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. admin

    McCrystal was TOTALLY out of line to say these things to a reporter or let a reporter hear him saying all these things to anyone else. He could have let out his frustration privately, but he did not do that. As a military veteran, I can say without a doubt that every military leader knows that it despite your private opinions, you DO NOT bad mouth the Commander-In-Chief in public. This shows that McCrystal cannot keep it together. And, not only did he disrespect the president and have something negative to say about pretty much everyone in the administration, he also exposed insider info about the US strategy in Afghanistan that could be used against our forces there. Extremely bad form. PLUS, He is all but useless now, especially since HIS strategy is failing (as even he has expressed). Wow! I read the article and just... McCrystal could be court martialed for what he said! He definitely needs to be replaced and don't send him back to Afghanistan. "Loose lips sink ships." Can't believe this is THE hottest story right now and Rolling Stone is so clueless they put lady gaga on the cover.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lucille

    Joseph Stalin and Adolp Hitler did the same thing Obama is doing. If ANYONE dares speak against the government, he is called to the high command and gotten rid of. If anything like firing McChrystal is done, ALL AMERICANS ARE IN TROUBLE. If anyone of our military people are punished for speaking out/the truth, then anyone of us on the streets will be next. McChrystal was NOT insubordinate; he was telling the truth from an advantage position of the front lines. Now Obama, speaking from only experience on the golf course, is going to punish the General?? If we Americans let that happen, then we have only ourselves to blame when our free speech is called into question.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michael in Houston

      you REALLY need to open a book and understand what the command structure is in the US military and how the Executive branch controls it. Your comment is ignorant and you clearly have no idea what being in the military is about and the rules that are followed otherwise you would not have made such a ridiculous comment.
      Free speech in the military is NEVER permitted.

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

      To Lucille–
      You are a moron. McChrystal violated military chain of command ethos when he decided to mock superior authority to a friggin magazine! I don't care of he was telling the truth on aliens, JFK, Bigfoot, or the war in Afghanistan...you cannot be insuboridnate to commanding decision makers. Nuff said! You obviously have never been anywhere near a management role to put forth such idiotic and nitwit statements.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      Like Stalin and Hiltler? And just what planet are you from?

      June 23, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Drew

    If you agree with McCrystal, it's tempting to want to give him a pass on this as "a man who speaks his mind." Keep in mind, however, that the UCMJ prevents hims from making such statements while enlisted, and his alleged comments shows a lack of respect for the military's role in the civilian leadership chain - and we are, thankfully, a nation where military leaders are STILL subordinate to elected officials, no matter how you may feel about those leaders. I would hold this same position if Sarah Palin were President - though again, it would be tempting to let it go.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Drew – well said, except that he's not "enlisted". I think you meant to say "while serving as an Officer".

      June 23, 2010 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. Frank

    Stanley said what all think about the Obama Regime. The General was spot on and that is why the libs can not stand it. The truth hurts. Obama is an EPIC FAILURE and is destroying our once great nation. What I find surprising is all the libs still follow the Chosen One like he is a living god. Reminds me of how the North Korea's look to Kim.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @ Frank...you are just plain silly. What branch of the military did you serve in?

      June 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe Brown

    First Pat Tillman, now this....I just read that Karzai supports him. That's the last straw that broke the camel's back, fire him....

    June 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fortfoster

    Insubordination within the chain of command is dangerous and should not be tolerated. He should be relieved of duty immediately.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. wakeupandsmellthecoffee

    Getting rid of those who criticize you, isn't that what dictator's do? The President should rather learn from his significantly more experienced assets by hearing and resolving their grievances, and then put them back to work fighting our enemies.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Art

    The fact that a General officer in the Army comes into the presence of the President of the United States in Fatigues SHOWS his disrespect for the office. AX HIM!!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cathy

      Insubordination for not wearing your dress uniform? Didn't you read the article? That meeting was merely a photo op. You don't get in to see the president without being told exactly what to do, what to wear, what to say and how to act. It is almost a certainty that the president requested that that he wear battle garb just to look good for the cameras.

      June 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bks

    It is the media who causes the problem. They should be fired and not General. Media just want to stir up things. Without giving any thoughts on their action they want to publish.Public should ignore such things

    June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Char

    You cannot have someone who does not respect you working for you. You just can't. There would always be a distraction as you work towards your goal. It's not about who is best for the job right now, if the two cannot work together then nothing is going to get done.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jerald

    I agree with Mike. I am no Obama supporter but without a clear chain of command, we don't have order. Without clear order, we do not have a working government.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JLM

    Having served in the military in the 80's and 90's. Living the life of a member of the military. I believe that the General should be told to leave. We are talking about a commanding officer commenting negatively towards his superiors. This causes lower ranks to question their Generals motives. We are tough to serve and protect our leaders no matter what our feelings and emotions are. As a ranking enlisted member of the armed forces, I have had my share of confrontations with my commanding officer. In private, and went on about his orders once outside of closed doors. Any military member under my command would have been under the impression that I was always in agreement with my CO. We are also tough not to speak negatively towards our president and his/her seat. To include the VP and all of congress. The General knew not to do what he did, and did it anyway. Therefore I agree with all who say he should be terminated. When will this country get back to core values, one of which is Honoring your superiors?

    June 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fortfoster

    This is not about whether or not his opinions are accurate. Insubordination within the chain of command is dangerous and should not be tolerated. If he does not resign, he should be relieved of duty immediately.

    June 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • PTP

      INSUBORDINATION??? He didn't disobey an order. He didn't attack an officer. He merely stated his opinion. If this country is to the point that an individual cannot voice his opinion without censorship or retribution then we are indeed walking down the path to destruction. My main issue with the military is their inability to "think out of the box". Anyone who doesn't have their brains ripped out and their head filled with "chain of command" and "follow your orders" BS is not a good soldier. I say BullS**t! Sometimes.....Just Sometimes, the Commander is WRONG and Thank God there are people like Gen. McChrystal has the guts to stand up and say so. When the Commander goes on the front lines, puts on a uniform and stands with the rest of the troops, then and only then can he make an informed decision. Yes Men are going to be the Death of this Country!!

      June 22, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drew

      PTP - Bone up on what the rules the Uniform Code of Military Justice says an officer can and can't say while enlisted in the military. I think you'll find it enlightening.

      June 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jaren


    June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JLM

    PS. Enough about this president and his faults. He is still trying to clean up a dirty house!

    June 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      He owns the house now. It's time for him to stop blaming Bush for everything, and start taking responsibility for "his" administration.

      June 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
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