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. Matt

    As a two time veteran of the new American wars, and a supporter the Obama administration, I would just like to say to our politicians (including the President) and the press, GROW THE HELL UP! Are you so full of yourselves that you cannot take public criticism, even if it comes in the form of a joke or sly comment? The military has a strong history of leaders with mercurial personalities who often spoke their minds, that were invaluable in navigating the path of American History: Patton, Eisenhower, Schwarzkopf, to name a few. There is no place in war for politically correct military leaders or a concern of their behalf to advance anyone's political gain back home. I sincerely hope the President was a man about this and that he and the Vice President shared a laugh with the General on us before discussing a way to end these wars.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. M.K.

    I assume that a lot of the supporters of The general are Republicans, and support the business community. If that is true would you as a business owner allow your employees to bad mouth you and your policy? I think not.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    The General's and his staff's words of dissent to the leaders of the US and France adds fuel to the Taliban and threatens our troops. It also lowers the moral of the troops who are fighting and sacrificing in Afghanistan. Unlike the General who is in Paris getting drunk with his band of idiots and would never risk his life. Court Martial all who spoke with dissent and send them to Leavenworth Kansas.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Our Country

    I really thought that this whole article was about a mistake one of our Military figures made and not a political battlefield. The man made a mistake he crossed the line as we all, I am sure, have done. Going against the UCMJ and the standards that the army should and must uphold should be punished. But it is my oppinion that the General should maintain his position he is obviously the man for the job,. Changing the leadership midway through this plan makes no sense. I really like being able to have the oppinion and option to have freedom of speech but I feel like all these personal biased attacks on both sides just makes no sense and seem to do more harm then good in our great divide that seems to be ever growing these days. We are all Americans

    June 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jopa

    sounds like the guy was followed 24/7 and spoke his mind from time to time... but, on the other hand, why not fire the most experienced military general (with a phd) while hes in the middle of operations because rolling stone tried to sell some magazines..?

    June 22, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jopa

    the premise of the question is a joke.. I really wonder what the liberal media has to say about something anti- obama?

    June 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Emilio

    The president has failed in the leadership role. I'm a democrat and I couldn't stand the Bush administration. The president
    is not a military leader, but he is in control of the war. Generals fight wars that is what we pay them to do. The White House needs to step back and let them do their job. In the military respect is earned, Congress and the White House has done little to earn that respect. War by opinion polls are only good during elections.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @ Emilio...I respect your opinion. However, if we allowed the military to do whatever they wanted....we"d still be in Viet Nam. Gen Westmoreland was a terrible military tactician.

      June 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Throttlemonster

    Here's whats going to happen: The General will resign and receive his nice pension, then he'll get hired by Fox News as a commentator and make the big bucks – what does he really have to worry about. All of you just need to shut up.

    June 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Drew Williams

    Article 88 of the UCMJ

    “Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

    June 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. America

    Washington Post: Is Gen. Stanley McChrystal someone the president can afford to fire?

    Not unless Obamao wants to take that role himself....Oh yeah, he doesn't have ANY military experience either. Do we know from the free lance hack @ RS that Gen. SM made all of the comments or were they the brainfarts of battleweary "unnamed" aides?

    Advice to the POTUS: Quit acting like a frat boy who's just been dissed. You and Biden need to grow a pair and some thicker skin. Let this American patriot go do what he's is trained to do. Oh, and Gibbs: Time to tweeze that dberry from your left nostril.

    The freedoms of the US are secured by our military. No one else. Think about that and our troops on the wall – all of them – when you consider slapping them around.

    June 22, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dan O

    The answer is easy the General is wrong as retied miltary NCO off with His head he needs to be Fired!!!!!!!!!! Must be punished we punished a lot of NCO'S and Privates when he is( Not above the Law)

    June 22, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dan O

    He needs to be Fired!!!!!!! as and retired military NCO he is (Not above the Law) we have given no exceptions to a lot of NCO. and privates and they pay their dues for being wrong

    June 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Smith in Oregon

    Gen. McChrystal should immediately be forced to resign in disgrace. Gen. McChrystal's shake and bake Afghanistan troops and regional governors is Marjah (the first test) was not a lasting success, it was a failure! The UK and NATO commanders from day one stated the 'shake and bake' strategy would FAIL.

    The troops under Gen. McChrystal are very unhappy with Gen. McChrystal's rules of engagement (ROE's) and want Gen. McChrystal to resign immediately.

    The indepth Rolling Stone article indicates Gen. McChrystal's own staff strongly dislikes the commander in chief (President Obama), and thinks very ill of Obama's staff, cabinet members and even the Afghanistan US Ambassador himself. The only person Gen. McChrystal liked in the current administration was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Gen. McChrystal's staff are simply echoing how their boss is saying everyday among them and should be pushed to resign immediately and be pushed into retirement in disgrace thereafter.

    Gen. McChrystal's remarks and those of his own staff could easily be seen as utterly treasonous. Such remarks encourage a military coup and President Obama should bear that in mind and fire Gen. McChrystal or accept his resignation immediately.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jerry lynn

    fire obama not McCrystal.americans are tired of obamas sit down learning talks.obama needs to go back to what he does best nothing. please obama give america a chance go home resign get out of our whitehouse.you are a bum and a enemy of the state.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. frank karras

    not to change the subject has anybody noticed how much james carville looks like the host of that old tv show CRYPT KEEPER?

    June 22, 2010 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
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