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. John Kerns

    I could snort some Glenn Beck, do a spike of palin, and drop vicks with Rush, and still think: Court Marshall

    June 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @ John Kearns...I love it. You must be Irish....hysterical and to the point. Conduct unbecoming...court martial 🙂

      June 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Judy Strong

    no way should the general be fired. Pre. Obama, let's face it, knows nothing about the military or war. Right now Gen. McChrystal is the #1 man in a war too old, and too long fought. It's like to see Obama in such a difficult position - he'd crumble!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ty

    Yea this would be a tough decision as I do believe that all the comments made were in jest and were meant as no ill harm toward those in the current administration. I also believe that the general should be credited with being honest in his opinions in what he most likely thought was a private conversation, his only mistake was letting the press listen in. But there are also specific military ordinances that deal with this type of insubordination, so as a person i can feel that the general did nothing wrong, as he is a military leader not a politician, but it would not surprise me if something negative happened, as Obama could have a somewhat forced decision.

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

    The General should be fired!!! No questions asked. I served for 6 years and I met many of dumb officers, but this guy takes the cake. Guys like him get the "GOD" syndrome and say and do whatever they want. He and his staff of rebels are a disgrace to the country and get tanked in foreign countries and embarrass the US and are terrible ambassadors to our country. Even if he is fired, which the general probably wants, he will receive a great retirement package and the staff who work for him will will be transferred to new positions. It is impossible to fire government and military people, and that's why they can act like idiots, do as little work as possible, and party in Paris on the taxpayers tab.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vic

    Hey- think ...

    Patton was military-I love and revere him. And, he was probably right-if we got after the bad guys the world might be different today.

    But Georgie-asset in war, was liability in peace. A military man serves civilians, and civilians in peace need to stay in peace, and that is a different approach. I love Georgie and respect Billy, and I am a conservative (Republicans are too liberal for me) and Obama was elected. He is our President and Commander in Chief. He speaks for our interests, and I respect democracy and all it stands for.

    Billy took an oath of loyalty. I do not have the details, but if there is a real difference, the Commander in Chief must be the Commander in Chief and the loyal opposition must be loyal.

    I hate it when this stuff happens....


    PS: All of the rest of you folks-those in other countries...I respect your views deeply, but do not misunderstand. Americans, like siblings, fight aggressively within their own clans, but if challenged by an outside group, are quite quick to put differences aside and attach the 3rd party. So, hide and watch, but don't get in the middle or misread it. We look like a dysfunctional family, but trust me...we can become very functional very quickly.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Hawkmoon

    No he shouldn't be fired. It may make Obama feel better, but it will certainly not help the war. The man was picked because of his military skill not for his politics. Who will they replace him with? Are they gonna let Biden run his moronic plan to have our Special Forces operating in theater with a collapsing government and only "over-the-horizon" support?
    What about our NATO allies? Politics is one thing, but there are people's lives at stake. Our soldiers deserve the BEST military commander we can field. Not the Best politician we can field.
    People need to stop thinking politics and start thinking about what we need to succeed there.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Kerns

    Can anyone say COURT MARSHALL????

    June 22, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Retired Veteran

    The President should challenge the General to a duel. Winner take all................

    June 22, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Donovan

    Obama promised to surround himself with disagreeable folks (anti-yes men). Hence he now has folks with strong opinions and while the General lacks some classy refinement, he was not hired to be classy. he was hired to keep his nose to the ground and achieve the Presidents goals. Keep him focus and keep the press away from him.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. M.K.

    Do like Harry Truman did to his majesty McArthur, only bust him back to a PFC first.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    This guy is a disgrace and embarrassment to our country. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the big mouth and ego general could be tried in court martial and he should. He will probably be given a ticket home and his full pension. He should be fired with no pension, its time for government and military employees to be held to the same standards as the rest of America.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John Gillett

    Fire Obama!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Monty

    I don't know which is worse - the content of the "General McChrystal" article or the fact that it is OK for members of the media (the reporter) to say "This is my scoop, the hell with the consequences." Did the General get a chance to read the article before it was published? Damaging the country like this used to be called treason!

    June 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jason

    Having been in the military, the bottom line is that regardless of McChrystal's rank, the president and his staff are his superiors. He has shown continual blatant disregard for his superiors. If he was a Lance Corporal he would be punished. Yet, this is a world-wide sign of dis-respect to the highest level! His ego has gotten the best of him. He deserves some type of reprimand. If I was in charge, he would be demoted and re-assigned.

    June 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. M.K.

    Bust him to PFC, then court marshal him for insubordination.

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