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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soundoff (520 Responses)
  1. Major_Tom

    SFC Winburn..... Assuming you are truly retired military: Honestly, how far would YOU have gotten had you publicly trash talked and shown complete disrespect to a senior officer?

    You dont have to respect the man, but you *MUST* respect the rank.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dan

    Should he be axed? Well, I think Obama should finish his term. He has shown no leadership in world politics and the Afghan strategy has been indecisive, health care is a disaster - thirty million Americans with "health insurance" and no access to care because they didn't include physician payments in the bill, and the oil spill response that is comical. Disrespectful? yes Deserved? yes Will he be fired? probably

    June 23, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. Mark Ross

    Obama should be removed yes, he is not fit for Commander in Cheif.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mark Ross

    Obama is not a real president so you can say what you want, the military should take over.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • msles59130

      That's called treason. I don't care if you like Obama or not, I believe that you should be prosecuted for advocating a military coup d'etat.

      June 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Linda

    What was this guy thinking? Or drinking? Some have stated here that he is an honorable and respected commander. Unfortunately, he doesn't appear to understand his duty to honor or respect his Commander in Chief. With that he disrespects us all. He has proven himself to be a snake in the grass and should be replaced by someone who will carry out the mission and check their own ego trip at the door.

    June 23, 2010 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. valwayne

    Gen McChrystal didn't intentionally publicize his contempt for Obama. And it would have been easy enough to guess how our military commanders at all levels feel about a Commander in Chief who bows to dictators, apologizes for our nation every time he steps foot on foreign soil, and appeases nations like Iran! Should the war effort in Afghanistan be wrecked because McChrytal inadvertantly told us what we already know?

    June 23, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. AfghanVet2008

    Direct quote from the Uniform Code of Military Justice:

    888. ART. 88. CONTEMPT TOWARD OFFICIALS
    Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

    Seems pretty straight forward to me. He may be right, but he needs to be held accountable for his actions, which are clearly in violation of article 88.

    June 23, 2010 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kingofthenet

    This is a difficult issue, no doubt the belligerent disrespect the General has show, warrants dismissal, but removing the lynch-pin of your war strategy with a year to go is also unwise.It will take awhile for someone else to get up to speed, and it lets the General 'Off the Hook' if things go badly. If I were the President I would say to this General, "General this is YOUR war, get to fighting it, and if you open up your trap to ANY press again, I am not 'only' going to accept your resignation, but I am going to FIRE you in the most publicly embarrassing way.

    June 23, 2010 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. dan P

    I have never been in the miliatary but I can understand that all the men and women in our forces that are in harms way need to express there feelings. Whimps at the white house I am sure there are a few.
    Not saying anything against the Comander and Chief sorry he is in Washington not on the front lines. The only thing that was a mistake was saying it to a reporter of any kind. So what are they gonna do with all the Americans who have the same opinion run them out of the country.
    CNN was asking for a month what was our President was going to do about the oil spill and BP. When he started talking seemed he was more upset about the ones saying the government wasn't doing enough.
    Final note if people in the military can not question the judgment of our comander in chief how can our senators and congressmen do it in public. It seems our military has the right to fight and die for there country but not use there voice.
    Just because they spoke an oath to protect this country dosn't mean they should loose there right to speak.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. GH

    Nice. We're in the middle of major Afghan crisis and on the verge of another major offensive and Obama drags a General ALL the way back to Washington because of.... let me give my head a shake.... a Rolling Stone article??? There is nothing explosive IN the friggin article that should warrent a removal from his position so why even bother??

    And someone help me out..... the economy's in the ditch, unemployment thru the roof, the border is in complete chaos, 2 wars going on, a neverending oil spill, terror suspects being tried in NEW YORK!, and this guy is "angry" w/ some comments made in a Rolling Stone magazine???????

    June 23, 2010 at 2:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. Doug

    You shouldn't have to axe him – just fire him. You can axe him to come to your office in order to do so

    June 23, 2010 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  12. dan P

    If the President can't take others opinions of him maybe he chose the wrong job. And I can't believe how people are still trying to drag Bush into this Obama picked this man now get over it.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joe

    Can him! No respect for his Commander in Chief. What a moron.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. MrPlywood

    Funny how conservatives were incensed beyond description when the innocuous Dixie Chicks said something about Bush. Now, however, they seem to say that it's OK to be unpatriotic and diss the president. Bush, his cronies and their lemmings built a whole culture of "if yer not fer us, yer agin us...", stifling anyone who had anything negative to say about the illegal war in Iraq, and spun it as being anti-troops. Pffffft.

    June 23, 2010 at 2:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    I have never seen a president, in my lifetime, act like Obama. The bad mouthing, finger pointing, childish behavior, spatting with everyone and anyone? Wherre is the leadership? I have never seen a US president go to a different country and bad mouth a law from a state in his own country? How inappropriate is that? Obama had about 1 to 1.5 years to learn how to operate appropriately as president of US, and has not learned yet. He is an embarrassment to the US!

    June 23, 2010 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
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