June 22nd, 2010
01:17 PM ET

McChrystal apologizes, media ask: Should he be axed?

The gaffe from America's top military commander in Afghanistan and his staffer’s “Biden?-Did-you-say-Bite-Me?” comment is biting back. Hours after news broke that Gen. Stanley McChrystal was recalled to Washington amid his controversial remarks about colleagues in an explosive Rolling Stone magazine article, calls for the firing of the general have surfaced.

The Atlantic magazine’s national correspondent wrote that McChrystal has violated the chain of command and should be sacked for disrespect and insubordination.

"… first is for the civilian Commander in Chief to act in accordance with Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution and demonstrate that there are consequences for showing open disrespect for the chain of command."

A Talking Points Memo columnist points out that this isn’t the first time McChrystal has gone on a scathing tirade about those who are “not in their groove on strategy.” Not firing McChrystal will only hurt President Obama’s standing as commander in chief, he argues.

"Obama needs to fire him. If he doesn't, McChrystal's brand will be validated and the environment of insubordination and unprofessional conduct will be reinforced. If McChrystal survives his White House encounter, then Obama will be diminished. That is what this has come to."

Calling the general’s comments in Rolling Stone “near-suicidal," The Daily Telegraph’s U.S. editor thinks keeping McChrystal, on the contrary, might bode well for Obama’s administration.

"If Obama still believes that success in Afghanistan is possible then the ultimate display of genuine toughness, self-confidence and courage on the President’s part could be to stick with the man he chose to get the job done, despite the general’s reckless and insulting words."

TIME magazine’s Joe Klein writes about the McChrystal he’s known, calling him an “extraordinary man” with a thorough set of skills necessary for the mission in Afghanistan.

"But there is another side to McChrystal: he is so focused on his real job that he hasn't spent sufficient time learning how to play the public relations game. He speaks his mind; in private conversations, I've found, he is incapable of fudging the truth. This leads to a certain myopia, an innocence regarding the not-so-brave new world of the media."

Klein goes on to say that while McChrystal may have to go, firing the “irreplaceable” man will be a great “setback” and “tragedy.”

Afghan President Harmid Karzai doesn’t seem too concerned by McChrystal’s remarks and clearly wants him on the ground. The president’s spokesman, Waheed Omer, told Reuters:

“The President strongly supports General McChrystal and his strategy in Afghanistan and believes he is the best commander the United States has sent to Afghanistan over the last nine years."

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Filed under: Military • Security Brief
soundoff (520 Responses)
  1. AForceMike

    Anyone that believe Gen. McChrystal has done nothing wrong definitely never served in the military. The General needs to be fired like he just did to his Public Affairs rep. Secretary Gates needs to fire this General. Had enlisted subordinates made these comments about Gen. McChrystal he would have courts-martial them, they would have been reduced in rank, and discharged. The same thing should happen to Gen McChrystal for his unprofessionalism. Hold him to the same standard others in the military are held to.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. james

    This is not about freedom of speech. Even if this idiot General does not respect the President he should have used his chain of command to voice his opinion. All veterans know that you must respect the rank, if not the person. By the way, try bad mouthing your local civillian company president and see how long you stay employed.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Penny

    I read the whole article in Rolling Stone.
    Just look at McCrystal's behaviioru patterns: sleep, eating, interactions, quotes about himself and others, sycophantic behaviour he evokes from his subordinates. I think McCrystal looks dangerously manic. And his subordinates are dangerously pushing even further. He needs to go the way of General MacArthur. And I would say the same if he had done this to Bush.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Conservative

    This isn't Obama's war????? Was it Bush's war?? He didn't ask for the US to be attacked that horrible September morning. We are at war and Obama is threatening to cut the budget to our military. I don't think the Gen should have said what he did to a magazine, but I can't even begin to imagine knowing what he knows and having a game plan of how to get the job done...and then be told that the funding to get the job done has been cut. So until we are in the Gen position (and that includes Obama) we don't have a right to say he needs to go. When you are in another country and not sure when you're going to get to come home or die and not get to come home...emotions fly and things are said, by EVERYONE. So don't give me the "he shouldn't say that, he should be fired". Until you know what the soldiers go through over there, you have NO room to talk. Besides, the Gen was probably expressing the same feelings that most of the soldiers have.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ifyouseenkay

    yes, he should get axed what the hell was you thinkin?

    June 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ray

    This has been one of the best threads in a long time, though several constants remain:
    To dislike Obama's policies means you must be a racist
    To dislike Obama means you want Bush back,
    Obama has done a great job because he had such a tough row to hoe (unlike any other President)
    and, The mortgage crisis is a result of Bush policies...
    Come on folks...get a basic understanding of what's going on!
    McChrystal has poor social skills, but would the men serving under him be better served with a politician leading them? I doubt it.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe in Kalispell

    Gen. McChrystal should take retirement and become an analyst on news programs where his freedom of speech is basically unlimited. That way if he needs to call a spade a spade or a damned shovel he can do it without interference.

    Actually I prefer it if the military could tell the American people when their political handlers are making stupid decisions.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Peggiesue

    No, he shouldn't be axed. Finally, some one willing to speak the truth, without speaking at all. It's a losing battle over there. Those people are fighting for their freedom. Freedom from the United States.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. rick

    Honor him with the silver medal or knight him, do whatever it takes to fire up the conservatives in this country and remove these criminals from office. Take back our country

    June 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ed Grund

    What a fool this worst president ever is. Stifling free speech, putting politics ahead of open dialogue and clear thought, encouraging mindless yes men. So much for transparency. Add another blunder to the long list of freedom stealing, Govt growing, tax enslaving, debt skyrocketing, economy killing actions of this snake. He has done nothing but harm the country since he slithered out of the cesspool of Chicago politics. REMEMBER IN N0VEMBER..

    June 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Larry R

    Whether in the military or private enterprise you address your concerns to your boss, not subordinates and definitely not to the press. The adages, Lead, follow or get out of the way and Loose lips sink ships both come to mind. Nothing is more destructive and divisive than this kind of conduct in an organization, especially the military. How do you think this sits with our adversaries, as well. It does not help the very men McChrystal is supposed to be leading.

    McChrystal has come far in the military with distinction, but he has risen to the level of his deficiencies. This lack of decorum and ignorance of organizational necessity ought to put him in the same place as MacArthur- removed from his position. No general is indispensable and ones that jeopardize the mission ought to be gone.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jon

    I'd rather have a general with the balls enough to say that who is working for me, than one that doesn't have.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Stephanie, Phoenix, AZ

    Neither of the three things should be done. He should be applauded. The problem with this country is everyone's bleeding heart liberalism. This guy knows what he's doing, the President does not. I would take the General's experience over Obama's anyday. If he says something isnt right, listen to him!!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jim

    maybe we should reverse the thinking and fire some of the presidents aides and give the president a sabatical leave for 6 months so he can work on thinking about what really being a real president is all about.also include the high electron wonder from delaware, biden.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jangocat

    This is actually a court marshal-able offense so yes he and his staff should be axed. This isn't the first time he has been insubordinate/disrespectful to his commander in chief either. They gave him a pass last time but this time he should go. Try publicly criticizing the CEO or any upper management of the company you work for and see if you don't get axed...

    June 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
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