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."

Post by:
Filed under: Military • Security Brief
soundoff (520 Responses)
  1. Barry Soetoro

    Obama should fire McChrystal and install a War Czar. No experience necessary. Just like all the other areas of his administration.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Donald S. Nauck

    For all those of you who believe you know what it takes to lead our military, well leave that to the Military. If you want to talk about someone who should be fired, then lets talk about the current President who is tearing this country apart. I have server for GEN McChrystal, and I can tell you without a doubt, he is 10 times the man or leader than the current leader of our country. Yes, maybe he should have not done the Rolling Stones interview, but he had not I am sure he would have caught crap about that. Bottom line, our current administration has a clue on how to win a war. Its hard to believe that after Vietnam, we still have not learned anything. LET THE MILITARY LEADERS FIGHT THE WAR.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andrew

    Would the individuals saying that McChrystal should stay think the same thing if he had made these comments about Bush or Reagan? Obama is the Commander in Chief. McChrystal's remarks were insubordination–he should be sacked!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Adam Robinette

    I think he absolutely has to go. If he's willing to say this kind of stuff in an interview, out in the open, what might he be saying behind closed doors. The president has no obligation to have someone under his command that is at complete odds with him. Not to mention that kind of dissention is a threat to our security.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MDDon

    This is a no-brainer. Whatever problems the political right have with Obama has no relevance. When you denegrate your boss you are canned. Period. Even more so in the military. Last time I checked the president, elected by the people (with a large majority in this case) is the commander-in-chief. But certainly if I said things like that about my boss, whether directly or by surrogate I would be canned on the spot. McChrystal goes. He can be replaced, anyone can.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Army 20

    The Chain of Command is something that civilians can and will not ever understand. The Commander in Chief is the Commander in Chief. Military Officiers may advise the Commander in Chief and offer him thier opinions on military matters. THey may not however show such blantant disrepect to the Commander in Chief and remain in the military. A Military staff while a group of individuals receit what their Commander's views are and what words he has spoken. Why this interview was ever granted I will never know, but there is only one action that can come of it, if the Commander in Chief expects the respect of the Military services,

    June 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Kerns

    A "General" let alone a four star General should be able to respect the chain of command. I have two words which are the only two words that need to be spoken in this situation: Court Marshall, anything less is a break in the links of said chain, and indicative of chaos. Three strikes and your out, this is not the first time this General has been guilty, in my opinion, of insubordination.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Holly R

    My husband is a former Army LTC. We both believe that Army generals are to defer in policy and respect to the Commander in Chief. Otherwise we might as well be a banana republic. And let's not forget which policy in Vietnam the Army generals supported. We would still be there. General McChrystal needs to understand and he should as a senior officer, that an Army officer's worst enemy is hubris. General Patton, General MacArthur?...President Obama needs to do what he has to do. No Army general is irreplacable.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SSgt Mason

    As a military member, I believe he needs to be relieved of his duty. Insubordination should not be tolerated. I am most certain that if I made that type of brash statement against him or Bush my head would have been lobbed off with an ax with a second guess. It is his job to enforce policy not create it. All of us in the military are ultimately the pawns of the President. His blatant disregard to article 88 of the UCMJ shows his ignorance and disrespect to President Obama and his administration. If he feels so strongly about this administration then perhaps he needs to separate!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Phil DiMarino

    4-Star General; C.I.B. 1st. Cav combat patch on his right arm; "Senior Blaster" jump wings – this guy doesn't dump on the Pres. and V.P. unless he has no other choices. He exists to protect his people and accomplish his mission. I smell a rat and it isn't him!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sally P

    NcChrystal needs to eat some humble pie, Obama needs to quit being so thin-skinned, then they both need to get back to work.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Isaac in Las Cruces, NM

    Although Gen. McChrystal is a subordinant of Pres. Obama, he is being honest on how many military men and women feel about our Commander in Chief. I am a two time Iraqi Veteran and hear what soldiers say about Obamas leadership. I believe the General who has earned experience as a leader over a few decades in his service knows more about war and how to opperate it than our president who has advisors telling him what he wants to hear and not always the real situation on the ground. Repremand the General, but don't releave him of duty.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  13. PhillyKen

    A General or other ranking official in the US Military has an duty to not impugn or disparage the US President. Period. It does not matter who the President is or what their party affiliation – it would be unacceptable under any President's term, past, present or future.

    The US Military is not to be politicized – it must protect and serve for ALL Americans regardless of whose administration is in office.

    We have the power of impeachment for our executive branch should a vote of no-confidence be required. We do not accept military coups or juntas in this nation, and we do not accept public infighting between our Armed Forces and our Commander in Chief.

    If a General has forgotten that, then it is time they should retire and make way for soldiers who can remember the order of command in the United State of America.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cathy

      I tell you what – I will take the general to protect me, and the rest of you who don't like what he has to say can rely upon Obama to protect you. Let's see which of us survives....

      June 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. andrew s. rostolder

    i think the general should be axed,,,, i was a military man.(usmc) this is conduct unbecoming an officer. and especially the commanding general.. the commander in chief loses respect from his troops... this can be a downward spiral... dump the general and there will be grumps but the respect of the chain of command is maintained.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. vietvet

    Don't fire McChrystal, keep the reprimand the SOB and send him back over to finish the damn job. He has gotten everything he requested from the President, so do not let him slip away and say he never had a chance to finish the job. Do your job General.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23