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. jane boucher

    Well we can't fire the president but we can fire this idiot for not understanding the harm he has done, instead of running to a magazine he should have been brave and complained to the chain of command. You don't run down the Commander in Chief no matter who it is., he has done harm to our troops and aided the people who are against this country.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tsol

    So he shot his mouth off – I don't see why he needs to be fired. Give him a tongue lashing and send him back to work – he has enough to worry about.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Celia

    Would the General tolerate his Lieutenants undermining his authority by making belittling comments? If so, then he does not understand the importance of the chain of command, and he certainly does not understand the role of the President as Commander in Chief. The General’s behavior is a poor example to all other service members and is a severe leadership failure.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mills

      Well said.
      I totally agree.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |

    If he is fired Obama will have made a huge mistake. If there is anyone right for the job in the middle east it's McCrystal.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Madison

      Nobody is irreplaceable.

      June 23, 2010 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    In the chain of command, Respecty and discipline are fundamental to the effectiveness of a military unit. MacChrystal has violated those fundamentals and must go. When the chain is broken, our soldiers are at risk. McCrystal must GO.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Joe

    Fire him for incompetence (how is he doing catching Bin Laden anyway?), put him on trial for high treason. Military tribunal. Guantanamo. No question about it. You don't do that to your commanding officer and he knows it. Every once in a while we have to take down a general to preserve the republic: Patten, McClellan, now McChrystal. If the guy wants to run for public office or sway public opinion then get him out of the military first. He just became dangerous. The bigger question we should be asking (but are too dumb to) is "Why is a military general in a time of war giving an interview to Rolling Stone magazine?" Is he really in charge or just a figurehead? In either role he failed and now he thinks he is bigger than the Republic. Big problem. Very understated by the press.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joy

    I think the MEDIA should let the Obama administration handle it and make their decision. There is way too much intrusion by the media.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      The whole problem is the media did not vette Obama in the first place. LOL. Now McChrystal and a whole host of other people stand up and tell you that the emperor has no clothes and you turn a blind eye again!! ROFLMAO. A general finally telling you all what we should have realized when we voted for this joker.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • CTYank

      A general officer does not have the option of such flippant and arrogant dismissal of a president. Nor, really, does he have the option of judging a president on his subjective perceptions. He should know that, and that it's his responsibility to introduce himself to his CinC, advise him to the best of his ability, then say (and mean) "yes, sir."
      Flag officers are selected partly on the basis of their political skills; seems some previous superiors must have fudged his fitreps some.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • SFC (Ret) Winburn

      Obviously CTYank you have no thought, nor care from the troop on the ground. What do you think the Taliban is thinking right now as they read your comment? Shame on you for directing our young men and women into hard way further, by what their leader "fired" like Donald Trump. President Obama can handle this with thicker skin, admonish the General act and move forward.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • SFC (Ret) Winburn

      Joy, I sure hope you don't have a son or daughter there.

      June 22, 2010 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Gerald

    McChrystal must be fired! His comments are a gross violation of the military chain of command in this country. Regardless of what one might think of Obama, he is the duly elected President and, as such, Commander in Chief. We cannot tolerate such insubordination and keep the integrity of this country's military. This reminds me of the situation that President Truman faced with Gen. McArthur and Trumen did just what Obama needs to do.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Big Q

    You obviously are a flag-waving right-winger that has no military experience or understanding of the military. The military is a NON-POLITICAL arm of the government. MIlitary officers are not allowed to politic or to criticize the President, VP, his cabinet, the federal government, or governors. As a senior officer he is well aware of this and should be court martialed according to the UCMJ (United Code of Military Justice). If he is truly an officer and a
    gentleman, he should resign and spare the cost and embarrassment of a court martial trial. At that point he would be able to criticize whoever he damn well pleases.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |

    Since I am an ARMY veteran of 27 years, I believe that I am very qualified to comment on this article. Disloyalty to the Commander In Chief should not be tolerated at any level or degree. This General should resign or be fired immediately. There can be no order in the military without loyalty and respect. He was clearly disloyal and disrespectful. Let's also add conduct unbecoming a general officer to the list of misconduct. Would he allow one of his subordinate officers or enlisted soldiers to speak of him negatively in public? I seriously doubt it. Strong discipline is definitely in order for this General. Remember, rules are different for military personnel. We defend your right to free speech, but we are held to a different standard. Every soldier knows this and loyal soldiers don't cross the line. General McChrystal crossed the line and should be relieved of duty immediately.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. steve harnack

    Truman fired MacArthur, who at the time was probably more popular with the people than Truman was, for much the same thing. Of course Karzai supports McCrystal, he would hate for there to be any interruptions to the flow of payoff money going to him and his cronies, the money going to the warlords who then pay the Taliban. They have an economy dependent on the war continuing as long as possible, They'll fight to the last American!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Laura

    Ummm , under the Obama administration are we not allowed to disagree? Has the general been derelict in his duties? I wander was " always give praise to the President and his administration" put into his job position. Last I had heard we still have free speech in this country, maybe I am missing something. Did we vote in a dictator? Why are people getting fired for disagreeing with policies? Lots of people rant – liberals and conservatives alike. Isnt that freedom one of the reasons McChrystal and the other members of the armed forces are over there in Afghanistan? What are they sacrificing theirselves for if that is the case?

    June 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike urciolo

      According to the UCMJ, it is not lawful for a military man or woman to publicly say anything negative about the President.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @Laura....what don't you understand? The General operates under the Military Code of Conduct...civilians don't. It really is pretty simple. Maybe you know someone who served in the military and could ask them about it 🙂

      June 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. EWR

    Bull....the Coast Guard? I'm sorry, what war are they fighting? Thankfully the Coast Guard is cleaning up the spill and we appreciate that; however, I'd recommend you think beyond just the Coast Guard and think the whole-of-government. If you put your bigger hat on, then you will realize that our economic prosperity is what makes us a strong nation. Not sure why the Coast Guard needs to be as big as the Marine Corps, but I can say that not adding more people and equipment is probably a risk the US can afford. Heck, we should even close the Coast Guard academy and merge them with the US Navy and Marine Corps. Start thinking in the other direction – lower government spending.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. David B

    Remember, we are at war now. This wasn't Obama's war and he is doing what he has to do to finish it. McChrystal admits he was wrong. If I said negative things about my boss on a national even international scale I have to be held accountable for it. Lives are at stake all over that region and to be that reckless to give a several month interview is just inept!!!!!!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • DB

      I agree 110%. Instead of interviewing with trashy magazines he should be doing his job and ending this war that Bush started. He is a JOKE!

      June 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pogue Mahone

      ??? You understand we went into Afganistan because they were sheltering Osama and AQ, right? The Taliban at the time ruled A-stan with an iron fist and refused to give AQ up. Would you have rather we launched a couple impotent cruise missiles and wrung our hands? Also, Rolling Stone has given us some great articles to include "Generation Kill" one of the best stories on the Marines in Iraq. What a maroon...

      June 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Cohn

      Gen. MAc should have already been fired. Howereer, Gen. Mac is right; Obama is awimp, and does not ave the "guts" to fire him. In all probability Obama will take the easy way out and accept a resignation. For the Gen, better that being fired.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      That's how it's always done, the guy is supposed to resign.

      June 23, 2010 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Tony Ejiofor

      I have not dulicated my comment on Geneal Mc Crystal ,Please publish my comment

      June 23, 2010 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Butch

      What does Obama want- to WIN this war - OR - to stroke his ego? He seems to want to "Throw the baby out
      with the bath water."

      June 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    That's my kind of guy.......say it like it is, and the heck with the BS.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
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