Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chain Of Command

"Chain of command, Detective"

In a Rolling Stone magazine article, McChrystal didn't criticize Obama himself but called the period last fall when the president was deciding whether to approve more troops "painful" and said Obama appeared ready to hand him an "unsellable" position.

McChrystal also said he was "betrayed" by Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, the man the White House chose to be his diplomatic partner in Afghanistan. He accused Eikenberry of raising doubts about Karzai only to give himself cover in case the U.S. effort failed. "Now, if we fail, they can say 'I told you so,'" McChrystal told the magazine. And he was quoted mocking Vice President Joe Biden.

If not insubordination, the remarks — as well as even sharper commentary about Obama and his White House from several in McChrystal's inner circle — were at least an indirect and extraordinary challenge and one that consumed Washington on Tuesday. The capital hasn't seen a similar public contretemps between a president and a top wartime commander since Harry Truman stripped Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his command more than a half-century ago after disagreements over Korean War strategy.

Notably, neither McChrystal nor his team questioned the accuracy of the story or the quotes in it. McChrystal issued an apology.
McChrystal needs to be fired immediately, and hopefully that's what happens during his Wednesday morning meeting with the President.

There's simply no excuse for McChrystal's behavior in a Civilian controlled government, and if he isn't gone by the end of the day, it will be a massive failure for the Obama administration, and possibly the worst mistake of his presidency.

Update: Obama delivered, big time. Chris Bowers:
I disagree with our continued presence in Afghanistan, but it is laudable that President Obama emphasized how keeping McChrystal on as commander threatened civilian control of the military. If Generals can use the media obsequiousness to dictate military policy, and then stay on as commanders after denigrating virtually the entire civilian leadership of the military, then we would be at an extremely dangerous moment for our democracy.
I still think escalating the war in Afghanistan was a colossal mistake that may doom his presidency, but immense credit for making the right decision, and making it clear why he made that call.

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