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. Lewy

    Should McChrystal be axed? We – and Obama – won't know until Obama reads it off theTeleprompter.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. phan22

    it would be a big mistake if obama dismissed mcchrystal.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Eileen Tronnes Nelson

    Yes, he should be terminated from his position.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Neq

    Ax Obama, (the dictator of the New World Order). Why cannot the general speak out against him? Obama is a dictator and his regime is full of czars appointed by him and not approved by the senate. He is more than likely the up and coming anti-Christ.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Victoria

    Keep him. Obama needs to stop being so whiny and blaming everyone else. I have to remember to be insubordinate so I don't have to deploy again. Need to see if that works for me or just officers.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vern in Ohio

    He needs to be fired. No military commander can violate the chain of command this way. Doesn't matter who the president is; doesn't matter if that president has military experioence or not. Our Contintution lays out that command structure-and it's kept us a free nation for 230 years. The Military is subservient to cvilians. Unless we want to end up like every tinpot dictatorship that has ever existed, by letting the miltary take over, this is the way it should always be in the U.S.

    There is no choice here. And it's McChrystal's fault. Not Obama's; not Rolling Stone; but the General himself.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Justathought

    As disgusted as I am by the truly adolescent behavior displayed by these individuals, the fact remains that this is the general who crafted the Afghanistan strategy and we are on the eve of the critical offensive of the entire effort. There are American lives at stake, as well as our own national security – or have you forgotten that the Taliban sheltered the individuals who successfully attacked us on 9/11.

    President Obama should stand with him in front of a TV camera, call him out publicly and watch the general apologize profusely and abjectly. Then President Obama should note that there are larger things at stake, and the general is going to go about the business of implementing his strategy.

    What a stupid, stupid thing to do whether the reporter was present or not, though. What kind of soldier behaves that way towards his commanding officer? It is not military behavior at all.

    June 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mleddy

    For all the individuals who made negtive comments about the General and are currently serving in the military should face charges under the UCMJ! According to your post! I have served in the Marine Corp and free speech does not apply while you are actively serving!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sugar

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal spoke the truth. He should not be terminate from his current position. Grow up Obama!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Galen Smith

    I Say Fire Him,
    He Broke A Major Rule Of Conduct !

    June 22, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. RMD

    Should he be axed? Heck, yes. Oh, wait, it's not asking about Obama? Oh . . . never mind.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jamie

    McChrystal should be asked how he would handle it, if someone working for him had made the same comments about him.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  13. Major_Tom

    The McChrystal situation (whether or not to fire him) – it is now completely a matter of Military command and the damage to such if the general remains.... Folks who have not been in the military may not understand this. The military does not require that you respect the man, but you MUST respect the rank without exception. Regardless of yourpersonal politics, you must understand that if the chain of command breaks down, our whole military system breaks down. This is the EXACT reason why such insubordination, whether direct or condoned, is forbidden by the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The higher the rank of one who violates this, the more serious the matter becomes. If the general isnt diciplined, irreparable harm will be done. I like General Mc Chrystal – but he must go.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. vietnam vet

    He should be fired for giving comfort to the enemy. Our enemies around the world must be getting a great laugh. He's put more of our soldiers in harms way(including my son) because of his ego. He has got to go!

    June 23, 2010 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. Alex

    No, he's a good soldier, but he does need a swift kick in the butt for disrespecting the offices of the commander in chief. A general should know better.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
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