the farm on it.

    Icy Texan (092752)

  50. Hmmmm. I see a nice book deal in the offing for ex-general McCrystal. Publish date around…oh, say September 2012?

    navyvet (206534)

  51. Byron York’s article suggests maybe McChrystal is not as smart as we would assume.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but for a soldier to be “Court-Martialed” (“Courts-Martialed?) is like saying a President was impeached, it is the process of bringing charges and having a trial, yes? So, theoretically, if a soldier could demonstrate that to obey the President was to undermine his oath to protect the country, he could be found innocent, correct? In addition, even if it was judged he had reason to disobey orders or to speak out, he could be held accountable if he did it in a way that was thought improper, correct.

    I know superficially someone in a branch of special ops who was in battle and disobeyed an order from a superior to use the weapons sytem he was in charge of in a particular way. The soldier operating the weapon knew that it was unsafe to operate it in such a way. Whatever the official procedure was, the finding was that he was justified in refusing the order, but they busted him down a notch or two because of the “blatant disrespect” he showed. In other words, he was right to refuse the order to fire, he was not right to cuss him out.

    Hopefully, we’ll get enough info to get it straight. http://www.blackfive.net/ is commenting on it with perspectives still hoping around and no consensus.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  52. Reading this thread while listening to Gibbs’ press briefing. Gibbs is making clear that Obama’s feelings are hurt and that Obama’s feelings are the most important thing at stake.

    Comment by Have Blue

    I just think he should have retired first. If our generals have a major grievance with the president and think the people have a right to hear about it, I think it’s critical that they speak out, but do so without the trappings of command. This particular general is perhaps our most essential. He’s causing problems for the war effort by doing things this way, in my opinion.

    “iden undermines Biden, Eikenberry is a Fool of the first order, and our president is an empty-suit.
    McChrystal is following in a long tradition of making an issue of something he feels is wrong, and being willing to “fall on his sword” in order to do so.”

    I agree that these people deserve contempt from you or me, but they deserve loyalty from our officers. It’s pretty black and white, in my opinion, that the disrespect McChrystal is showing to some of them is crossing the line of military bearing.

    I am not confident that he’s going to come out and expose problems with this presidency. Perhaps many of the decisions attributed to him were really Obama’s. I hope to learn the facts. But he should have taken off the stars and put on a civilian suit if he wanted to fall on his sword.

    It’s critical that those within his command and following his example know they are to respect their chain of command. Even if it’s not earned, which it usually isn’t. Biden and Obama were elected, and the military must respect them. Even if they have an unlawful order they must expose, some of this attitude is simple disrespect with no end.

    I can forgive all of that, no problem. The important issue is saving the effort in Afghanistan. I won’t change my mind that McChrystal made a mistake, but if he is willing to take off the stars and expose problems that many believe exist, I will see him as a hero.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  53. #53 Dustin,

    Well said, Sir.

    Machinist (497786)

  54. And nothing I say mitigates Obama’s responsibility for the problems in Afghanistan. He said he knew how to save this effort. He and his friends caused much of Bush’s problems that forced him to spend so much political capital on Iraq. Obama even went as far as to repeatedly condemn the surge as a failure, which was obvious and blatant propaganda for the enemy.

    Afghanistan’s failure ultimately is Obama’s. But that’s a separate issue. This is not the correct way for such a prominent officer to air his problems. Why in the hell do I know that McChrystal is a democrat, anyway? What kind of nutcase General votes for Obama over Mccain? I just get a feeling about this guy.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  55. not sure where MD got his ‘McChrystal may have been set up’ idea from. Set up how?
    Comment by Icy Texan

    I was just listing the logical possibilities. The “how” would be having people around him leak out info, etc., to make McChrystal himself look as bad as possible in the midst of it. PowerLine, for example, says a lot of the worst stuff in the article was not actually said by McChrystal, but by those under him.

    But he should have been smart enough to know even if you trust a reporter, you cannot trust the reporter’s editor. For example, I saw a quote somewhere that said “Rolling Stone had “it” approved by McChrystal in fact-checking”, well RS may have fact checked the specifc quotes with McChrystal (bad enough) without any comment on the rest of the article.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  56. Comment by MD in Philly — 6/22/2010 @ 11:10 am

    Will McChrystal be another Billy Mitchell?
    At least Billy had a plane named for him.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  57. I’m not a big McChrystal fan but must point out that his oath takes precedence over the book” so that might give him a plausible defense, depending on his thinking:

    I (insert name), having been appointed a (insert rank) in the U.S. Army under the conditions indicated in this document, do accept such appointment and do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter, so help me God.

    Dan S (b5ccb6)

  58. Comment by Dustin — 6/22/2010 @ 11:11 am

    One of the open wounds that Byron York writes about is the relationship between McChrystal and Eikenberry. More and more, it appears that the leak of McChrystal’s proposed plan-of-attack to Bob Woodward was by Eikenberry; and if so, that is just a big of deal as this Rolling Stone dust-up.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  59. AD, that’s true. That’s a big issue. I don’t understand why Obama would show such poor leadership as to have two people working together on such a critical mission if they can’t work together. Further, I don’t appreciate telling a General to pretend a plan he doesn’t like was his idea. It seems like abusing their loyalty to shield politicians from criticism.

    A lot of this does make Obama look positively incompetent, even before you realize that he had to know there was a major problem but he didn’t care enough to take an active leadership role.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  60. One can’t lead if one doesn’t know how, or is incapable of it.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  61. #57 AD,
    Not sure that is a fair comparison. Mitchell forced his Court-marshal by deliberately violating direct orders. Also, had he gotten his way it might have been disastrous for the Navy. We might have seen the same problems for Navel aviation that Britain had.

    Machinist (497786)

  62. I don’t think the Navy’s problems at that time revolved around Mitchell. There was that nasty thing called the Washington Naval Conference that screwed up a lot of the world’s navies in the run-up to WW-2. In fact, Mitchell pointed something out to the Admirals that they pointedly were trying to avoid – aircraft could sink capital-ships – and now they had to deal with it.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  63. Both Ed Morrissey and Jim Pinkerton over at HotAir point out that a lot of chickens are coming home to roost at the White House over this dust-up.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  64. OMFG! There is a tear in the space-time continuum;
    nk and I actually agree on something.
    What is the world coming to?

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  65. McChrystal does not have to be court-martialed, but his actions are in violation of the UCMJ. If not court-martialed, he could be permitted to retire or resign in lieu of a court-martial.

    509th Bob (4ae072)

  66. The esteemed Mr Worthing wrote:

    Let’s say McChrystal resigns and then starts publicly criticizing BO. How long would it take before people would start saying he’s a racist?

    You know how they say nothing can go faster than the speed of light. Well him going from critic to alleged racist would shatter that speed record.

    And that would be worse than insubordinate how?

    If General McChrystal wanted to make the points made deliberately — and I assume here that he did — then doing so in the manner he did obscures his points due to the insubordination; the message is weakened.

    If he wanted to criticize the Commander-in-Chief, he needed to retire — he has 34 years of service and can retire when he wishes — and then make his points, so that the insubordination charge does not overwhelm them.

    The Army daddy Dana (474dfc)

  67. Article 15, perhaps? A little non-judicial punishment and see you later?

    JD (28db4d)

  68. AD,
    The Navel treaties might have encouraged the development of carriers by limiting battleships. Consider how the biggest carriers early in the war were converted from capitol ships. Mitchell was right to push airpower but by pushing independent air command it is reasonable to expect we would have had the bulk of effort going to Strategic and army support with the navy getting the scraps, as happened in England and Germany. The real powers in Navel aviation were America and Japan, and both had independent Navel air arms developing and buying equipment best suited to their own needs. Imagine Midway with the Americans having the type of planes the British had?

    Machinist (497786)

  69. Comment by AD – RtR/OS! — 6/22/2010 @ 12:35 pm

    We agree on most things, you old California redneck hippie biker.

    nk (db4a41)

  70. At the three-star level, there will be no court martial over something like this. The generals’ club will suggest something and McChrystal will agree.

    nk (db4a41)

  71. Let’s just remember that a lot of young men and women are fighting for their lives in a hellish country while their commander is in Rolling Freaking Stone magazine saying ‘Bite Me’ to the White House.

    I have to be concerned for those actual fighters. Most of us are familiar with Yon’s accusation that McChrystal is in over his head. Most of us are aware that the ROE of McChrystal’s command are getting the good guys killed. I think Yon was warning us that McChrystal may be a great soldier, but he’s not able to deal with the realities of interfacing with this civilian leadership as effectively as, say, Gen Petraeus.

    Sure, all of this mess is Obama’s. But what a mess it is, and he’s probably polishing his putter. If this is how Obama is going to administrate Afghanistan, we need to get out of there. I want to leave that war by winning, but if we are going to play games we need to get our troops out of there.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  72. And for a presumably smart guy, how stupid is it to make those comments in an interview? He had to know he couldn’t get away with it, that he would lose his post. He could have resigned and made those comments and kept his reputation… but instead, he will forever be remembered as the general who didn’t keep his mouth shut and was relieved from command.

    He didn’t get to be a four star by being politically naive or stupid. He know exactly what he was doing-as evidenced by the report by the RS editor. I look at this the same way I look at suicide by cop except Mac is committing suicide by press. I think he wanted out and this is how he chose to go out. I certainly do not agree with it – the honorable thing to do would be to resign, stating his concerns and reasons in his resignation letter THEN give his “on the record” interview.

    rls (409f58)

  73. A couple of questions:

    1) Shouldn’t Obama have dealt with this immediately rather than letting this hang over McChrystal’s head for 24 more hours, making a big production, etc., because the demoralizing effects of this for soldiers already on the ground in Afghanistan watching their General be hauled into the principal’s office for a spanking is just not helping them? Why not a swift, decisive action from POTUS, right from the get-go instead of stringing this out and giving the enemy time to regroup as they watch American leadership squabble like children? It’s like a gift to the Taliban.

    2) In re-reading the article, while McChrystal clearly lacked discretion in giving Rolling Stone such access (how did he not know their intent would be to skewer him?) and apparently seeming to have little control over his staff (as most of them were the ones providing RS the negative comments), it didn’t seem his behavior was so derelict of duty or reprehensible that it might warrant a court martial. If they are considering firing him, though, wouldn’t that be extremely difficult to replace the leadership at this point in time of the war (the disruption of troops, COIN, etc.)?

    3) Also, I heard Sara Carter of the Washington Examiner (who broke the story on ROE last year and the troop’s complaints of being so hamstrung by the changes and their subsequent demoralization) and she claims that it isn’t clear whether the WH imposed new ROE on the troops, charging McChrystal with enforcing them as well as simultaneously selling the troops on them. However because he may not fully buy into them himself, he is unable to fully sell the troops on them either. He can’t sell what he doesn’t believe in.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  74. I wonder if McCrystal thought that his complaints would be unheard or ignored if he made them after he retired? I suppose that thinking could lead to the falling on sword while in uniform thing.

    I must confess to a certain morbid curiosity as to what Michael Yon is going to say about all of this.

    htom (412a17)

  75. Comment by nk — 6/22/2010 @ 12:48 pm

    I was NEVER a hippie!
    Jack Kerouac was my idol.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  76. Comment by nk — 6/22/2010 @ 12:51 pm

    Not neccessarly.
    IIRC, Sestak was a Vice-Admiral (3-stars) when he was asked to retire, and was reduced to his permanent rank of Rear Admiral, Upper-half (2-stars) because of the crap he caused.
    All 3 and 4-star ranks are temporary, held subject to Good Conduct, IIRC.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  77. Edward Abbey was mine. His book that ruined my mind, “The Brave Cowboy”, was published the year I was born.

    nk (db4a41)

  78. But he should have been smart enough to know even if you trust a reporter, you cannot trust the reporter’s editor. For example, I saw a quote somewhere that said “Rolling Stone had “it” approved by McChrystal in fact-checking”, well RS may have fact checked the specifc quotes with McChrystal (bad enough) without any comment on the rest of the article.

    That’s entirely plausible. And who’s to say that Rolling Stone is telling the truth about the other quotes? When you have an anonymous source, you can put any words you want into his mouth. For all we know, the quoted aides may have been named Jayson Blair and Scott Thomas Beauchamp.

    A question I haven’t seen asked elsewhere: Does anyone believe that the editors of Rolling Stone, of all publications, would have let this go to press without giving their Beloved President a heads-up?

    Mike G in Corvallis (fd5fcd)

  79. I am starting to think this is a little like the Dem Congressman who tried to deflect attention to Obama and Emanuel rather than his own scandal that was about to break.

    We’ve given McChrystal credit for being smart, he might be smart like a fox complete with his own disinformation campaign (“I voted for Obama”- did he really?), or not so smart. What do we all think about a general who votes for Obama rather than McCain when there is a war on?

    And he did a really, really, foolish thing to give such access to a Rolling Stone reporter, unless he was intending to do “suicide by press” (from elsewhere).

    I think this may take some time to get sorted out, afterall.

    MD in Philly (5a98ff)

  80. CNN has just reported that McChrystal has tendered his resignation.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  81. And MD in Philly, there are major problems with the Kandahar offensive.

    I sure hope you’re wrong, and this isn’t McChrystal’s way of dealing with warfare. If so, Yon was right to blow the whistle.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  82. What do we all think about a general who votes for Obama rather than McCain when there is a war on?
    Comment by MD in Philly — 6/22/2010 @ 1:49 pm

    I think military can read their own and, while they respected McCain’s service and sacrifice, most didn’t trust him at all as pertains to his post-military career. I would never have voted for President Obama, but I would never vote for McCain either. Given those choices out of the two major parties, it was either vote third-party (no chance of winning) or write-in.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  83. Fox is reporting that McChrystal’s aide has resigned (they have a bad link up on their homepage and you get an error msg when you click on it), but no ID as to who it is – and no mention of a resignation from McChrystal.

    AD - RtR/OS! (2480c8)

  84. 0(smirking): “I won’t fire you. See, you’ve already resigned!”

    htom (412a17)

  85. Given those choices out of the two major parties, it was either vote third-party (no chance of winning) or write-in.

    that’s why i voted for Palin. :-D

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  86. I thought Mccain and McChrystal knew eachother very well, which only underscore’s Stashiu’s point that Mccain was a terrible candidate.

    I’m being hard on McChrystal, but there’s no denying that he spent decades serving his country and his present assignment is incredibly difficult. He’s done more for his country than the vast majority of folks and deserves respect despite his recent error and his 52%er status.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  87. I’m convinced this whole thing was a calculated move by the General, who had to light a fire under the POTUS’s ass before. He did it again and that raises a question. What is it that he needs that the POTUS is not giving him to succeed OR what is it that is interfering with the mission that the General is trying to eliminate? This guy is way too disciplined to make “errors in judgment” on this level. He did it on purpose.

    Dave B (58a07e)

  88. mmm… this just in… white house questions judgment, and maturity of… mccrystal.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/06/white-house-questions-mcchrystals-judgment-maturity.html

    yeah, i have read that line over and over trying to make sense of it. it is that unreal.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  89. by the way, I did see someone say McChrystal resigned on CNN, and it was on their website a few minutes ago. Now, that claim has vanished as best as I can tell.

    I think it’s as AD says, an aide, and CNN just got the news wrong. Unreal. CNN just dropped the AP because of their new amazing news making capabilities.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  90. Gibbs and the pack of petulant children questioned his maturity? Good Allah.

    JD (3b62be)

  91. McChrystal/resignation also removed from Fox as well as CNN, however, Toby Harnden (Daily Telegraph) is reporting he has indeed tendered his resignation,

    A senior Capitol Hill source tells me that General Stanley McChrystal had tendered his resignation to President Barack Obama and that the White House is actively discussing a replacement who could be quickly confirmed by the Senate.

    The source said that among the names being touted as possible successors are General James Mattis, the outgoing head of the US Joint Forces Command and due to retire after being passed over as US Marine Corps commander, and Lieutenant General William Caldwell, commander of Nato’s Training Mission in Afghanistan.

    Of course, offering to resign is not the same as actually resigning and it remains to be seen whether Mr Obama will accept the resignation. Donald Rumsfeld offered to resign as Pentagon chief on more than one occasion but President George W. Bush requested that he continue in post before eventually firing him on November 2006.

    Dana (1e5ad4)

  92. 0 wants more Marinestan? That might lead to victory, which must be avoided.

    htom (412a17)

  93. must not criticize
    barack hussein obama
    or lady gaga

    ColonelHaiku (2ce3dc)

  94. colonel

    Sure, but can you read Obama’s poker face?

    [note: fished from spam filter. --Stashiu]

    Aaron Worthing (A.W.) (f97997)

  95. If the president isn’t careful, he could be running (and losing) against a retired General McCrystal in a very short time.

    Consul-At-Arms (f4574f)

  96. And now we’re seeing the start of articles grousing about General McChrystal’s leadership from the troops below him:

    General Faces Unease Among His Own Troops, Too
    By C. J. CHIVERS, The New York Times

    Riding shotgun in an armored vehicle as it passed through the heat and confusion of southern Afghanistan this month, an Army sergeant spoke into his headset, summarizing a sentiment often heard in the field this year.

    “I wish we had generals who remembered what it was like when they were down in a platoon,” he said to a reporter in the back. “Either they never have been in real fighting, or they forgot what it’s like.”

    The sergeant was speaking of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal and the circle of counterinsurgents who since last year have been running the Afghan war, and who have, as a matter of both policy and practice, made it much more difficult for troops to use airstrikes and artillery in the fight against the Taliban.

    No matter the outcome of his meeting on Wednesday in Washington over caustic comments he and his staff made about President Obama and his national security team, the general, or his successor, faces problems from a constituency as important as his bosses and that no commander wants to lose: his own troops.

    As levels of violence in Afghanistan climb, there is a palpable and building sense of unease among troops surrounding one of the most confounding questions about how to wage the war: when and how lethal force should be used.

    Since last year, the counterinsurgency doctrine championed by those now leading the campaign has assumed an almost unchallenged supremacy in the ranks of the American military’s career officers. The doctrine, which has been supported by both the Bush and Obama administrations, rests on core assumptions, including that using lethal force against an insurgency intermingled with a civilian population is often counterproductive.

    Since General McChrystal assumed command, he has been a central face and salesman of this idea, and he has applied it to warfare in a tangible way: by further tightening rules guiding the use of Western firepower — airstrikes and guided rocket attacks, artillery barrages and even mortar fire — to support troops on the ground.

    “Winning hearts and minds in COIN is a coldblooded thing,” General McChrystal was quoted as telling an upset American soldier in the Rolling Stone profile that has landed him in trouble. “The Russians killed 1 million Afghans, and that didn’t work.” COIN is the often used abbreviation for counterinsurgency.

    More at the link. But this article was posted about ten minutes ago.

    The Army daddy Dana (474dfc)

  97. The dirt machine supporting the unicorn rider.

    nk (db4a41)

  98. Gen’l McChrystal spoke his piece
    Conservatives have been teased
    The war’s going bad
    And he is so sad
    But his retirement skids have been greased

    The Limerick Avenger (474dfc)

  99. BTW, Army daddy Dana, by “dirt machine” I meant the guy you linked.

    nk (db4a41)

  100. > General Faces Unease Among His Own Troops, Too
    > By C. J. CHIVERS, The New York Times

    I repeat: Does anyone believe that the editors of Rolling Stone, of all publications, would have let this go to press without giving their Beloved President a heads-up?

    That New York Times piece was ready to go, wasn’t it?

    This was planned. Why and by whom? What did Obama know, and when did he know it?

    Mike G in Corvallis (fd5fcd)

  101. Hey, Consul-at-Arms!

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  102. Mike G – It is pretty incredible that they were able to cobble that story together in less than 24 hours.

    JD (d55760)

  103. ________________________________________

    “Even though he had voted for Obama,

    Based on that alone, McChrystal reveals lousy, crummy judgment. Unless he was totally ignorant of all the “Goddamn America” controversies swirling around Obama back in 2008, and unless he’s not a flat-out liberal, he has to be ideologically very, very, very squishy.

    If Obama caused him grief, and if he’s now causing Obama grief, the two deserve each other.

    Mark (411533)

  104. What if this had happened to President Bush? Would all the focus be on the general’s behavior or would it have shifted to Bush being at fault?

    Instead of Runaway General it would have been Rudderless Ship or some other criticism of Bush.

    I started to read the Rolling Stone piece and it reminded me too much of Hunter Thompson to give it any credibility.

    Arizona Bob (e8af2b)

  105. No difference. Any sensible person will see this as Obama being an empty suit who cannot command respect and loyalty from his generals. Not so much from whatever McChrystal may have said but the fact that is was said.

    The dirt machines will not change that.

    nk (db4a41)

  106. “The dirt machines will not change that.”

    nk – The dirt machine will distort what was said and who said what. Of that we can be certain.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  107. They are saying they held an 11:30 strategy meeting on Afghanistan, and Gen McChrystal wasn’t present even though he had a meeting with the President earlier that morning.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  108. (that morning = this morning)

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  109. I agree with Dustin on the whole thread, which must means he is a closet Dem and a Bush-hater in republican disguise since that’s how I am painted every time I mouth off on this blog. Go figure.

    Back to McChrystal; there is a chain of command and, like it or not (I don’t) Obama is at the top and those under him have an obligation of silence if not respect. If McChrystal thinks Obama sucks and he has to tell the whole world about it, fine. Let him retire or resign first. But he can’t have his cake and eat it too, be a general and trash his commander-in-chief in a mass-circulation magazine. That guy’s not a hero, he’s just a jackass with a uniform.

    Triumph (b66fe4)

  110. btw, everyone keeps saying this is a problem for obama. how? i bet in truth he is absolutely overjoyed to get the dang oil spill off the headlines.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  111. cnn just sent a breaking news email saying mccrystal is out.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  112. Triumph, you gotta admit, some of the arguments you’ve made… hell, most of them, were meant to provoke.

    Bush ain’t Hitler. But I hope the GOP can appeal again to people who really didn’t approve of much of Bush’s domestic policy (most of the readers here I suspect).

    AW, that’s a DAMN GOOD point. I was wondering why he hadn’t made a decision public quickly, because that’s just plain foolish when his leadership ability is so obviously challenged, and then I realized it’s not as bad as the BP story.

    What a short term thinker Obama is.

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  113. btw, here is a link sort of, to the the mccrystal outster story. patreaus is in, apparently. http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9GH46DG1&show_article=1

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  114. McCrystal did what he had to do to put some focus on a troubled strategy and the buffoons (e.g., Holbrooke & Eikenberry) who ill serve Big Zero.

    GeneralMalaise (c2b11b)

  115. If McChrystal thinks Obama sucks and he has to tell the whole world about it, fine. Let him retire or resign first. But he can’t have his cake and eat it too, be a general and trash his commander-in-chief in a mass-circulation magazine. That guy’s not a hero, he’s just a jackass with a uniform.

    Triumph, exactly what did McChrystal say, as quoted in the Rolling Stone piece, that was disrespectful of the president?

    I’m serious. You accuse him of being “a jackass with a uniform” — what did he say that was insubordinate?

    Mike G in Corvallis (fd5fcd)

  116. I’m glad, Mike G, that you asked a specific question of our troll, it usually sets in motion their little feets (as in “Feets, don’t fail me now”) and they run back to whatever cow-pie they crawled out from under.

    AD - RtR/OS! (6f143b)

  117. Mike G, I’ve maybe been a little unfair to blame McChrystal for his staff’s remarks (such as the Bite Me) remark, but if McChrystal approved of the article, he’s being disrespectful and setting a terrible example for respecting the chain of command.

    I think Obama’s been petty in response, but he’s a weak leader and a weak leader has to be careful when this kind of challenge comes up.

    Particularly because McChrystal is hardly a jackass. I’m glad he’s being replaced, mainly because he’s not winning. Even if that’s unfair, he’s got a very unfair sort of job.

    Dustin (b54cdc)


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