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. Michael

    Isn't this a court martial offense? For a military officer to publicly speak this way about the commander and civilian elected officials?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gasman

    The summation of Joe Klein's piece contains a glaring error. It quotes Klein as saying that McChrystal is "irreplaceable." That is flat out wrong. The second sentence of the last paragraph of Klein's article reads: "He is not irreplaceable."

    CNN, if you are going to summarize articles you should do so accurately. At least try reading them thoroughly first.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CDR Wyndell Patterson

    After serving, as of May 11, 2010, 30 years in the US Navy,...I can without hesitiation state..you are an idiot.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    Fire the General; and then let's fire Obama too at the next election.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Calvin Hobbes

    He ll NO!! The only ones that should b axed is in the Dumbama administration.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JIM V

    OK ,so he made a mistake . Joe Biden is not man enough ,nor as succesfull in his achievments as the General-for God's sake the General is a DBOY .Delta Force is an achievement these civil rights attorneys posing as leaders do not even understand .Why don't they have a beer photo op on the lawn and let the General get back to work .Shame on you Mr.President ,you should know better than to do this . How many kids die when a bad general is in charge? The fact is that osama is not hitler ,we should not be wasting all this blood and treasure on Karzai's drug lord ruled fiefdom . If the President had any sense of real leadership ,we would not be in this mess .

    June 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • kerry

      Bush started this and is walking free probably playing golf somewhere..........how is it that we never blame the real culprit? At the end the story is the same.....the powerful escape the war they inflict on others. I never hear anybody say.....the war and the economy were the result of former president BUSH.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cathy

      Good Grief Kerry.... The real culprit? I simply don't recall Bush flying planes into the World Trade Center... Am I forgetting something? What was he supposed to do – ask everyone to get together, hold hands and talk it over? Yeah – that would work...

      June 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mArK

    Speaking the truth to Rollingstone wasn't the brightest move, but it was still the truth. The liberal obsession with political correctness is about to play itself out again. Obama gets to "kick som a**" for the suck-up media to broadcast, while a qualified and talented war hero gets sent home.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mills

      The "truth" you claim McChrystal spoke was noting but obnoxious insults to our Commander-in-Chief. The General became who he became based on following honor and protocol. He just lost it. There is no justification for insulting HIS Commander-in-Chief.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • jane boucher

      IT IS AGAINST THE MILITARYS code of justice to criticize the commander in chief, if he doesn't understand this what does he understand, He has to GO. JANE

      June 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wanda

    YOU WON'T SEE OUR PRESIDENT APOLOGIZING – BECAUSE HE IS CALM AND THINKS ABOUT WHAT HE DOES WHICH MOST AMERICANS DO NOT APPRECIATE - NOW MAYBE THEY WILL SEE HOW THE 'HOT HEADS' WOULD RUN THIS COUNTRY AS THEY DID FOR 8 YEARS -
    I LIKE A COMMANDER IN CHIEF THAT DOES NOT HAVE TO APOLOGIZE BECAUSE HE THINKS FIRST!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Butch

      Apologize about what? He doesn't DO anything!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bull

    The General spoke,before he thought about what he was saying.No big deal.Should everybody be "fired"for doing so.
    This man is probably getting to his 30 years in service.He's been at war for a long time.Anybody else who's been in the service will know how that feels.
    Obama is no saint.He's told the Coast Guard to get rid of 1176 positions.Half have been lost so far.Nobody would think to fire him for doing something so stupid.So,cut the General the same slack you yourself would hope for.The man just needs a rest.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dennis

    Being ex-military myself, I was trained to never question a superior or make the comments like the general has. He should be demoted or relieved of his duties IMMEDIATELY for his actions no matter what he says or how he apologizes. Whenever one questioned Bush, they got hammered hard for their comments. The same should apply now. NO EXCEPTIONS!! As for firing Obama. I say NO!! He is cleaning up a huge mess left behind by Bush and Cheney. He is doing a fine job considering what has happened in the past 8 years. TO THE TEABAGGERS!! I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Barry

    The General should resign – immediately. In fact, he should be fired – retirement is too easy on him. Military people understand the chain of command. If a subordinate spoke that way of the general, that person would be treated to a summary court-martial. I think General Powell is an example for all serving military. No one ever knew what his personal opinions of the civilian leadership were.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Prideworks

    Every soldier knows even if you don't respect your superior, you respect the position he/she holds. This is flagant insubordination and he should step down. And why isn't anyone addressing the outright inappropriate remarks made by his aides?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Conservative

    Would you PLEASE stop bringing race into this?? It’s getting ridiculous. I don't like Obama...but not because he's a black man. I think he's an idiot and has no business being a Senator...much less a President. But I think Biden, Gibbs, Reid...there all idiots too and they're white. This whole administration is a complete failure. It’s embarrassing! And if you want examples...ummm lets see...healthcare, deficit, immigration, the gulf. What else do you need? Pretty much everything that this administration has touched....complete disaster. But it doesn't really matter if it's in black and white for you libs does it. You just keep hanging off his every disgusting, creepy, slimy word and you eat it up. You are idiots too. How about you do your own research and educate yourself so that you can have the glorious knowledge and be able to distinguish between hearing what he's saying, and then knowing what it is he's actually DOING. And as far as McChrystal, yes it was wrong for him to be disrespectful given his position, but as someone who can totally relate to the frustration (well, some what relate) that he has, I think it's hilarious! I love it. He should be reprimanded, but we need him in this war because God knows who Obama would get to replace him. I shutter to think!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bull

    gretchen is correct.At a time when we need to ADD to the Coast Guard,Obama has ordered 1176 positions to be cut.A very stupid act.Most people believe the Coast Guard should be the same size as the Marine Corp.But now,it's no bigger than NYPD. Yes,he's getting away with alot.The public needs to know about his stupid moves.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tom

    As one who has served in the military, NO insubordination of this nature can be tolerated. The military serves the government. If it were the other way around, we would have a military dictatorship. If a military leader doesn't like the government representatives in power, he or she can say anything they want – at their retirement ceremony. BTW, if one of the general's subordinates had said similar things about him, they would be facing a court martial. He HAS to go.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
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