Obama Fires McChrystal

In a move that may reverberate for decades to come, President Obama has fired General Stanley McChrystal.

(One very lighthearted note before getting ultra-serious: Bill Schulz of Redeye said that Obama removed the Stan from Afghanistan.)

The only thing I know about my reaction is that I still don’t completely know. Conservative minds have disagreed on this one. Glenn Beck and Newt Gingrich felt the firing was appropriate, while Hugh Hewitt vigorously dissented. Bill O’Reilly split the difference.

I waited 24 hours to dive into this story because I wanted to put speed over accuracy. Also,  as suspected, my thinking on the subject benefited from the chance to clear out the fog and cut through the brush (while still apparently mixing metaphors. It also gave me a chance to correct the spelling of the general’s name).

My scorn toward the disgusting slobs at Rolling Stone has not changed. The liberal media exists to lose American wars, a tradition they began in Vietnam. Free speech comes with responsibility, something the liberal media has either never learned or willfully ignored.

Rolling Stone was willing to help disrupt a war effort to sell a few magazines. The Jayson Blair Times would be proud.

This does not excuse the actions of General McChrystal. Some have posited the idea that this was not an accident, that McChrystal acted deliberately. If this was the case, he should have immediately been fired, and an investigation conducted for possible illegal behavior. There is no evidence that this is the case. It appears to be an honest mistake.

The comments themselves were not that awful. They certainly do not rise to the same level as what caused Harry Truman to (rightly) fire General Douglas MacArthur. Both Obama and McChrystal said they agreed on policy.

This is irrelevant in terms of defending McChrystal. The actions of him and his subordinates were stupid and reckless.

I have said over and over again that military personnel cannot ever publicly criticize the president. His administration is an extension of him, so going after the vice president is no less out of line.

I am a private citizen. I can criticize the president, and when he deserves it (subjective, such is life), I absolutely will. However, for America to remain the beacon it is, the military must remain totally under civilian control. If military men don’t like it, they can resign. This is non-negotiable.

Another strike against Mr. McChrystal is that this was his second breach, not his first. His appearance on 60 Minutes was inappropriate. I totally agreed with his sentiments, but he still should not have addressed them publicly. I said he was right on substance and wrong on style. The fact that he had a second offense is another strike against him.

McChrystal offered to resign, which was the honorable thing to do. Yet that does not mean the resignation had to be accepted.

The president absolutely had every right to call him into the Oval Office to verbally beat the tar out of him until paint peeled off of the wall. I can say from personal experience that on many occasions I have (often passionately) disagreed with the boss in his private office with the door closed. Yet when debate was cut off, and a public meeting was held, I did everything but develop neck strain from nodding my head up and down in agreement when the boss spoke. As long as the boss is not doing anything illegal, employees had better learn to do this. Barack Obama is the boss, and I totally support him putting his steel toe in McChrystal’s hide to remind him of the chain of command. If you don’t want the verbal equivalent of rectal bleeding, don’t contradict the boss in public.

The fact that the comments were “not that bad” is irrelevant. McChrystal screwed up. He should have known better.

Hamid Karzai wanted McChrystal to stay. So did NATO. This is completely irrelevant. McChrystal is not their employee. That should have played zero role in the president’s decision. I mention this because the president acted unilaterally, and liberals worship at the altar of multilateralism. Had Mr. Obama’s predecessor done this, he would be pilloried for disrespecting our allies. President Obama has every right to fire his employees for any reason, without interference from outsiders with their own agendas.

(I am sure if he fires some U.S. Attorneys, nary a peep will be heard from leftist sycophants.)

Having said that, President Obama had an opportunity to contradict the prevailing opinion that he is thin skinned. He could have been merciful, and decided that while the general messed up from a public relations standpoint, he has been a loyal and effective soldier in the field.

Mr. Obama emphasized that policy disputes were not occurring.

(He could have stated that the soldiers were in open revolt over McChrsytal’s “rules of engagement.” Things would have gotten ugly, but that is policy based.)

He then said that this had nothing to do with him being personally insulted.

Of course it did. It had everything to do with this. Mr. Obama can claim a loss of confidence in his general, but the bottom line is that this president does not accept criticism from anybody in any situation. I keep saying how thin skinned he and his supporters are. They then rush to his defense and try to destroy anybody daring to critique him. This does not dispute the charge. Quite the opposite, it loudly reinforces it.

There is a time for a reprimand and a time for the verbal equivalent of the death penalty. Mr. Obama put his own ego above the mission. He was wrong. McChrystal should have been allowed one more chance.

(McChrystal can leave the military altogether, and begin publicly blasting the president as any private citizen can. He should absolutely not do this, unless he has hard evidence of presidential malfeasance. Otherwise he looks like a bitter guy harping at the guy who fired him. It also disputes his comments about being on the same page, and increases the justification for his firing.)

What Mr. Obama got right was replacing McChrystal with General Petraeus, one of the greatest military leaders in history.

Some consider the job a demotion, but Afghanistan is the most important hot spot right now. General Petraeus seemed happy at Central Command, but when the president asks you to serve in the way he needs, you do it. General Petraeus is an American patriot, and his honor and duty to America takes him out of his CentCom desk and back into a war zone.

Afghanistan is very different from Iraq, but Petraeus is the right man for the job.

Some will say that Mr. Obama chose him for political cover, but that is also irrelevant. If he does the right things for the wrong reasons (which is speculative in this case anyway), he is still doing the right things. If I am going to bash liberals for putting intentions over actions and words over deeds, I have to ignore Mr. Obama’s potential motives on this one. His action in choosing Petraeus was sound.

(For those wondering how he heard about Petraeus, let’s give a round of applause to Mr. Obama’s predecessor, who selected him to begin with. That man won Iraq.)

So Mr. Obama was wrong to fire McChrystal, but right in bringing in Petraeus.

So what is his overall grade?

The answer…

Incomplete.

The key issue now is if Petraeus will be window dressing or if Mr. Obama is truly committed to letting the general do what he needs to do.

Most everybody agrees that General Petraeus has the ability to get the job done. He is the epitome of the best and brightest regarding military matters.

The issue is not the general. The issue is the boss. Mr. Obama has political considerations. Is he more interested in ending the war or winning it? Does he want to cave in to leftist basket cases or let the majority of sane Americans see justice done?

President Obama has been a disaster on so many levels. Yet if he gets this right, he can turn his presidency around. I have said many times that one cannot give credit to Tommy Franks and David Petraeus without praising the president who stuck with them. If David Petraeus succeeds in Iran, it will be because our current president got out of the way, let the general do his job, and for once listened to somebody besides himself. Yes, that absolutely will be enough for him to get some credit, deservedly so.

“Growing” in the job according to the media means moving leftward. If Barack Obama moves rightward on the war and sees the mission through to victory, he will have moved rightward and grown in the office.

I totally disagree with the firing of McChrystal. Yet that is now in the past. Mr. Obama should be judged on what happens in Afghanistan. It is his war now.

I am not convinced he is “all in.” Yet he has not cut and run yet either.

He has the best general he could ask for leading the effort. General Petraeus is tough, smart, and incorruptible. The general knows that if we do not fight the bad guys in Afghanistan, we will be fighting them here in America.

If the president listens to his general, the world could be a better place.

If Petraeus being hired was just another photo op, the world will burn and Mr. Obama will be the culprit.

I am standing with my president on this one and giving him the benefit of the doubt, despite plenty of skepticism.

We shall see.

eric

19 Responses to “Obama Fires McChrystal”

  1. Eagle 6 says:

    Our President had to fire GEN McC. I won’t speak for the general, but from my foxhole, he knew this. All conjecture aside, my personal experience with reporters speaks volumes. A hundred years ago, an embedded reporter spent a couple weeks with me writing an article. When finished, a rep from the magazine called and asked questions, “validating” facts about the article. The way the questions were worded, I responded positively…until I read the article. It was so full of half-truths, innuendos, and inaccuracies, it still makes my stomach hurt to read it. Such is likely the case with this article – the comment that GEN McC “approved” it is unlikely.

    As mentioned in my earlier post, a timeline is counter to a commitment. The existing naysaying civilians in Afghanistan coupled with the VP’s opposition to the current strategy that the President, GEN McC and GEN Petraeus agree on are also counterproductive. Iraq had an infrastructure from which to build…Afghanistan is a great place to insert UAVs and SF Soldiers to locate and destroy terrorist training camps…

  2. Micky 2 says:

    Sure, the General was out of line.
    But he was right if you look back on Obamas inconsistancies that exist between what he said while campaigning and what hes actually done.
    He bashed every Bush security and foreign policy while campaining. After he was elected and became privy to top secret intel he maintained most of those policies and in some case like with predators and the patriot act only bolstered those efforts.
    Instead of giving the General the amount of troops he asked for Obamas doing a Rumsfeld and going on the cheap. Now were seeing record breaking U.S casualties and regression in Afghanistan
    Hes clueless and the generals assertion that he was “distant and disconnected” was SPOT ON !

  3. Laree says:

    Tenacious Johnny MAC (R) the only Government Official who showed up on Imus In The Morning, broadcasting from the National Intrepid Center of Excellence -ribbon cutting today. A state of the art hospital built entirely private funds, for our wounded coming home with head trauma. Imus’s producers were trying to get Senator John F Kerry (D) to attend but his staff kept telling them he was too busy….

    http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2010/06/say-what-you-want-rs-other-mccain-about.html

  4. McChrystal may be a bit of a loon, but he’s obviously no idiot. He must’ve known what was coming out of that story. What? He never heard of Rolling Stone? Did he think they were a branch of NewsCorp? C’mon. HE was FAILING to carry out HIS plan in Afghanistan. He was the COIN guy. He was suppoosed to have the plan. He was the big mouth that couldn’t back up his gaping maw. He wanted out, and used suicide by president to do it. He’s a lowlife, if you ask me. HE hurt the war effort. Obama shined as a take-charge president when he slammed McChrystal on national TV. Good for Obama.

    I don’t know what our good host is going on about. bush fired a general for pretty much the same cause a few years ago and it hasn’t exactly “reverberated for decades.” This isn’t Truman firing MacArthur. McChrystal is no MacArthur. Heck, Obama is no Truman for that matter. And I completely fail to see how Rolling Stone “disrupt(ed) the war effort.” Talk about hyperbole! McChrytal talked to them. They didn’t sneak the info out.

    I hate the way conservatives hate the press and the civilian control over the military. A critical and independent Fourth Estate and civilian controlled military are prime requisites for a viable, successful, republic. Just what kind of sleazy, third-world junta do you guys want to live in anyway?

    JMJ

  5. Micky 2 says:

    “C’mon. HE was FAILING to carry out HIS plan in Afghanistan.”

    Bullsht alert !
    Bullsht alert !
    Obama just got done saying it was “his strategy and plan”

  6. Micky 2 says:

    ‘I hate the way conservatives hate the press and the civilian control over the military. ‘

    You’re getting funnier by the day.
    We dont hate the media, we could do without the rampant influx of liberals ruining it and we have no problem with civilian control over military as long as that civilian actually knows a thing or two about actually being in the military.

    Nice try

  7. Micky 2 says:

    The general called for 50,000 troops
    Barry only gave him 30,000 and now were seeing our troops being slaughtered at a rate never seen only to bail in a year
    Nice plan Barry

  8. Dav Lev says:

    There are two issues here really, the most important being what the heck are we doing in Afghanistan anyway? The second, is the firing of a general who was not a company man.

    Everyone who has dealt with civil servants, knows, how inept, corrupt
    and wasteful they can be at times.

    The general was a civil servant. But this time, he represented the
    best in government employees, cept for one little error, he was a whistle
    blower.

    When you are employed in the government (aka military) you don’t tattle
    on your employer. You also dont make disparaging remarks to your co workers on the job (or to them). It’s called creating a hostile work environment and compromising the govt.

    You can be fired for the above..(check Supreme Court decisions).

    But there is waste fraud and abuse in every government agency
    and the military.

    How we forget so quickly the good generals accomplishments,
    which Obama Hussein should have taken into consideration before
    accepting his resignation.

    I have to wonder what Obama would have done had he not had
    another general waiting in the wings? Maybe he would have
    picked C. Powell, whose stategy is overwhelming force.

    Or perhaps, he could have asked the retiring general in Israel to
    replace him? Now that would have been an excellent choice. After all
    who knows better about war, when you have a standing army of 200,000 against 10m enemies (Iran alone has 5m regular soldiers).

    But then again, why would anyone want this job?
    Our general walked away from a terrible quagmire, one which
    will never end in our victory.

    We are in essence fighting the bad Muslims..( Taliban ) in Afghan
    and the Sunni insurgents in Iraq. They have an endless supply
    of Jihadists willing to kill our boys and girls in the name of Allah.

    Obama should have given the general one more warning about
    criticizing him or his staff in public, in my opinion.

    Obama came into office, telling lies to win the youth
    and fence sitting Independents. He won on CHANGING
    America., remember?

    Yeah, he changed things all right. Two wars are being lost,
    a general gets fired for telling the truth, another Muslim country
    is nearly the bomb ( it boasts of 20% enriched uranium) and is sending
    a “humanitarian boat” with terrorists to break an allys blockade, has done
    nothing to change our unemployment figure ( cept hire census takers),
    and cannot seem to get control over an oil spill.

    Oh I forgot, small business is now upset at its requirement to
    provide universal health insurance while children (?) under age 26 can remain on their parents policies (while the rates go up).

    Stay tuned folks…you haven’t seen anything yet.

    My prediction, Iran will test an atomic bomb (for peaceful purposes)
    within 6 months and there will be another attempt at a Times Square
    bombing..or maybe 34th St or Grand Central Station? Want to be.

    Hey folks, 4 more ships are leaving Lebanon/Iran to test Israel’s navy.
    Lebanon has already warned Israel of open warfare, if it stops its ships.
    Malaysia has introduced a UN resolution to debate Israel’s piracy on the high seas.

    Hmmmm,why is Malaysis not protesting our treatment of Castro?

  9. Eagle 6 says:

    Once more for the gipper…McChrystal’s plan called for unity of effort, commitment, and trust. When the current administration established a timeline for withdrawal, he invalidated commitment. When Eikenberry, Holbrooke, and Bite me made disparaging remarks about Karzai and the plan that was approved by the administration, it invalidated trust and unity of command. GEN McChrystal could have handled it differently, but he didn’t. Granted, Pres Obama made a great batch of lemonade with this move, but the Paul Harvey version will come out one day…

  10. Micky 2 says:

    “Granted, Pres Obama made a great batch of lemonade with this move,”

    Koolaide
    Obama picking Patreaus was the most logical move since it was Patreaus who helped draw up the Afghanistan plan.
    The moonbat media was only too eager to paint Obamas pick as discovering the theory of relativity in one thought.

  11. Eagle 6 says:

    Micky, I was referring to a whole lot more than just the Afghanistan plan when I mentioned lemonade… Of course GEN Petraeus is the logical pick because he took COIN to new levels in Iraq and can be easily confirmed in spite of the fact it is considered a demotion. However, looking at the bigger picture, what one person stands out as a potential opponent to the current administration? The hero of Iraq will find it difficult to campaign and/or bone up on key issues if he’s running a war in AfghaniDave. Second, if things don’t go so well, the great general loses some of his luster.

    Regardless of who is in charge, unless we resolve the conflicts between Commitment and Timeline and the issues of Unity of Command and Trust that have been violated by Eikenberry, Holbrooke, Jones, and Biden, we will fail here.

    p.s. Jersey: McChrystal a low life? You must have watched Obama’s “just words” speech recently…or was that someone else’s “just words” speech?…and for the record, 30,000 additional troops isn’t 50,000…slight difference.

  12. Micky 2 says:

    “Micky, I was referring to a whole lot more than just the Afghanistan plan when I mentioned lemonade… ”

    Yeah, I’m just becoming increasingly irate over the medias insistance that Obama can do no wrong and his chewing of gum is the most enlighting miracle.
    Our success in Iraq had little or nothing to do with this administrations efforts yet weve seen them try to steal that trophy via Biden so one can only imagine that any success in Afghanistsan will not be credited to Patreaus as hes already moving to lax ROE there so our boys dont have to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.
    I agree, how is moral maintained when theres a commited timeline while simultaneously knowing theres no way in hell this war can be won in that time frame while announcing the point where commitment ends.
    Its plain stupid or diabolically evil

  13. Huh. I swore I had another post up here.

    Micky, McChrystal was widely acknowledged to be an architect of the Aghan plan. So yes, HE was FAILING with HIS plan.

    And you conservatives do hate the media. Anytime anything comes out you don’t like, it’s “treason” or has a “liberal bias” or what evre other silly nonsense you think up. You can’t respect an institution that you think only exists to please you.

    Eagle, yesah, I thought about that “lowlife” remark and wish I could take it back now. I was just mad at the thought that McChrystal may well have committed suicide by president, hurting the war effort, morale, the president, and Afghanistan all in one self-centered blow. I don;t know a=enough about him to know that for certain, and I don;t know enough about him to call him a “lowlife.” From what I do know of some of the stupid %$#@ that comes out of his mouth, though, I do know enough to think he’s a screwball. A regular General Ripper.

    JMJ

  14. Micky 2 says:

    “Micky, McChrystal was widely acknowledged to be an architect of the Aghan plan. So yes, HE was FAILING with HIS plan.”

    No, you’re wrong, and you’ve got nothing to back it up…once again.
    Obama will as always say its his plan as he did yesterday and if it turns out bad,… as always, he’ll blame Bush… then McChrystal.
    Good grief, that idiot Biden even tried to give credit to Obama for Bushs 7 1/2 years successful effort in Iraq.
    It was Obama who told the world what his plans for Afghanistan were in 09, it was Obama who set the timetable, it was Obama who set these asinine ROE, it was Obamas plan that dictated 30,000 troops over McChrystals request for 50,000 and it was Obama who continued and bolstered the predator drone program.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/01/obamas-afghanistan-plan-o_n_374995.html

    Try again.

    Oh, by the way.
    The general was out of line but what he said was true and probably what a lot of other military is thinking.
    This truth is reflected in the fact that during the campaign Obama bashed every single Bush foreign relations and security program and strategy only to keep and maintain most of them once he got a glimpse of reality in his first security briefing where he came out looking like a deer in the headlights of reality.

    Morale ?
    Yeah, Obamas doing a great job of maintaining that with more casualties than weve ever seen there since the effort began.
    Obama sets policy and whatever plans the generals have must work whithin and be compatable to those policies.
    The buck stops with Barry

  15. Micky 2 says:

    ” don;t know enough about him to call him a “lowlife.”

    “From what I do know of some of the stupid %$#@ that comes out of his mouth, though, I do know enough to think he’s a screwball. A regular General Ripper.”

    Yeah, thats much better
    🙁

  16. Eagle 6 says:

    I have tried to be objective, but because of a long-time relationship within the military and with key players, my objectivity “isn’t”! I agree that the avenue GEN McC used was arguably in very poor judgement for conventional military standards, so I have to take the leap that he absorbed the bullet so we can either succeed or get out. As mentioned in previous posts, even though it WAS his strategy, he had no legs because he had a timeline counter to COIN doctrine and disunity of command within the civilian side. Some suggest that both the military AND civilian leadership need to be shaken up in order for the current strategy to succeed. I DO know that GEN McC’s Rules of Engagement were misconstrued – as I experienced in Iraq as a MiTT Chief, most Brigade Combat Teams have a difficult time with the mindset and transition from “seek out and destroy the enemy” to “establish trust and relationships with host Army, National Police, and local population”. Every time a Brigade Combat Team conducted an uncoordinated raid or cordon search, it created animosity within the local populace, and oftentimes property was damaged or innocents were hurt. Whereas COIN doctrine encourages restricted Rules of Engagement, it is not meant to tie people’s hands. As an example: Intel suggests that certain members of the Taliban are in location X. Intel also suggests that by conducting a raid or cordon search of location X, it is highly likely the enemy will fight back and cause collateral damage (i.e. civilian casualties). So, COIN doctrine suggests we take a tactical pause, continue monitoring the situation, and attack the enemy when collateral damage is less likely.

  17. Laree says:

    Red State Update “Obama You Can’t Play Afghanistanville If You UnFriend Your General”

    http://youhavetobethistalltogoonthisride.blogspot.com/2010/06/red-state-update-obama-you-cant-play.html

  18. rudemarc87 says:

    Yes Eric he is your president as he has not been able to prove his eligibilty to hold office but that does not make him mine. Obama is truly the leader of the lost and of the spiritiually blind generation. drink the kool-aid? Hook line and sinker. There’s nothing we can do to eject this usurper from office while he continues to repremand Israel and destroy our economy not to mention get a handle on the gulf spill. Nothing the lame stream media can do because of all the saudi shares in fox news prevents them from lou dobbing the issue and look at him dont be a shill Eric. Obama has no ligitimate authority over the armed forces and McChrystal has just obeyed an invalid command as all of our armed forces who blindly follow this imposter.

  19. Micky, you can hold your fingers in your ears and sing, “lalalalalalala,” all you like, but the fact remains that McChrystal was a chief architect of the current Afghan COIN.

    McChrystal formutes plan…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2009/sep/01/mcchrystal-afghanistan

    Here he is asking for what he wanted…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/24/us-adopts-new-afghan-plan

    Here he is getting some of what he wanted…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/oct/13/obama-afghanistan-troop-deployment

    Here he is with the rest…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/25/stanley-mcchrystal-afghanistan-taliban-talks

    You know, Micky, it’s a shame that I would have to actually look that stuff up for someone. You’d think anyone who even peripherally keeps up with the evening news would know this stuff. And if you read Eagle’s post, well, I wouldn’t argue it with him. So at least take his word for it.

    JMJ

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