June 24th, 2010
03:29 PM ET

Readers sound off: Military code and McChrystal

iReporters Cliff Olney, Melissa Fazli, Egberto Willies shared their views on the military code and how McChrystal did or didn't act in accordance with it.

An interesting conversation developed on CNN.com about First Amendment rights versus the military code of conduct following Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation.

Comments on a story about McChrystal’s resignation have come from people who identify themselves as veterans and current members of the military - a majority of whom said they were shocked and embarrassed by McChrystal’s conduct.

AFGChuck said, “It was a complete breach of military protocol.” Several others agreed and referenced the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Non-military don't realize that the UCMJ is law in the military. When your [sic] in uniform not only do you represent the troops you represent a whole country.

Article 88 of the UCMJ states that any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the president, the vice president, Congress or the secretary of defense shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

In another article about the controversial remarks, readers with an opposing view felt that McChrystal had a right to express himself.

goldenbear2K, before you tell people to read history, you yourself should read the Bill of Rights, starting with the 1st Amendment. Everyone has freedom of speech, can voice their opinion without fear of reprisal.

As a former military man, you do not give up your 1st amendment right. It is your obligation to report derelict of duty and Obama and his staff are derelict. The General has every right to report what he sees. This information is not classified. U need to get your facts straight.

Key political figures stepped forward in support of President Obama. Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona gave a a joint news conference with independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut in which they said that Obama had no choice but to replace McChrystal.

CNN viewers are also voicing their opinions on iReport. Frequent iReporter  Liberty1955 said the situation between Obama and McChrystal mirrored the conflict between President Eisenhower and Gen. George Patton during World War II.  He said that McChrystal is a good leader and his apology should have been enough.

EWillies1961 said McChrystal needed to be removed so that Obama could reassert leadership and reinforce the ideal that civilian and government leadership portray a united front.

CNN will continue following this story and the reactions to the decision.

Tell us what you think. Record your reaction to the decision and share it with CNN.

soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Jag

    What a mistake! What military member has never sounded off once in his career? Everyone from privates to sergeants to colonels have voiced themselves one time or another and never faced punitive UCMJ action. Yes, its the law. Amazing, but people who J walk don't get tickets because that's just silly. McChrystal is a good general who was running that war better than petraeus can. McCrystal is blunt, the way a General Officer should be, but he crossed the line and she should be reprimanded, not fired.

    June 25, 2010 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Darth Vader

      When you are POTUS, you can make that decision.

      June 25, 2010 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • 12B

      You obviously don't get it, this isn't sounding off about bad chow or having to burn the crappers too many times. It was insubordination at the highest level, he knew better !

      June 25, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. J

    "Liberalh8r" – Gosh, I really want to listen to the words of someone with such an obviously insulting name. Let me tell you, I can totally take this guy seriously and accept his point as valid!

    June 25, 2010 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Sybaris

    Those countering Art. 88 with the 1st Amendment need to dig a little deeper to understand that Art. 88 is in place to prevent the U.S. from devolving into a third world country where military coups are standard fare.

    June 25, 2010 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. Kevin Madigan

    It's amazing to me that people think the Bill of Rights and the freedom to express oneself without fear of reprisal extends to job situations. If I spoke about my boss in the way McChrystal spoke about his and my comments made their way into a magazine article, I'd be fired too. Give me a break!

    June 25, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. Virtus Probi

    How can this posting be taken seriously in the slightest when it states that Eisenhower was President during WWII?
    Patton had serious conflicts with Eisenhower when Ike was the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, of course, but I sure can't find any record of George going public with criticism of FDR.
    MacArthur ignoring Truman's policy directives concerning Korea was far, far more serious than McChrystal's random whining, but they both deserved to be dismissed for forgetting that the civilians control policy in the US, not the miltary (thankfully).

    June 25, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. midwest

    President Obama, whatever choice he made was a lose-lose situation. Had he allowed McChrystal to stay on, his critics would have complained that the decision showed poor judgement or weakness. Since he chose to ask for his resignation, those critics will spin this choice to suit their purpose.

    June 25, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  7. CatK

    McChrystal's and his staff's comments were unbecoming of officers. Freedom of speech has nothing to do with it. If you are in the military, you follow the code. McC's comments had nothing to do with the policy in Afghanistan. It was his plan, wasn't it? Those comments were more like those of a couple of buddies sitting around shooting their mouths off and thinking they were ever so funny.Too bad (for them) that they didn't realize what fools they were being. Maybe arrogance does that.

    June 25, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Lyn Hamilton

    If McChrystal was stupid enough to run his mouth .. and let his aides run theirs .. to a widely read magazine, then he deserved what he got. What he did was career suicide. He should have just shot himself in the foot – at least he could have collected disability. Now he just looks like a moron.

    June 25, 2010 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
  9. StIves

    We are going to continue to hear the good and bad about General McChrystal and the commnents he has made about the Commader-In-Chief. It is not good at all having the grave responsibilities of commanding soldiers in time of peace and war. Some sodiers are in disagreements and some are not; we will always have this type of thing people voicing their opinions. Every soldiers around the world have heard and he story is in every dining facilities as they it down to eat. This article has impacted all of us, active duty, retirees, veterans of all branches and we are now starting to wonder hw many other officers feeling the same way. Because we all have serve in the armed forces; we just don't go out and say things about our leaders no matter how we feel about them. I honest feel bad about Genreal McChrystals' comments as a direct representative of the President of the United States commanding as many units as he is and not setting a good example. He had indeed defamed our Military Services and the men and women who continue to follow difficults orders but carrying out the missions that are order to accomplished. All men and women of the armed forces and every officers has my daily prayers and I wsh all of them my warmest best wishes for a safe return!

    June 25, 2010 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  10. Shamrock6

    That's AWESOME! Great job CNN....seriously! You picked Liberalh8r to quote....thank god. Now everyone can see what a genius that poster is. Also, as a Marine I can tell you two reasons whey he is lying in his post. First, no one that ever served uses the term "Former military man" when referencing themselves. To someone who hasn't served it sounds like a phrase one that had might use. Wrong. Second, you DO give up your first amendment rights. Ask ANYONE who has worn the uniform. It's a no brainer. If you don't believe me...join up...put on your uniform and go walking around spouting off about how you hate the government and watch what happens.

    June 25, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • malacoda

      Yep, and this is true of any job. You don't get to say whatever you want to whomever you want. Liberh8r is a total moron who has probably never had a job, which is why he doesn't know any better.

      June 25, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Brownstain

    The judiciary is owned by corporate America.
    The legislative branch is owned by corporate lobbyists.
    The administration is owned by Ringling Brothers-Joe Biden – Circus Clown in Chief
    The military, which defends our rights as well as our freedom, is denied freedom of speech.
    Morning in America? Or twilight under a toxic cloud?

    June 25, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. Supersarge53

    May God bless Stan, I'll remember in November

    June 25, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joe R.

    A lesson to ALL in the military: Limit your venting to the media, and if possible only provide anonymous interviews. Above all, avoid interviews with "Rolling Stone Magazine!" Can anyone really take "Rolling Stone" seriously anyway?

    June 25, 2010 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • malacoda

      Rolling Stone is a great magazine that has been around for about 50 years. You probably should read a copy before you form an opinion.

      June 25, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. malacoda

    This just in to the first amendment dummies: It doesn't matter what line of work you are in, you don't get to march into your boss's office and tell him whatever you think without fear of losing your job. Or tell the world what you really think of the chain of command at your company while hiding behind the first amendment. Don't believe me? Go give it a try at your office tomorrow.

    June 25, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. impartial

    What seems to be lost in this discussion is the fact that there are consequences to every action. Yes, the general has a right to express himself. However, when he decided to disparage his boss to the media he had to expect that there would be some fallout. In this case, his freedom of expression cost him a job.

    Mr. McCrystal is very educated– particulary in strategic planning. I cannot imagine that this move was totally uncalculated.

    June 25, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
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