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. infonomics

    America's new pastime, knocking down people for something they've said. Grow a thicker epidermis and move on.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Really?

    Anyone who has worked under a boss knows that this kind of smack talking from McCrystal's team is a terminable offense. Add to that the discipline necessary of the military, and unfortunately it looks like he needs to be demoted. It doesn't matter if you agree with the President or not, the orders of the president must be followed with strength and resolve.

    Another question – where is all that patriotism you repubs were screaming about during the Bush admin? You aren't patriotic towards the country, you're patriotic towards the republican party, and that's where it ends.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Obama bashers

      Why can't they see how they look to us independents?

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

    Obama spent millions running to be in charge of this mess. He wanted this remember? He said he could do it. Just another lie you wont see because you want these thingas to be true so badly your delusional.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bagheera

    Gen. McChrystal is engaged in sedition, stirring up rebellion against his Commander in Chief, the current administration, and consequently, against his own country. That kind of behavior must never be tolerated from anyone in the military, much less a General. The honorable thing for the General to do is to resign. If not, he must be disciplined and removed from his command.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Faisal Shezad

      You didn't even read the article.

      June 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      "Sedition is the stirring up of rebellion against the government in power."... a perfect word to describe what the General was engaged in. By allowing his subordinates to talk in a disparaging manner in regards to the VP and others, and by offering his "opinion" about his first meeting with the President, he is engaging in Sedition.

      June 23, 2010 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  5. cb

    He needs to be fired. I have no respect for a leader who disrespects the people he or she reports to. He sets a very poor example and on top of that he's also disrepecting our nato allies. He needs to go. Anyone who thinks otherwise isn't thinking through who seriousl this situation is and what a poor lack of judgement he's shown.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Faisal Shezad

    Should he be axed? Axed about what? Someone did axe him. Axed him about his opinion. And he answered. That's the problem.

    June 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      LOL good one.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. grf67

    It is clear that you were too cowardly to have ever served in the Army in combat and thus know nothing of the traditions and discipline in the Service. McCrystal violated all of our traditions and courtesies and must resign. Currently, he has become a disgrace to the Army uniform.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Reagan

    It is refreshing to hear TRUTH for a change. Hell no don't fire him. Give him a medal.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Cicero

    Sometime the truth has to be said that is what our Democracy is all about. McCrystal is a soldiers soldier, to you liberals that means he cares more about the safety of his troops than kissing up to Obama, But I am sure the left wing media will demand McCrystal beg for Obama's forgiveness and tell the world he was wrong to question the leadership of the Messiah and his menions. I can't wait for November to throw these bums out.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Once again. You're not patriotic toward the country. You're patriotic toward the republican party. Keep hiding under your bed until repubs are in control – as you are a scared little child.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • XWngLady

      First of all, McChrystals comments are not the "truth" . They are merely his opinion. The problem is not that the general has an opinion. Secondly, he problem is that he expressed his very disrespectful comments to Rolling Stone magazine reporters. The correct forum to redress grievances is to the President himself, to his immediate superior or to the Inspector General, NOT a magazine.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @Cicero for goodness sake. You sound just plain silly. Do you know any facts? I'm certainly not left wing. Whole family military. I believe in the chain of command and respect for the office. When McArthur kept Pres Truman waiting on a plain...Pres Truman was pretty mad and said that the General can keep Harry Truman waiting....but not the President of the United States. Let's all take a deep breath. The military is run by civilian government. They operate under different rules and have their own culture. Try to be reasonable Cicero.

      June 22, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tony

    It seems to me that during Bush 43's term, this kind of thing was encouraged and praised as courageous. Personally I think it is wrong for any subordinate to publicly question a superior in such a manor, whether its Bush 43 or Obama. But since now everything is hyperpolticalized, anything seems to be fair game. Gotcha politics – got to love it.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Liberal4Obama

    He has demonstrated very poor judgement in multiple instances, he should be given the opportunity to tender his resignation or be fired if he does not.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark Ross

      I agree, Obama should be removed from office and Petreaus should take over. Obama is the worse than the locusts of the 30s, but there is just one of him.

      June 23, 2010 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Doug Walker

      Barak Obama is more intelligent and much more qualified than you will ever be, and is one of the greatest presidents we have ever seen...moron.

      June 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. webbtman

    The general was implicated in the Tillman coverup, he should have already been fired. I can understand how you can dislike and in some of you all case hate the president, but, does everything have to be be used as an opportunity to bash the Commander in Chief? GWB should have fired him when he was implicated in the Tillman coverup. A NFL star turned war hero killed be fraticide death was covered up and this General played a major role in it.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Arnold Ziffel

    I have called Board members and C-Level executives idiots many times and been walked out of the building only to be recalled 6-12 months later when they are fired. If i show you a 40 million dollar windfall and you are sitting on your hands cause you don;t want to step on turf or want to protect some vendors that are friends of the CEO and you are peter principled out then you are being disloyal to shareholders but your nose is very brown.

    Here america is blowing trillions led by a team of amatures. First compensate the farmers and burn the Poppy – NO Let them grow and sell it to fund the terrorists – What idiot came up with that idea. The terrorists are taking a majority of the money. We have laser cannons and they have spears so we laid down our laser cannons to fight hand to hand instead of using the tools we spend trillions on.

    Time to step up and Kick some tail instead of dancing around issues and trying to appease everyone. America is probably paying 90% of the war cost for some reason and most of the protection is for who? Are we protecting America or American interests in (India, Europe and other regions). If the terrorists want to attack other countries that should be their problem and cost not ours.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Maybe you keep getting walked out because you don't know how to use spellcheck... just sayin'

      June 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arnold Ziffel

      I am not being offered the spell checker but onenote is being offered.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hal E. Tosis

      You're right on the money!

      June 22, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dad_w_two_boys_in_harms_way

    I firmly believe that we (actually the electoral college) – made a HUGE mistake selecting a Commander-in-Chief who had absolutely ZERO military experience.
    No, the General shouldn't be replaced / repremanded or re-assigned....
    YES – the Prez & Veep should listen to the Military EXPERTS – those folks with their boots-on-the-ground.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ladyday

    I'm not sure I would fire him or not. I believe if his apology is honest enough he should get another chance. However, President Obama IS OUR President and we should stand behind him. We cannot compare anything he has done in the last 1 year to the 8 years that Bush had. Also, if all politicians, etc., who disagree with his policy would work with him instead of going on CNN and MSNBC talking about what he's doing wrong, maybe he wouldn't have to spend so much time defending himself against his own house (white house staff). This country didn't get the way it is in the last year. Most of the politicians stabbing the President in the back have been in office for years-and-years. Why haven't they already fixed these problems. Don't tell me what someone else cannot or is not doing, tell me what you have done. Some senators, congressmen have been in office for 15+ years, so don't tell me we know there's a health care issue or a men and women still overseas issue or any other issue, if you haven't spent those 15% years and gotten results.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • XWngLady

      Unfortunately, this is not the first time that McChrystal's been reprimanded for comments made in the wrong setting. An apology for doing something that you've been asked not to do before seems rather hollow to me.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • MilitaryProud

      Did you stand behind Bush the 8 years he was in office? Or does you tune change because Obama is now there?

      June 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
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