Tuesday, June 22, 2010

When Generals attack

Apparently General Stanley A. McChrystal, President Obama's main man in Afghanistan went off the reservation in a big way in, of all places, Rolling Stone magazine. By now, you've heard all the soundbites and controversy, or can easily find it, but as much as I disagree with much of what President Obama has done and continues to do, he doesn't have much wiggle room here.

The only choice President Obama has is to fire the general. Anything else would be weak and would hurt not just his Presidency but future ones. Generals, especially ones in charge of a war, must serve only one master, the President.

If General McChrystal was unhappy with the progress of the war or the support, or lack of support he was getting, he had the option to resign and then make those complaints as a civilian. To do it while still under the authority of the President was simply wrong.

So like another famous General (MacArthur in Korea), McChrystal is on his way to explain himself to his boss. This can't go well. In fact, if the President's advisers had any savvy they've fire him now before he has a chance to resign.

McChrystal had to know the impact these comments would have, especially since he was talking to Rolling Stone (good for them, by the way in achieving a huge scoop).

The problem for Obama, of course, is once McChrystal is a civilian he will be free to unload on the President, his staff, the war strategy and anything else without any brakes on his opinions.

Like President Truman, President Obama has no choice but to try and weather the storm of firing a general. The alternative is too destructive to the good order of the service.

I feel badly for the morale of the troops serving in an already difficult conflict with all this fighting on Mt. Olympus.


Anonymous said...

Why McChrystal would stoop to talk to Rolling Stone is foolish beyond explanation.
McChrystal probably should've retired, called a press conference and said here's why i'm retiring.

inky said...

He's a serial loose cannon who should be fired asap to show troops that the miltary chain of command applies to everyone. If he is irreplacable, the president has bigger problems than a runaway general.