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. Pogue Mahone

    The General is just a little too important to fire right now with the summer offensive spooling up. In addition, he's got a thorough background in COIN ops, both theory and experience, that are vital right now. I think he'll stay until it's time to rotate then he'll either retire or be reassigned to an office in the basement of the Pentagon.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TC

    General McChrystal should not have apologized, and her certainly should not be fired. If anything, Obama, Biden, and Democrat leaders in Congress should apologize to McChrystal and every person serving in the military. If Obama cannot handle criticism, he does not need to be President. Obama can give criticism, yell at BP, fire a CEO, tell the American people what we will do, and make very rude, hateful, and ignorant comments, yet when someone criticizes him, he becomes defensive. General McChrystal has more intelligence, class, honor, dignity, and leadership skills than Obama has in his in little finger. Think about it! General McChrystal does not tele-promters or monitors, he does blame President Bush for everything, and he knows we have 50 states. McChrystal has and is serving our Country with Dignity and Honor. Does anything else need to be said? May God Bless the United States and keep us stafe.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Paul

    He's a general who's entire career has been spent in some sort of special ops type of position. He's a fighting man...not a politician. He has a simple job...to keep us safe in ways that we couldn't imagine. Leave him alone. I know he isn't supposed to be criticizing the president, but he's been smacked around enough. I sure all of you at one point has had to work for an incompetent boss. It's not easy. Especially with such a tough job, with so many lives at stake.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. paula

    What this person did is grounds for court martial-he should be ashamed of demoralizing our troops-chain of command and respect for superiors is paramount to the military. If he were a civilian it would be a different story and free speech would apply! Our contry is divided enough and I am so sad about the ugliness spewed by both sides-we are in this together folks!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tom P

    The general is a traitor.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Carl

    Anyone in a same or similar position that made or permitted such remarks would be fired. Period. Anyone of you that believes to the contrary has never been employed in a position of authoirty. Express your opinion, if you want, but expect the consequences of those expressions. This is a no brainer, and if he was truly a man of integrity he would simply be a man of integriity and resign his post. This is not about our President, this is really about the insubordinate underling.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Army 20

    First off just by verture of the article, McChrystal should be replaced, either nip this in the bud or give up Command. Second, this is not the first controvery McChrystals been involved in, there was the Tillman affair, while I can understand his grand standing in wanting to make Tillman a hero, we don't do such things. Then there was his I will Court Martial all pregant soldiers and those that made them pregant even if its their husband, then we had a incident where McChrysal second guessed a field Commander so far removed from him that things just get riduculus. A Company Commader is awarded a medoal for bravery in action in the defense of his position only to then see his carrer end when McChrystal admonishing him in a letter of reprimand for not doing all he could to make his posistion defensable, excuse me a 4 Star General becoming personally involved in decisions made by a Company Commander in the field. A Commander in the field can not be second guessed by his high command, it just is not done, it inhibits the decision making process and gets people killed because now in Afganistan under McChrystal each and every Commander at each and every level is wondering if something happens will their decisions be backed or second guessed, it just is not done. I don't know if I have ever seen micromanagement and interference in Command at this level ever before. And finally, don't even tell me that the Pentagon approved this interveiw, and what a Commander accepting responsabilty for his actions and words, he fires the PR guy. Now I tell you this is not the type of leader I want to follow into Combat.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TJ Morse

    Why do our soldiers have fewer rights than our citizens? No one should be shunned for dissent. President Obama should meet with him and talk with him, but its absurd to demand he resign, be court-martialed, and he does not even necessarily have to apologies unless he too feels that his comments go against his actual values.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Angela

    The General & his Aides need to be FIRED!!! There are many, many, many more Government personnel that are insubordinate of our President. This proves Our Country is far from overcoming racism!

    June 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cathy

      Racism???? We elected him to the highest office in our land by a substantial majority! What racism? I would be grateful for being the recipient of such racism.....

      June 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chanel

    Insubordination is not something to look the other way on. Especially in such a high ranking official. You have to think about the respect that he just lost from service members themselves. Another "do as I say not as I do" type of leader is not what the military needs. It is going to be a difficult decision to make.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jon

    *shrug* He can say whatever he likes, so long as he gets the job done. If Obama's smart, he'll think the same.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Bruce

    Obama is handling the Afgan, Pakstan war like he is handling the gulf oil spill, and you wonder why the general said what he said,

    June 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • pedro

      Yep – deliberately and effectively where he is supposed to be, and hands off where he is not. He is among the best presidents we have ever had.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff

    EWR--You have drank the kool-aid. In your earlier post you outlined all of the items that Obama has or is managing. Each one of the things you listed have gotten progressively worse under President Obama. Our President is not a manager but merely a talking head. I personally had high hopes for our President but have given up on his ability to govern. So much for change.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Clive Gibbons

    If McChrystal is enough of a gentleman soldier, he'd do the noble thing and resign.
    Don't give Obama the opportunity to lower the boom.

    However, if the General feels brassy enough to hang around, it's time for the President to bust him down to Private.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. currahee

    The fact of the matter is that this Gen is frusterated with all the smoke and mirrors of DC. Obama's not the only one. R's and D's alike... there all about polls. McArther did the same in the Korean War and look what happened. This guy is the right man for the job. You dont become a four star by not being a little egotistical. But the facts speak for themselves... He's getting the job done.

    June 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
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