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. FlyGuy52

    General McChrystal has violated the UCMJ and his offense is punishable by a court martial. As a member of the military, under the law he does NOT have the right of free speech when it comes to disparaging the President or the chain of command. He knows this very well, and did it anyway. He should be court-martialed; a firing would be a gift.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ken Herber

    In the service during ww2, I early on learned that even a private is not free to denigrate the leadership. Let this President follow the brave steps of President Truman. Sure he'll become a Tea Partner, but whoever would say he had Class?

    June 22, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Lou

    Stanley McChrystal has proven over and over again that he is disrespectful of this country, it's citizens, and more importantly the Commander-In-Chief, the president of the United States of America. He should be fired with no pension.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. M.K.

    The ones defending the General are all Right wing-nuts that would vote for Hitler against any Democrat. They are sicko, especially the one signed Reagan. This is more fun than anything on the tube. Bring on all the wing nuts.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John Kerns

    FORGET CHAIN OF COMMAND, FORGET FREEDOM OF SPEECH, FORGET ALL THE CRAP, I DO NOT WANT SOMEONE THAT STUPID WORKING FOR US, U.S.

    COURT MARSHALL!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ken

    I say keep McChrystal and dump Obama and his idiot sidekick Biden.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. samantha

    I myself can not stand what Obama has done to this country so far, I would hate to see the General Fired, we all make mistakes, and though he has a right to his opinion, telling it to a magazine was not the best decision. So whether you like obama or not, he does have every right to fire him or ask for his resignation.
    Obama is nothing but a fool, he is ruining america, shoving health care down the throats of americans, wanting amnesty for illegal immigrants, he really is no leader, he acts like a street thug most the time, his way or no way, going against the will of most americans. hurry up 2013.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike from Sachse

    McChrystal has to go. How he does it is his choice –resign or be fired.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. M.K.

    EWR, hear,hear.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Johnny Five

    The whole military hates Obama and the wars. Most of the enlisted want to hurt their leaders. McCrystal is just one of many who think that way. They hate it their country is run by cowards and evil.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jai

    Simple...when a clerk..electrician...bus driver...etc. speaks out against their boss...he/she gets a warning and if he/she continues she gets FIRED. Yes I know that I have simplify this without blaming Obama for everything under the sun.

    Something you just knida know not to do...unless you are ready to get let go!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mr. Tony

    Well, as I see it, the General is only mirroring the actions of more than a majority of Americans. Just because he is in the military doesn't remove his 1st amendment rights. Yes the comments are not pretty, yes the comments are probably bordering on insubordination but are for the most part TRUE and understandable.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Robert Purcell

    Have we all lost our minds?! Millions of tax dollars are spent to train men like General McChrystal to do a job we hope and pray we never have to ask them to do. Then chastise, ridicule and judge them for it. God help them if they are critical of those calling the shots.
    The Uniform Code of Military Justice states that what Gen. McChrystal did is a Court Martialable offense. I would ask simply this. Has he continued to follow the orders of the President and the Joint Chiefs? Has he been derelict in his duties in any way?

    The media, news agencies, actors, actresses, comedians, musicians and private citizens, all can launch vicious opinionated attacks, founded and unfounded, with impunity. Often applauded for their disrespect of the office of the President and our government, by people on both sides of the isle and everywhere in between.
    And yet if those closest to those they speak out against or critically of, speak out, almost always find them selves looking for another job.
    Wouldn't they be the ones that know what is wrong or broken?

    Yes, The President of the United States should always be extended a high level of respect. If for no reason other than achieving the office in the first place. Especially by those in the military.

    However, should simply being the president excuse him or her from being called on the job he or she is doing?

    June 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mattski

    I really think his staff did more damage than he did himself. If he's guilty of anything, it's not keeping a lid on the mouthy staffers. Beyond what they said about the Administration, they're is running around referring to state dinners as "effin' gay". Not exactly the honor and stature we expect. Yep he should be axed. Not for what he said, but for being a weak leader.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gen. True

    While it is interesting, at some level at least, to read so many ill-informed and childish rants... you folks should understand that there is no such thing as FREE SPEECH in the military! You are simply there to serve...

    McEgo has been warned too many times already… although, as a good Christian, I would not like to see him fired by President Obama, I do hope that he would be beheaded on the steps of the White House, so that all would know, once and for all time, that you do not diss the Commander-in Chief in any manner, especially in public, and remain in the military to crow about it…

    June 22, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
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