President Barack Obama rebuked his Afghanistan war commander for “poor judgment” Tuesday and considered whether to fire him in the most extraordinary airing of military-civilian tensions since Harry Truman stripped Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his command a half century ago.
The White House summoned Gen. Stanley McChrystal to Washington to explain disparaging comments about his commander in chief and Obama’s top aides. The meeting set for Wednesday was a last-ditch moment for the general once considered the war’s brightest hope.
So McChrystal is being sacked for… being honest? No, he is being sacked for being disrespectful.
For example, the skilled French soccer striker Anelka was sent home from the World Cup after he got into an argument with his manager. NFL players are often benched by their coaches if they become a nuisance, in public or in the locker room.
In fact, I’d even venture a guess that McChrystal might have been under the influence of a certain substance when he made those remarks; he was being interviewed by Rolling Stone, after all. He had to have known the shitstorm he’d stir up as soon as he said those things. No military official in their right minds would be so offensive to top government officials like that.
Despite the perceived sadness and disappointment of some to see McChrystal go, it is mildly amusing that we bear witness to another figure whom we thought would bring hope and success to the government’s policies become a disappointment. Not long ago, this happened with President Obama’s economic team, namely Tim Geithner and Larry Summers (and even Ben Bernanke); critics of the administration have called for them to resign, citing competence or other more biased reasons. Yet, we never saw Geithner or Summers come out and criticize the President like McChrystal did, even if they believed, for example, that the bailout was not big enough.
That being said, if McChrystal is a good military commander, he should be given a second chance. Perhaps he should not be taking high profile positions such as that of commander for the war in Afghanistan, but he remains a useful resource for the military.