Will McChrystal be sacked?

June 23rd, 2010 at 3:08 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The tiff between General Stanley McChrystal and the White House is the most extraordinary airing of military-civilian tensions since Harry Truman stripped Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his command a half-century ago.

Which doomed any chance of Truman standing again for President. Mind you he was justified – MacArthur was a great general and leader, but he was refusing to follow orders.

The White House summoned McChrystal to Washington to explain disparaging comments about his commander in chief and Obama’s top aides. The meeting, set for tomorrow, is a last-ditch moment for the general once considered the war’s brightest hope.

If not insubordination, the remarks in a forthcoming Rolling Stone magazine article were at least an indirect challenge to civilian management of the war in Washington by its top military commander.

The comments are pretty much inexcusable. The military are sworn to not be partisan and to be loyal to their elected Commander in Chief.

However if Obama sacks McChrystal, he may doom his own strategy for . It will be fascinating to see what he does,

Tags: ,

47 Responses to “Will McChrystal be sacked?”

  1. metcalph (1,430 comments) says:

    McChrystal probably thought the reporter was from Hustler…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Of course he’ll be sacked, its a criminal offence to point out that Obama is a liar.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Grant Michael McKenna (1,160 comments) says:

    Michael Yon is vindicated- or at least, shown to have had good reason to call McChrystal incompetent. As for him being the war’s brightest hope- only by those who believed the Obama hype.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Michael Yon, regardless of what he used to do is currently a reporter and one very impressed with himself.

    Thats not a qualification for deciding on military appoinments.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. AlphaKiwi (683 comments) says:

    But it would have been okay for generals to speak out against Hitler, right?

    [DPF: Hitler was a genocidal dictator, so yes]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Bob R (1,375 comments) says:

    ***The comments are pretty much inexcusable.The military are sworn to not be partisan and to be loyal to their elected Commander in Chief. ***

    He wasn’t being partisan though (he did apparently vote for Obama). He thought Obama looked “uncomfortable & intimidated” by a room full of top military people. That seems like a fairly mild observation. He said he was disapointed with their first meeting – so what? The main problem seems to have allowed Rolling Stone to know this.

    Of course the bigger issue is what they hope to achieve in Afghanistan – can someone explain why they are still there? It seems pretty bizarre for the US to be spending so much money occupying these places when they can’t even control their border with Mexico.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. jims_whare (403 comments) says:

    I think it probably shows that the US military holds the current COC in such high estimation. Grrr roll on Nov 2012 get rid of the freak

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. jcuknz (704 comments) says:

    >>>The comments are pretty much inexcusable. The military are sworn to not be partisan and to be loyal to their elected Commander in Chief.<<<
    Wasn't that why we had the Nurenburg Trials?
    If somebody can bring sense to the situation they should speak out. Perhaps admit that like the British and Russians found out in previous centuries the Afghani cannot be beaten into submission.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. NoCash (258 comments) says:

    @Bob R – “can someone explain why they are still there?”

    With my conspiracy theorist hat on…

    Obama and the Chinese made a secret deal to have the US military staying and securing the place, so the Chinese state companies can do big business there, and in return the Chinese will keep buying the US treasuries to fund Obama’s spending binge.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    He’s already offered his resignation, so surely the question should be if the offer of resignation will be accepted, rather than will he be sacked.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Rod (180 comments) says:

    If you carefully read the actual sensationalist Rolling Stone article there is nothing much to worry about attributed to McChrystal himself, but several unwise things attributed to banter by his anonymous gung ho aides. Overall the article is not flattering to anybody, President on down, involved in Afghanistan. McChrystal, at least, comes across as trying to deal with the problem against some tough internal as well as external opposition.

    If McChrystal goes it will say much more about Obama’s sensitivity to criticism than about the General. How could a Commander in Chief recall, let alone fire, his top General in the field over a silly magazine article? Obama has to be unhinged to behave like that.

    Mind you, McChrystal was unwise to let an unpredictable reporter get so close to his inner circle, and I see the advisor who made the arrangements has resigned – or, more likely, got the hell out of there before he incurred the consequences.

    If it has to be I’d go with Mattis to replace him – to quote his Iraq strategy: “Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Bevan (3,924 comments) says:

    Perhaps admit that like the British and Russians found out in previous centuries the Afghani cannot be beaten into submission.

    And this shows you clearly do not understand the conflict at all. Unlike the previous conflicts this war is not directed at beating the Afghani into submission – Al Qeada and the Taliban on the other hand.

    I suppose you also thought every Vietnamese civilian opposed the US intervention there as well?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    But isn’t McChrystal is in the “beat them more into submission” camp. The US sounds like it is getting very frustrated, they thought they could just go in and use their might to kick arse. The best way to do that was quickly and thoroughly, but they dropped the ball and it’s getting increasingly difficult to avoid baring their own bum.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Manolo (13,780 comments) says:

    The United States voters will sack Obama in 2012. The Messiah is doomed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    The comments are pretty much inexcusable.The military are sworn to not be partisan and to be loyal to their elected Commander in Chief.

    In the US Military, enlisted personnel swear to follow orders (ref: 10 U.S.C. § 502). Officers do not (ref: 5 U.S.C. § 3331). The Oath of Office for members of uniformed services in the United States is as follows:

    “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

    [the last sentence can be skipped in accordance with Article VI, clause 3 of the US Constitution]

    You may recognise it as being the same oath as the required of civilians in the service of the Government, up to and including the Vice-President. There is no oath of loyalty, nor of non-partisanship.

    Their oath actively requires them to refuse to obey orders in conflict with the Constitution. As for that matter does the Oath of Enlistment (i.e. sworn by non officers):

    “I, XXXXXXXXXX, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Rod (180 comments) says:

    “But isn’t McChrystal is in the “beat them more into submission” camp”
    No, go read up some more about this very complex and able man and his current Afghan strategy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    The first paragraph of my comment above is obviously a quote, not my words – just missed the time to edit it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. berend (1,709 comments) says:

    The left can start to rejoice. The world will soon leave Afghanistan to the Taliban once more, and Afghan women can stay in the kitchen, as the schools will be closed to them. Hundreds of thousands will be killed as repercussions.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. fatman43us (166 comments) says:

    Maybe we need to look at the content of the comments. It seems there is a devastating lack of confidence in the Chosen One. It is important to note that this is the last of the major problems Obama has managed to turn into an abject crisis. All around him he now has a seething morass of issues bubbling away, while he happily golfs on.

    Obama is what the USA asked for and now they have him.

    They are welcome to him! Roll on November 2012.

    And in the light of all this, is it time yet to wonder whether our troops in Afghanistan are achieving anything worthwhile for anyone at all?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Bob R (1,375 comments) says:

    ***berend (473) Says:

    June 23rd, 2010 at 4:15 pm
    The left can start to rejoice. The world will soon leave Afghanistan to the Taliban once more, and Afghan women can stay in the kitchen, as the schools will be closed to them. Hundreds of thousands will be killed as repercussions.***

    That’s a shame, now why should the debt ridden US taypayer have to finance women’s rights in Afghanistan? They need to secure their own border with Mexico, (to avoid the whole US going down the tubes like California) & stop wasting money on these futile occupations.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. 3-coil (1,220 comments) says:

    So Obama has surrounded himself with arse-lickers, and can’t handle any criticism of his brilliant “leadership” – we suffered under the same egotism with our last know-all PM Helen Clark, and look at the mess she left behind.

    As fatman says above: Obama is what the USA asked for, and now they have him.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    A sobering milestone (millstone?) – apparently the Afghan war is the longest conflict the US have been involved in, recently exceeding the length of the Vietnam war.

    Thanks to “bring it on” Bush.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Thomas the Unbeliever (141 comments) says:

    The question is not what Obama will do … it is what is McChrystal prepared to do. Is he prepared to make Obama look good? If he does the full contrition act …. and the PR required by the White House …. then I suspect he will stay. You don’t sack someone for a few loose comments (mainly by his staff). You sack them if they are not prepared to to competently follow your policy – to take the blame for any failure and to allow you to take the glory for any success.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    Never trust a journalist.

    Obama’s strategy is doomed anyway. He ‘s announced withdrawal ,the Taliban and their allies Pakistan simply wait it out for that,while keeping up attacks to “prove ” they beat the coalition .

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    You mean the situation Obama inherited from GW. The Taliban were always going to wait it out, they have had plenty of practice seeing off invaders.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    If Obama’s showed as much leadership in keeping the civilian and military leadership reconciled as he has in the Gulf oil spill, this breakdown in relations should come as no surprise to anyway.

    Taste that hope.

    The Taliban were always going to wait it out,

    Of course they will, especially if you give a deadline to withdrawal rather than base it on conditions which is what you’re supposed to do in COIN. Damn, Delirium, you are thick.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. coge (190 comments) says:

    McChrystal is a man of the troops, he is voicing sentiments that they share. Replacing him would be bad for morale, & embolden the Taliban. Hillary would have made a better President, with more world experience & better advisors.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. kowtow (8,487 comments) says:

    Petey,Which invaders have the taliban seen off?
    ,

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    Taliban may be recent but Pashtun, Afghan, a wide range of sympathisers have fought for yonks there. Wasn’t al-Qaeda the original target for the US? For a long time they have fought to repel invaders in that region.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. polemic (460 comments) says:

    Just to clarify are number of uninformed points stated above the US is the defender of Freedom in the World - that is an absolute and unarguable fact – that is why NZ is still a free country- yes they’re not perfect and various persons in authority there are not perfect but their intentions of selfless service to defend the freedoms that they espouse are not seen to the same degree anywhere else in the world.

    The Taliban and Al Qaeda are the extremist factions of Islam that espouses the very opposite – they are repressive and violent for violence sake, they think nothing of destroying women and children and have no conscience that governs them. They kill and maim the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan with gay abandon and promote the awful drug trade that keeps them going.

    The US goes in their with their own lives and their own supplies and rebuilds the schools, and hospitals and pays the farmers to grow proper crops and what does the left do – condemns them wholesale and tells them to get out.

    The President of the US needs to be obeyed right up to the top military but this is a media beat up anyway and fortunately there is plenty of highly qualified generals to run the conflict there anyway. God bless America !

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    If anyone should be fired, it should be Biden for continually plugging his stupid “less troops, more CT” long after Barky made his Surge decision.

    McChrystal needs to walk into the Oval Office carrying a resignation letter – and demand Obama sign it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Pete George (23,567 comments) says:

    what does the left do – condemns them wholesale and tells them to get out.

    That’s an overstatement anyway, but what are you suggesting – the US should stay there indefinitely? They’ve been there nearly nine years already, at huge cost and little gain. Surely they have to find a way to sort out and get out?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Banana Llama (1,043 comments) says:

    I seriously doubt Afghanistan will be sorted out within my lifetime, you never know though.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. tom hunter (4,853 comments) says:

    I certainly appreciated the conciseness of Glenn Reynold’s comment over at his blog Instapundit:

    Under a Republican President, it’s listen to the generals. Under a Democratic President, it’s all about civilian control of the military.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. RKBee (1,344 comments) says:

    Obama should sack him.. It just feels good to say… im the commander in chief and your fired.

    Good on McChrystal for saying it how it is and how he feels about the jerk offs back in Washington.
    but his job is to take orders not give opinions… unless asked for from his superiors… Obama will be like Goff if he does not relieve him of his command for doing so.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. tvb (4,425 comments) says:

    The President has said publicly that the General shows poor judgement. He cannot remain in place against that criticism. He will resign.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Hurf Durf (2,860 comments) says:

    Barky saying someone shows poor judgement is the very definition of the oxymoron.

    What a bedwetter. He spends two months demagoging Tony Hayward and when someone else (justifiably) does it to him once he spits his dummy out and has a paddy. He can dish it out but can’t take it. How can any international player – Putin, Jintao, Netanyahu, Ahmedinejad – have any fear of or respect for him now?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. GPT1 (2,122 comments) says:

    Obama is a whimp, McChrystal made the fatal mistake of mentioning the elephant in the room. Oops.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. tom hunter (4,853 comments) says:

    So from another angle on the media-new media nexus:

    DPF links to the godforsaken NZ Herald? They, in turn, simply reprint the AP’s summary of the story. The AP itself mindlessly uses the incredibly silly term – a tiff – to describe what they say (in the same sentence) is the most extraordinary airing of military-civilian tensions since Truman-McArthur.

    Morons.

    Here instead is the original Rolling Stone article – and if you’re going to feel sorry for anybody here, feel for the troops fighting with stupid ROE’s, and the civilians left stuck with the Taliban as a result.

    For further analysis stick with reading the blogs, which have far superior analysis to the shallow crap from the AP/Herald.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. Sean (301 comments) says:

    @ Pete George

    The US have been in Afghanistan for nine years, during which time there has been no repetition of a 9/11 type event on US soil. If one has to fight, better anywhere else than downtown New York City.

    Afghanistan will do nicely.

    The expense is irrelevant.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. niggly (830 comments) says:

    @ TH – Thanks for the Rolling Stone link, a very interesting read.

    Which makes me think the media have “sensationalised” the issue i.e. use a handful of controversial quotes etc.

    Not that the McCrystal’s minders shouldn’t have kept their mouths shut more often than not.

    Frankly his minders were the ones who did the most damage, but hey, at the end of the day the General cops the wrath of the politicians. Flippin photo-opportunity politicians, mostly a bunch of pussies and cowards (especially those in NZ).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    McChrystal is a douche, and I say that as someone who loathes Obama and thinks he is unfit to be President of the United States.

    When you are on team, you are on team. You don’t give bitchy interviews to Rolling Stone – Rolling Stone! FFS!!! If this man rose to this rank and doesn’t understand that there is such a thing as the chain of command, he shouldn’t be there.

    If he didn’t like what he was being told to do, he should have resigned first. You don’t aid and give comfort to the enemy by criticising your boss.

    Everything he said was probably true, and Obama is the worst President ever, but if he wanted to say that, he should have resigned and started a blog.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    AlphaKiwi it was ok for generals to speak out against Bush according to the media.

    Thats the only difference here, the media treatment. None may dare question the great and powerful Obamatron!

    Who still hasn’t pulled the troops out or closed gitmo.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. tvb (4,425 comments) says:

    Better still hire Crosby Textor and run for President. The Republicans are crying out for someone good to be their candidate.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    Against Obama? I have house plants that could take him on and win.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. nadir (98 comments) says:

    Sean – except that Al Quaeda now hang out in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, and of course supported in great measure from Saudi Arabia. The Taliban, lunatics as they are, never did anything to the US except provide a sanctuary for bin Laden.

    I agree with you that the greater focus by the US on security has minimised successful attacks on US soil, but that has little to do with Afghanistan since about Feb 2002.

    Murray, where do you get “it was ok for generals to speak out against Bush”. The US has a long tradition of serving officers not doing that, if you do cross the line you will get fired. The fact that has happened so rarely is testament to the strong adherence to the services being apolitical by all of the political spectrum. Now if you said “it was ok for RETIRED generals to speak out against Bush” then you’d be absolutely correct.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. tom hunter (4,853 comments) says:

    …..never did anything to the US except provide a sanctuary for bin Laden.

    Brilliant – an entire universe of problems wrapped up and dismissed with one little word – except.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote