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. Cicero

    This is an insult to every American and their sons and daughters fighting overseas. Obama should be Axed not McCrystal.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Once again. You're not patriotic toward the country. You're patriotic toward the republican party. Keep hiding under your bed until repubs are in control – as you are a scared little child.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dad_w_two_boys_in_harms_way

      you have my vote....

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

    correction on last sentence.... if you haven't spent those last 15+ years solving these problems

    June 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Suzette

    Sounds like MCChrystal is the Whiner-" The President didn't know who I was" whiner...

    June 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Neal

    Regardless if you are on the right, left or like most of us, somewhere in the large grey area in between the polar opposites...this issue is a no-brainer, The General is out of line and should offer his resignation...if he doesn't, then fire him. Other Presidents of both parties have done so over the decades. Insubordination=goodbye.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • MsMHS

      Insubordination should be punished,, then let's get rid of the members in DC who have never followed the voice of the folks who elected them to the positions they hold - including our president.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    I'm a republican, and as much as I disagree with Obama on all sorts of matters, I think he has every right to be angry, and McChrystal should be let go. Love him or hate him, President Obama is the Commander In Chief and insubordination should not be tolerated. The military has strict conformity and a clear chain of command. You think for one minute that Gen. McChrystal would tolerate insubordination from one of his junior officers? Hell no. Obama may be a steward of impotence, but he has every right to demand McChrystal's head in this case.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard

      Mike, I agree that McChrystal is out of line here, but he is a very good and effective general and we don't have a lot generals of this level. Just imagine we axe someone as good as David Petraeus. The president should be angry and McChrystal should be punished, but letting McChrystal does may be a very bad idea. It isn't just about should he be punished. It is also about who is the best man to run this Afghanistan operation.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. It is what it is

    To Mike – You wouldn't tolerate the truth spoken in your business and you probably outsource too. Some will say only what you want to hear in order to keep their jobs...even if it means compromising their integrity. Sometimes the truth hurts but that doesn't change what it is, the truth.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    Ya know, this is the problem with politics. McChrystal's job isn't to be politically correct. He's a General. Quit whining and move on.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. f

    ?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Stanford

    Bust Little Stanly back to 2nd LT and send him out on long patrol. See if he still wants to continue a war that cannot be won. You can’t win an occupation! Cut the 2 or 3 billion dollars a week we are still wasting on the bush wars. Spend the money in the USA on American bridges, schools and hospitals, instead of replacing the ones bush had bombed. Oh yeah – and don’t forget the BP mess!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Richard

    It is true that McChrystal is out of line here. He certainly can have his own opinions, but he cannot give an internview like this. It is unprofessional and unacceptable. That being said McChrystal is a brillant military man and removing him can be a setback for our Afghanistan strategy. Some people may think all generals are the same, and we can just have anyone replace him. That is absolutely false. A great general can turn the tide of a war. Without Robert E. Lee, the Civil War would have been shorter. I dare to say that without David Petraeus, either the Iraq War would have been more bloody or we would have right out lost the war.

    I am afraid that removing McChrystal would harm this adminstration and this country more than it will harm the general.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      No, Gen. McChrystal has to be let go. Insubordination trumps all considerations including the talent or brilliance of the individual. Without sounding too melodramatic, insubordination kills effective decision making, and leads to a breakdown in communication and action. Insubordination is never tolerated in the civilian workplace, let alone the military.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MsMHS

    This is what we need - honest "advisors" in Washington - something no one working for our president has - integrity. I don't think McCrystal should have said to a magazine writer what he said, but it isn't anything worth being fired over. We elected a man president who had no experience whatsoever in anything other than community work and we should have known he was out of his depth when we did so. Now it's time for him and us to face the music. We have an incompetent leading the country with a group of libs leading the way for him. No, McCrystal should not be fired!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MartyinLA

    Any military person that is stupid enough to provide an interview to Rolling Stone, of all mags!!!, denigrating his boss, isn't fit for service to our country. FIRE HIM.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Amy, FL

    Oh my god, what an embarrassment!
    I imagine how happy should be the Taliban with his remarks.
    This guy is just pathetic!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Obama bashers

      Absolutely! Thew world laughs in our faces because we can not only not come against the Taliban or al-Qaeda in a unified way, we can't even get behind our own leadership. FIRE HIM and show him no one is irreplaceable.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Aaron

    General McChrystal is an honorable man taking on the hard jobs. He is a man I admire. As an active member of the military and currently an officer candidate, I think he should begin turning over command and resign immediatly. The general and his staff were foolish for giving the interview in the first place. I mean "Rolling Stone," give me a break. In the military you do not publically challenge or degrade you superior officers, in this case the President of the United States. Keep your mouth shut and do your job!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      "In the military you do not publically challenge or degrade you superior officers". But, didn't you just do that very thing? Could you have at least posted this without letting everyone know that you're active duty?

      June 23, 2010 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. Marge

    I don't believe Obama knows what to do so let's keep the guy that knows how to fight and get rid of Obama. I am sick at how Obama is running things. I will vote f anyone but him next time around. Also didn't vote for him this time.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
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