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. Alicia From Clarksville TN

    I know I am jumping into this late and someone else has probably mentioned this, but truly, there will be no real accounting for what happened. The General said what he did because he is 4 Star General. If he resigns he will get a big, fat retirement check every month. If he is fired, he will still get a big, fat pension. He said what he did because he could. Remarks and views such as his are only considered insubordinate if they are said by the real soldiers, the NCO's who are the backbone of the Military. Then we would see a court martial. If you are a General, those remarks are called "inappropriate" or "poor judgement". Only high-ranking officers are allowed to verbalize such views. Get a Specialist or Private to speak up and you will find they do not have the right to have an opinion or view. So, all you taxpayers, get ready to pay his retirement – or salary should the President only give him a slap on the hand.

    June 22, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    Fire Hin Immediately!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    Fire Him Immediately!!!

    June 22, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Walter

    I served 25 years active duty. I will say the general did in fact mis-speak. However, Obama is running this country into the ground, bowing to a foreign leader was as sorry move as I had ever witnessed..

    June 22, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SFC (Ret) Winburn

    All of this is truly amazing to me. Gen Tommy Franks stood on the bumper of one of our tanks and said "Now, go get them", in Desert Storm. Oh we did...because we needed to, and because of General Franks. Take General McChrystal out of the picture now, and you all wait to see what will happens with the moral of our kids over there. Mr. President, when the casualties begin to increase if you fire the General, it will truly be on your personal shoulders. You present those flags, you write those condolence letters. You will then feel the actual anguish of family members, because of your decision. This should be done in private, hey since he did apologize.

    I have been in combat and conflict for more times than I choose to remember, beginning with President Clinton, in Somalia, well through Operation Iraqi Freedom. I have watched death before my eyes, and then collected remains of the fallen. While this was happening, if I doubted my leadership, I believe I wouldn't have retired and be here today.

    Mr. President, don't do it. The Taliban will have a field day. Do you want those caskets as your memory as President of the greatest nation on this planet?

    June 22, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Larry Cohen

    Of course he should be axed. And he should be replaced by a community organizer who has absolutely, positively no military experience whatsoever. If you served 30 years in the military and lived by the credo to protect your men on the battlefield and a young idealist, with ZERO Military experience, who got elected under the guise of "ending these two wars" showed up and started to question YOUR ability to manage the wars, how would you feel??

    June 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Thomas

    Obama should not accept his resignation. Instead he should demote him to the rank of private and send him back to Afghanistan.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike in Texas

    The military doesn't have to like the civilian command, it just has to follow orders.
    It seems that he forgot to get permission to speak freely and he spoke freely to the wrong audience. In the military there is no problem with having a opinion; there are limitation on who you share them with.
    Obama should only reprimand the General for speaking freely to the wrong audience and state that he encourages the commanders to have an opinion. But demands that such opinions be given in the correct venue.
    If those opinions are personal then communicate them personally.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kingofthenet

      You know that's not a bad idea.

      June 23, 2010 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  9. maryann flaker

    I say he goes. Doesn't matter which party is in the White House, he workds for them and thus owes the President hhis respect.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dougrd

    It is McChrystal clear that Obama suffers from LOL (Lack of Leadership). Let's review: health care, border control, national security, police acting stupidly, bowing, Afghan policy, oil leaks, Gitmo, Afghan policy, etc....

    June 22, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dougrd

    It is McChrystal clear that Obama suffers from LOL (Lack of Leadership). Let's review: health care, border control, national security, police acting stupidly, bowing, Afghan policy, oil leaks, Gitmo, Afghan policy, etc.......

    June 22, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. markiejoe

    McChrystal should have been demoted and reassigned years ago due to his outrageous conduct and outright mendacity in relation to Pat Tillman's death and the subsequent investigation into that friendly fire death.

    McChrystal's resignation now is long overdue.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kenny

    If McChrystal doesn't have enough self-discipline to avoid running his mouth in front of a reporter, or to keep his staff from doing so, then he can't be a good enough officer and leader to maintain discipline among the men and women who serve under him. This is a pattern of behavior he seems unable to change. A general should be able to do better, particularly one we trust with our success in Afghanistan.

    June 22, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mleddy

    There has always been friction between the military leaders and civilian leaders. The military leaders and the troops win wars if we let them. The civilian leaders such as our commander in chief and his administration know how to play politics and prevent us from winning wars! Should the commander said those things? Most definately not! Unfortunately you have to bite your tongue when your leaders give you orders! In the military we don't always use the most politically correct words but the American people don't pay us to be politically correct. They pay us to win and maybe Obama might listen to his experts and wonder why his military does not support him. President Obama is a disgrace to this nation and the only reason he was elected was because a bunch of people didn't read his agenda for America before they voted for him. He has no military experience and he's way out of league if he thinks he knows whats best to win a war when he's never even served. I pray that he is a one term president! We don't appologize for being America! We don't force a healthcare bill on America! He will not secure our borders! He federalized our student loan program! He thinks the best way to decrease our deficit by spending massive amounts! He was a paperboy who was elected to do a editors job!

    June 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ida Camps

    The military is the cancer of the humanity killing innocent people without knowing why. It is painful to see immature people 18 25 year old death for resolutions of a packet of politician rats paid by lobbyists

    June 22, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
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