What Was McChrystal Thinking?

June 22, 2010

The word is out today that General Stanley McChrystal, in charge of operations in Afghanistan, gave an interview to Rolling Stone in which he, and some of his staff, bad-mouthed President Obama, Vice President Biden, National Security Advisor James Jones, the ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, and Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke.

What in the name of God was McChrystal thinking? Rolling Stone, of all magazines, is not going to try to portray the general in a positive light, but they are not to blame here. These mistakes were McChrystal’s own. Regardless of his explanation, he should be, and probably will be, removed from his post.

This is unfortunate because McChrystal is by all accounts a good soldier and a good man, who is trying to do an extremely difficult job without much support from the White House. My guess is that he is correct in his assessment of the Administration. But in the military this kind of public talk about one’s commanding officer, and Obama is the Commander-in-Chief whether we like it or not, can not be tolerated. Douglas MacArthur was correct in his assessment of what to do in Korea, but wrong in his public criticism of Harry Truman. A great American hero, MacArthur deserved to be removed from his post because of his flagrant violation of military protocol. So it is true for General McChrystal, as well.

I have no doubt that McChrystal’s criticisms (and most of the negative remarks came from the mouths of anonymous aides, not the General himself) were because of the frustration he feels in dealing with an Administration that wants to have it both ways in Afghanistan. But frustration is no excuse. Assuming the reports are true, McChrystal needs to be reassigned or retire. Just because the kids are running the show that’s no reason to engage in such a breach of protocol. Sad.

Over at Hot Air, they’re saying that the Rolling Stone article is every bit as bad as they feared.

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