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. mike urciolo

    No he should not be axed. What he did was unprofessional, but let's try to remember what his profession is – he is a commanding general with combat experience. Last time I checked, there weren't too many people with those qualifications.

    Jesse Jackson Jr. and Roland Martin are both calling for his resignation because of remarks made against the President. Where were these two when he was making fun of Joe Biden? I'm really tired of the race card being placed.

    And for the record, I happen to be a liberal democrat who's fed up with both parties.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bgl

    Yes, Obama should fire him. If the General had criticisms of the President, or anybody else with authority over him, this was not the forum to address those concerns. I can't say that I have ever seen a general do this to any other Commander In Chief. It is disrespectful, unprofessional, and disloyal. You simply do NOT do this period. The General would never tolerate disrespect of his rank and position. Why should Obama tolerate the General's disrespect towards him? He must be reprimanded for his lack of judgement, disloyalty, and just plain old disrespect.

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

    All you people bickering about this are pretty lame...You gotta realize whether you are democrat or republican your all the same...your all ruining this country...only diff is..Republicans always are interested in money...and Democrats always have their head stuck way to far up their asses...

    June 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Zoe

    Supposedly this guy is a war hero and they're going to axe him for stating his opinion? Isn't that a gross violation of freedom of speech? Heck, if I'd just come back from fighting an unjust war to further line the pockets of the wealthy oil companies and destroy small countries I'd probably be a little bitter, too.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Truth Will Set You Free

    Please refer to



    June 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DrCreosote

    If we fire him for having his opinions of his superiors published, particularly when his superiors are employed by the federal government, are we upholding anyone's right to freedom of expression or speech? Obama would be better to let him remain in his position, knowing how he feels. Silencing your enemies is un-American and has more in common with regimes we overthrew than the nation we claim to live in.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Drew

    The case is simple: if the military itself wanted to pursue it, commenting negatively about the Commander-In-Chief in public while serving in the military is a court-martial offense according to the UCMJ. If you want to laud McCrystal for his candor, go ahead. If you agree with his assessment, fine. None of that, however, excuses him from a potential court-martial, were it ever to get to that point.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CitizenJP

    General's lack of respect for the authority clearly shows his lack of commitment to the mission. His arrogance clearly demonstrates that he thinks he is above the American people. I hope the President fires him immediately without wasting much time.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Fandango

    Just have a beer summit with the guy and everything will be resolved.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CombatMedic

    If it were a private saying things like this, he'd get hemmed up. The double standard between the enlisted and officer corps is absurd. 2nd LT or 4 Star, PVT of CSM we all must follow the same rules, and all be held equally accountable.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Kathy R

    McChrystal has been an excellent general. I think it would be a huge mistake to pull him from his job at a time when our forces are planning a major offensive in the city of Kandahar. He has done much to build a connection with the people of Afghanistan and I think removing him now would be a severe set back. If President Obama is really interested in the success of the mission and the support of our troops, he should let his pride take a back seat and keep McChrystal on the job.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @ Kathy R.....excellent General...really? How about the Tillman cover up? How about all the drug money flying into the pockets of Karzai and his friends and family? Oh...and what about bin Laden? Excellent job....geez.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CitizenJP

    General's blatant disrespect to the authority clearly demonstrates his lack of commitment to the mission. His arrogance indicates that he thinks he is above the American people. I hope the president fires him immediately without wasting much time.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Heather H

    Why do people apologize for speaking their minds. Freedom of speech. The only ones who get their drawers in a knot are the ones that don't want to admit he's right.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Truth Will Set You Free

    There's no reason for people on here to be arguing like High school kids. Look at all the name calling and JUVENILE behavior. Is anyone capable of having an intelligent, respectful argument without acting like a group of kids at recess?


    ^^ Look at this website and approach every issue as a POLITICAL ATHEIST. You will shocked as to what is really going on and I beg people not to believe a word of it till you do your own research and you will WAKE UP. MAINSTREAM MEDIA IS A JOKE!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim Smith

    Lincoln axed McClellan (spelling). Truman axed MacArthur. I seem to recall Baby Bush getting rid of two generals.
    No general is allowed to go against the commander in chief. And no general officer, none is ever "the only one".

    June 22, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
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